Tag Archives: reynoldstown

gardening in Rtown

speaking of Reynoldstown, I have a confession to make. See, I’ve always wanted to be part of a community garden or to have an allotment (like this lady), but to be practical it would have to be fairly near my house. So, when I found myself spending more and more time in Reynoldstown earlier this year, i did a little research and found there was a community garden in the neighborhood park just 2 blocks away! I checked it out, the place was sad and forlorn, it didn’t even look like it’d be gardened in the previous year, I decided to keep a watch on it. On Easter Sunday, the traditional planting time, I had several small plants going that were ready to be in the ground. I was growing things at V’s and turning some small plots of new soil at N’s, but nothing was adequate to the plantings I was planning for. Lots of tomatoes, and okra, and squash…

So that Sunday afternoon I headed over to the park with supplies in hand, some kale seedlings, okra seeds, and marigolds I think it was that first time. I picked one of the languishing plots (all still untouched) about halfway back and started pulling weeds. It was positively choked with weeds but the dirt beneath was rich and delicious. I put in my plants, watered with a cup from the rain barrel nearby and went on my way.

I’ve made sporadic visits to weed and throw more seeds in the ground. One plot up front was carefully cultivated not long after i worked my first one, but the others still languished so i pulled some more weeds in a corner of another bed, and more in another, planting tomatoes here and squash and cucumbers there as my seedlings were ready to be put out. Now, a few months later, 8 out of the 10 plots have gotten attention (2 1/2 by me), the most recent one in the back corner next to my first, and just the other day I ran into my first fellow gardener. When she asked what I had planted, I hemmed and hawed for just a moment, feeling a little uncertain about betraying my guerrilla tactics. In the end I downplayed my methods, saying I’d filled this plot, stuck that plant there, a few tomatoes there… no big deal.

Actually, it WAS no big deal. Below is my sumptious squash that someone else photographed a few weeks ago. I’d allowed the weeds to grow up all around it so that everyone thought it was a volunteer, not surprising for squash anyway. It has seen the only fruit although it unfortunately ripened while we were out of town and i’m certain those deep yellow knobbly summer squash were no longer good. Since then, we’ve had so much rain that all my squash everywhere else has drowned, the green tomatoes aren’t ripening and I haven’t checked on the okra yet. Putting more squash seeds in the ground and hoping for some dry weather and sunny heat, I want to see some red tomatoes!

squash at rtown garden ET


I’ve had these photos sitting on my desktop for a while and I thought I should share. They show the corner of Kirkwood and Flat Shoals in 1979 and again in 2006, notice the houses in the background (essentially the same) and the way Park Grounds appropriated the Gulf sign for their own. This is where we meet up with M, H, and Manny occasionally in the attached dog park to play with Bella.

Gulf Station 1979

Gulf Station 2006

So, while, we’re on it, a good little history I found on my new neighborhood, this tightly packed historic community (a National Register Historic District btw):

(from reynoldstown.net)
“One of the first African-American neighborhoods to develop in Atlanta, Reynoldstown originally began as an area to which former slaves migrated after the Civil War. The Georgia railroad (now the CSX rail line), which ran along the northern section of the neighborhood, became an attractive source of employment for the many displaced freed slaves who migrated to the city in search of work. There was also a sawmill and a ready supply of water and timber for the families who wished to build homes here.

Reynoldstown began to form in the 1860s, at the T-shaped intersection of the Central to Georgia Railroad (CSX) and the Atlanta and West Point Railroad (now the greatly beloved Beltline) on Wylie Street. The streets nearest this area–Chester, Selman, Oliver (now Kenyon), and Wylie–were the very first ones to be settled and were known as Tin Cup alley and, later, the Slide because of the muddy conditions there. Some of the oldest houses in Reynoldstown can still be found here.

By 1870, the area had become a vibrant community and was known by its present name, Reynoldstown. Reynoldstown was named in honor of Madison Reynolds, a prominent and successful landowner in the area who for many years operated a store on Wylie Street. Madison and his wife Sarah Reynolds had seven children and originally came to this area from Covington. His son, Isaiah P. Reynolds, graduated from Clark College (now Clark University) and, after inheriting his father’s fortune, continued his father’s legacy in the area. He dealt in real estate, served as an advocate in civil disputes, and erected a two-story brick store which still stands at 912 Wylie Street, at the corner of Wylie and Kenyon Streets.

In the 1880’s, the Atlanta Street Railroad Company extended its trolley system through Reynoldstown, shortening the half-hour walk to the city. The tracks ran down Wylie and played a significant role in bringing white middle-class families into the area after the turn of the century. From 1905 to 1930 the district east of Flat Shoals developed as a series of white subdivisions. Asa Candler, the original Coca-Cola magnate,developed the first of these, a hundred-lot tract stretching from Flat Shoals to Walthall, bounded by Wylie and Kirkwood to the north and South.

In 1909, Reynoldstown became officially annexed to the city of Atlanta. By that time there were four main streets – Wylie, Oliver (now Kenyon), Clark and Flat Shoals Avenue. The intersection of Wylie and Oliver was the hub of the neighborhood. Wylie was the first street to be paved and was for years the only paved street, making it what is still a major thoroughfare of the neighborhood.

More than a few of the houses in Reynoldstown were built around the turn of the century and retain their original architectural features. The custom of the time was to build the homes close together, as cars were not such a heavily relied upon mode of transport and sprawling yards were not yet the style. Reynoldstown retains this original structure and as a result attracts many who desire a walkable community with a rich history and architecturally interesting homes. This and the Atlanta Beltline that runs through it make Reynoldstown a haven for New Urbanists and older Reynoldstown families alike.”

Today the neighborhood is a mix of old and new as empty lots gain infill 2-stories in a variety of traditional and modern styles that loom over the historic one-story houses. Just this past spring we watched 4 houses get constructed in our backyard (also a recent addition). ok, really, it’s not a terrible mix. The yards are small and house-yard-sidewalk connection often so cramped that everyone walks in the middle of the streets where one can also only park on one side lest you get reamed for blocking traffic. keep that in mind. At least today most every property has off street parking, either a driveway or alley access. It’s small in acreage but the number of streets is astounding, even N, who’d been a resident for 10 years didn’t know whole corners of his neighborhood even existed. it’s neat (: