Just North of Inman Park along Ponce de Leon Avenue is one of Atlanta’s most famous neighborhoods, 1400 acre Druid Hills, Fresh from the developing Inman Park, Joel Hurt hired renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, who was then in Ashville designing the grounds of the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore Estate, to lay out the neighborhood. Olmstead worked on preliminary plans but died before he could finish them. He left it to his sons Frederick Jr. and John Charles to complete his work. Olmstead’s plans placed six elegant linear parks like a string of pearls along winding Ponce de Leon. Druid Hills’ many beautiful homes preside over broad lawns that are ablaze with seasonal colors in the spring and fall. The current St. John’s Melkite Catholic Church, 1428 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, was once the home of Asa Candler. Druid Hills’ located beside Emory University helped preserve it even in the face of Atlanta’s turbulent growth. The Druid Hills Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of Druid Hills’ most famous residents never actually existed-but her house does. Jessica Tandy won an Oscar for her portrayal of the feisty Druid Hills widow who is the title character in Driving Miss Daisy. The house that was the setting for the movie is at 822 Lullwater Road. Among the many other lovely homes here are architect Neel Reid’s own residence at 1436 Fairview Road; the home of Walter T. Downing, another famous architect, at 893 Oakdale Road; and Boxwood, 794 Springdale Road, whose original owner, Charles Rainwater, designed the Coca-Cola bottle. Sales of Druid Hills homes have been between $500,000 and $2 million.