Celebrating Easter in the East Cobb community of Somerset

East Cobb Easter celebrations

Thanks to reader Lynn Hamilton for passing along the photos from her Somerset community on this Easter Sunday!

She said her neighbors, Audra and Harry Thompson, made the crosses, affixed chicken wire and invited neighbors to bring flowers. “It was the perfect Easter gesture of community,” Lynn wrote.

“They were missing the beautifully decorated floral Easter cross as many of us were missing Mt. Bethel’s cross which is part of our community.

“This week has been a week for grieving losses for many of the people I know—lost relationships with school out, lost 8th grade graduation, lost Easter hugs from grandkids, lost Spring Break experiences.”

If you’d like to share your Easter thoughts, photos, etc., please pass them along and we will post them. E-mail us: [email protected].

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Editor’s Note: Coming to terms with a new extraordinary time

Late Friday afternoon, I turned into The Avenue East Cobb and couldn’t believe my eyes.

A practically empty parking lot, save for a handful of cars.

And two pedestrians taking advantage of the surroundings to enjoy a late afternoon walk on a glorious spring day.

On a typical day, the place would be packed, and the roads leading to it would be groaning with vehicles at one of East Cobb’s busiest bottlenecks.

Instead, like many busy places in the community, The Avenue East Cobb felt like Sunday morning, before church traffic and those seeking a late breakfast or brunch started hitting the roads.

Just a few stores remained open at that retail center, and it wasn’t alone in looking abandoned.

My drive through East Cobb on Friday felt the same way: From the Lower Roswell-Johnson Ferry interchange, and along Sewell Mill Road, Roswell Road, Robinson Road.

Bereft of cars, and lined by more individual human beings walking than I can ever recall seeing.

One of them was a young father, pushing his twin infants in a double-stroller along Johnson Ferry Road near Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

Many others were making their way up and down the rolling hills of Shadowlawn Drive.

Those who were getting out for something other than exercise were having to take the precautionary measures that have become iconic for our new extraordinary time.

A dozen or so shoppers were lined up outside Trader Joe’s, standing six feet apart, waiting for their cue to move ahead by an employee who was sternly enforcing foot traffic at the door.

The supply of Two Buck Chuck I had in mind for the weekend will have to wait, I thought as I drove by.

I am not comfortable with this. Nor with the sight of masks, which are becoming more commonplace as the days go by.

Or the eerie, dystopian phrases that are now part of our everyday language. To hear, or write, “social distancing” gives me the chills.

Human beings were not designed to do the things we are now having to undertake to combat a deadly virus that has taken the world by storm, and claimed many thousands of lives.

Sometimes I think I’m in a state of denial, although for the past month I’ve written about little but COVID-19 and our community’s response to it.

For weeks now, the days have bled into the nights. At times I forget what day of the week it is. With a few moments to spare, I’ve broken down to consider the monstrous losses that have piled up thus far, and that are sure to continue.

The number of people getting sick and dying.

The businesses closing and workers losing their jobs.

The school kids having their academic work cut short and high school graduations nixed.

The civic and social groups that can only meet virtually.

What all of this is going to do to us in the long run.

It is a scourge seemingly without end.

But nothing hit me like driving Friday to the entrance at East Cobb Park, locked up with barriers and yellow tape.

The parks were closed along with everything else, and have been for a few weeks.

I was stunned, and sat there for a few minutes. Total silence, and stillness, at one of the hubs of our community, on a day in which there would have been a bevy of activity.

I consider myself blessed, however. There is a walking trail near where I live, and I’m an old pro at working remotely. Getting community updates to you in the way I’d like hasn’t been hampered by technology as much as a matter of time.

There’s a staggering amount of news to provide when the basics of daily life have been so disrupted.

I miss getting out and covering stories in public, and connecting with citizens in person.

I miss the human connections that make doing community news so rewarding and valuable. While it’s true that we have tremendous ways to connect—e-mail, social media, text messages and video streaming—nothing truly replaces the real thing.

We’re doing the best we can with what we have. I’m buoyed by the spirit of cooperation from many in East Cobb to observe public health guidelines, and to help those in need and on the frontlines of battling the virus.

I admire the resilience of small business owners who are fighting to survive, and parents and teachers providing educational instruction in a very different classroom environment.

Most of all, I miss the tactile greetings of Sunday mornings. Not long ago, an older woman at the church I’ve been attending gave me a lovely scarf as a friendly gesture. I’m not a member, but have been worshipping there regularly.

I sit near her and some other elderly parishioners, and I wonder about them constantly now. Will we ever be able to say the peace together anytime soon?

It’s been wonderful to say hello and follow the liturgy on Facebook Live for these last few weeks.

But more than anything, I just want to hug someone the way we used to do, before our world was turned completely upside down a month ago.

I want to sit in a restaurant and dine in. I want to take a nap under the trees at East Cobb Park. I want to shop without seeing lines of demarcation taped to the floor, spots not to cross.

I have faith those things will happen, but we’re in for a very long haul for the time being. The statewide shelter-in-place will continue at least through the end of April, and it will be months before any sliver of normalcy will return to our lives.

On this Easter and Passover weekend, I wish all of you a peaceful and restive interlude, and pray we’ll find the strength and courage to navigate this anxiety and uncertainty.

Thanks for your readership, stay safe and be in touch.

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A day to enjoy the sun—while it lasts—at Sandy Plains Park

Sandy Plains Park

A good number of youngsters were loosening up for the upcoming baseball season at Sandy Plains Park on Saturday with parents and coaches.

There also were other kids enjoying the playground.

After a rainy and cold week in East Cobb, the sun and warm was out for only a day. Sunday will be just as warm, with highs in the mid-50s, but it will be overcast.

That’s foreshadowing more wet weather to come at the start of the week, as Cobb students head back to school after winter break.

Monday will be wet and cold, with highs around 50, and Tuesday and Wednesday will be warmer, with highs in the 50s and 60s, but rain will remain in the forecast.

Thursday through the following Monday will feature sun, but high temperatures may not get out of the 40s as the calendar flips over into March.

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Wheeler student talks about cultural differences at Jewish school

Ashleigh Ewald

Submitted information and photo about Wheeler High School student Ashleigh Ewald, at left, who recently spoke to students at an Atlanta Jewish school with Rukaiya Masika, an Atlanta-area high school student from the Congo:

Rukaiya Masika is a 17 year old Atlanta metro high school student who is originally from the Congo of Africa. She shared her story about being born in the Congo and having to flee to another country because of the war going on in her native land. She described her tiring journey of traveling by foot from Congo to Uganda and recalled not being able to feel her legs from exhaustion. Rukaiya had to attend boarding school because her mother could not afford to feed her; the school provided food instead. She spoke about her hardships and even about being bullied by kids in her new school. Some kids teased her because of her cultural differences and even wearing a hijab (a religious garment used as a head covering).  

She encouraged the students to be themselves and that fitting in is a waste of time because their difference is also their strength. Questions were posed at the end where one 5th grader asked if Rukaiya would be able to see her family again. Rukaiya replied by saying that some of her family was already in the United States; however, due to the exodus from her country she does not know who her father is. She then gave the students advice about staying hopeful in difficult situations and of the importance of always being themselves.  

The audience consisted of 5th through 8th graders who rotated into the classroom to hear the stories being presented by the speakers. Ashleigh speaks about being born in the time of the One Child Policy. She was born on October 6, 2002, when the One Child Policy was happening. She discussed how being born a girl and cleft-affected  were not safe combinations during the One Child Policy.

The students were in dismay, and Ashleigh continued by telling them how she felt fortunate to be alive. She went on about being adopted from Shenyang, China, at the age of 4 and being brought to live in Georgia. Then, she spoke about being put up for adoption a second time because of the possibility that her first adopted parents didn’t know how to care for a traumatized child. Ashleigh then revealed that foster home experiences are different for each child and that some grow out of the system.

Ashleigh shared her middle-school experiences of trying to cope with the need to be accepted, discussing how hanging out with the “cool kids” to try and fit in only slows down an individual from achieving their dreams. 

Ashleigh started becoming a follower and a gossiper. In addition, Ashleigh informed the students that they will become the people they associate with, and so they should be mindful of that. Students were urged to be good to all and that people remember the way you treat them later on. Then, she explained how, ever since she dropped from that group, she was able to focus more on her goals and who she was, helping her get to her dream of being a U.S. Senator and motivational speaker. Her inspiration came from meeting a Holocaust survivor, and she knew she wanted to be a politician who will protect human rights. Finally, she wrapped up her speech by discussing how to slowly gain self-confidence and not seek acceptance from others. Ashleigh gave them advice on how being different is power rather than on fitting in. The unique is original!   


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Top East Cobb stories for 2019: Growing up in Mt. Bethel

Old Mt. Bethel Community Center
The original Mt. Bethel Community Center on Johnson Ferry Road also housed a school and was the first Cobb Police precinct location in East Cobb. (Special photo)

It’s hard to imagine the East Cobb we live in now being mostly farmland not that long ago. But going back in history turned out to a delightful departure from current news cycle for many of our readers after we published a story this summer about a family that remembered the community when it was called Mt. Bethel.

Read the story

As the siblings of a prominent Mt. Bethel family told us, the changes have been rather recent: They were among the first graduates of Walton High School in the late 1970s, attending classes with suburban peers while they grew up on a farm on Lower Roswell Road at Woodlawn Drive.

Some of their cows occasionally wandered into a new planned community with a golf course that changed the area for good.

“When Indian Hills opened, that was a huge caveat to a changing community,” said Cherie Chandler, the fifth of the six Poss children. “That’s when it went from being Mt. Bethel to East Cobb.”

Her sister Gail Poss Towe saw a story we published in May about the demolition of a home near theirs belonging to Wilce Frasier, and was eager to share stories about a very different time.

We sat down with the three youngest children of Arthur and Evelyn Poss, who threw themselves into family and community life with eagerness and impact.

Poss children, East Cobb Mt. Bethel
From left, Gail Poss Towe, Mark Poss and Cherie Poss Chandler, the youngest children of Arthur and Evelyn Poss. (East Cobb News photo by Wendy Parker)

The response from readers to this story was heartwarming: More local history, please! While we haven’t been able to do that as much as we had hoped, we’ve got some ideas along those lines heading into 2020.


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East Cobb realtor to hold Women’s Empowerment Day seminar

Women's Empowerment Day

Submitted information and photo:

East Cobb realtor Janice Overbeck, is hosting a Women’s Empowerment Day at her real estate office on Saturday, October 5th from 10:00 am -2:00 pm.

The event will include a panel style seminar featuring business owners and leaders in the Atlanta community. The speakers will include: Emmy Award winner Mishael Porembski, Celebrity Hairstylist Nyema Bennett, Marine Corps Veteran & Motivational Speaker Chonta Flowers, Owner of Goodlife Magazine Kristen Bland, and Immersion Spanish Specialist Natalia Barrero. 

The event will also feature breakout sessions and a vision board workshop. Attendees will have the opportunity to take a break from vision boards and treat themselves to a chair massage compliments of Life Moves Manual Therapies in Marietta. 

The cost of the event is just $15 and covers materials and t-shirt. Attendees have the option to buy lunch catered by Red Sky Tapas or bring a packed lunch from home. 

Coffee will be sponsored by local roaster Aroma Ridge and breakfast snacks will be sponsored by First American Home Warranty. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the events tab at www.JaniceOverbeck.com.

Women's Empowerment Day


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Before it was East Cobb, the Mt. Bethel community was home for Poss family

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family
From left, Gail Poss Towe, Mark Poss and Cherie Poss Chandler, the youngest children of Arthur and Evelyn Poss. (East Cobb News photo by Wendy Parker)

As a girl in the early 1960s, Gail Poss Towe would sit in front of her family home and count the number of cars passing by on what was called South Roswell Road, or Route 3.

“There was nothing going on,” she recalls of a much slower pace of life.

During those days, the Posses lived in a community that was called Mt. Bethel, named after the Methodist church then located on Johnson Ferry Road, and a school, community center and baseball field across the road.

Gail’s younger sister, Cherie Poss Chandler, remembers cows from the family farm wandering down what had become known as Lower Roswell Road, and into a new development of homes and a golf course called Indian Hills.

By then, the early 1970s, the name “East Cobb” was rolling off the tongues of newcomers moving into a rapidly suburbanizing part of metro Atlanta.

The Posses still called their surroundings Mt. Bethel, but they could see what was coming. While they welcomed newer schools and more conveniences, they also knew that their community would never be the same.

“When Indian Hills opened, that was a huge caveat to a changing community,” said Chandler, the fifth of the Poss children.

“That’s when it went from being Mt. Bethel to East Cobb.”

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family
The Poss home at 4608 Lower Roswell Road, where the Mt. Bethel Community Center stands today at Woodlawn Drive. (Poss family photo)

Memories of another time

Gail and Cherie and their brother Mark, the youngest of six children of Arthur and Evelyn Poss, were childhood witnesses to a stunning transformation of a community that went from rural to suburban within the space of a generation.

Although the Posses never moved, their children went to three different high schools. The oldest, Betty Poss Smith, Linda Poss Webster and Marion Arthur Poss Jr. earned diplomas from Sprayberry, when it was still located on the current campus of The Walker School on Cobb Parkway at Allgood Road.

Gail graduated from Wheeler, and Cherie and Mark from Walton.

Unlike the suburban kids who were becoming their schoolmates, they fed chickens and did other farm chores before school.

Believe it not, they played kickball in Johnson Ferry Road, and walked down the corner of Johnson Ferry and Lower Roswell to the Johnny Perkins and Fred Sauls stores, both country groceries, to spend their allowance money on gum and candy.

Betty was a lifeguard at the private pool at the Parkaire airfield. Cherie recalls a fire station on the current site of the Chick-fil-A on Johnson Ferry. What’s now Merchants Walk Shopping Center was the Porter farm, run by an influential family.

In those days, the intersection of Johnson Ferry and what was called Upper Roswell Road was dubbed Five Points.

“I can’t remember what the fifth road was called,” Towe said.

When the Posses were kids, there wasn’t a nearby police station. In 1980, the old Mt. Bethel Community Center—originally built as Mt. Bethel Elementary School—became the first home for Cobb Police Precinct 4, opened by the county at Arthur Poss’ urging.

The first captain there, Bob Hightower, was good friends with Arthur Poss and later would become Cobb’s first public safety director. The center was the hub of local life, the spot for turkey shoots in the fall, cake walks and Friday community suppers.

Further down Woodlawn Drive was another farm owned by a prosperous businessman, Atlanta car dealer Walter Boomershine, who retired there to raise cows and Tennessee walking horses.

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family
An aerial photo of the Poss farmstead on 10 acres at Lower Roswell Road and Woodlawn Drive. (Poss family photo)

The Posses lived on 10 acres at what is now the southwest intersection of Lower Roswell and Woodlawn Drive. Behind the home, where the current Mt. Bethel Community Center stands, were chicken coops. Black Angus and white Hereford cows roamed in the back, as did quail and bird dogs.

Off to the side was an area called “the onion bed” where vegetables and fruits were grown, and included a grapevine lush with muscadines. Arthur Poss also kept honeybees.

“He came from a long line of farmers,” Chandler says of her father. “He farmed because he loved the land, and he wanted us to learn to grow things.”

Their closest neighbor was Wilce Frasier, who lived on the opposite corner Lower Roswell and Woodlawn in a family home dating back to the late 1890s, where he cultivated a small garden.

“He was just so sweet,” Chandler said.

“His house was fabulous,” added Towe. “There were antiques and flowers everywhere.”

Coming back home to Mt. Bethel

Marion Arthur Poss Sr. was raised on another farm in Mt. Bethel. His grandparents, David and Nancy Poss, settled on some land on what is now known as Johnson Ferry Road, near Post Oak Tritt Road, after the Civil War.

His parents also had land on Johnson Ferry, on the current site of the River Hill subdivision, then moved to the present location of the Johnson Ferry Animal Hospital below Lower Roswell.

That’s where Arthur grew up before living in Brookhaven as a young man. When he returned to Mt. Bethel in the early 1940s, he brought with him his bride Evelyn Barfield Poss, a city girl from Atlanta. In 1947, they moved to a house he built at 4608 South Roswell/Route 3—then a dirt road—and raised their family.

At the time, they used coal to heat the house—there was no natural gas—and Propane tanks to keep the chicken houses warm. Their water supply came from a well.

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family
Newlyweds Arthur and Evelyn Poss in the early 1940s. (Poss family photo)

Arthur made his living as a master plumber, traveling around Atlanta on jobs that included Crawford Long Hospital, as well as businesses and other institutions.

In his soul, however, he was a farmer, and in his spare time he ran a 50-acre spread on South Roswell. In the 1950s, Cobb County government wanted most of his land to build a wastewater treatment plant, and condemned 40 acres.

That’s where the James E. Quarles Water Treatment Plant, completed in 1952 as the first facility of the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, sits today.

In the 1980s, the land fronting the plant on Lower Roswell became the site for the East Cobb Government Service Center, including the current headquarters for Precinct 4 and Cobb Fire Station 21.

As their children were growing up, Arthur and Evelyn were heavily involved in community life. He served as president of the Mt. Bethel Community Center for 16 years and after retiring as a plumber was a court bailiff.

Another of Arthur’s good friends was former Cobb Sheriff Bill Hutson, and they were regular hunting companions.

Evelyn served on PTA boards at Mt. Bethel Elementary and East Side Elementary and was a devoted member and president of the Sope Creek Garden Club, winning ribbons at the Cobb County Fair for her hydrangeas and other flowers she tended at home.

“She was sweetest lady ever,” Chandler said of her mother.

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family
A building at Lower Roswell and Johnson Ferry Road that housed the original Mt. Bethel Elementary School, Mt. Bethel Community Center and Cobb Police Precinct 4 stood until 2000. (Poss family photo)

Subdivided and suburbanized

By the time the Poss children were grown, most markers of the old Mt. Bethel community had been swept away.

The community center was torn down in 2000, when Johnson Ferry was widened to six lanes, and the church was relocated years before across from the East Cobb government center.

While the church cemetery still lines Johnson Ferry near the new Northside medical complex, Perkins and Sauls were replaced by the likes of CVS, Zaxby’s and Tijuana Joe’s. The Parkaire airport gave way to what is now Parkaire Landing Shopping and the Marietta Ice Center.

The U.S. Postal Service wanted to buy the Poss land, prizing the location at the Lower Roswell-Woodlawn intersection.

“Dad turned it down,” Towe said. “He just wouldn’t sell. That’s why the post office (located just down Lower Roswell next to Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church) is where it is now.”

Arthur Poss died in 1990; Evelyn Poss stayed in the home until her death in 1999. The house and the property were sold in 2001.

The current Mt. Bethel Community Center is the home to Aloha to Aging, a non-profit senior services agency, and counseling services provided by Mt. Bethel UMC.

Chandler said that some years before, her father wanted to build a subdivision on the back of the land and have streets named after each of his children, “but Cobb County had a different idea.”

Today, what was the Poss farmstead is now the Whitehall subdivision (below).

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family, Whitehall subdivision

The Poss children scattered into adulthood, but not too far away. Betty and Linda, both retired, are still in East Cobb. Cherie lives in Roswell and is a substitute teacher at Roswell High School. Gail and Mark reside in Woodstock. Their brother Marion, who settled in Douglasville, died in 2014 at the age of 68.

Cherie says when she comes back through East Cobb with her son, she’ll find herself pointing to a development and say “that was a pasture,” and offering other such recollections.

The Poss siblings say these things without passing judgment, understanding the nature of the changes they experienced. They did sound bittersweet upon learning of the demolition of the Frasier home earlier this year (previous East Cobb News story here), realizing that truly was the last standing memory of the world they had known as Mt. Bethel.

They were also thinking about what their father thought of what had come to be known as East Cobb, and how it’s growing still.

“For him to see the land turned into buildings, that was just sad to him,” Chandler said.

“He loved the land, and he just loved the Mt. Bethel community.”

Mt. Bethel community East Cobb, Poss family
A 2005 photo of the Poss siblings, from left: Mark Poss, Cherie Poss Chandler, Gail Poss Towe, Linda Poss Webster, the late Marion Arthur Poss Jr. and Betty Poss Smith. (Poss family photo)


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Taste of East Cobb returning to Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

Taste of East Cobb
The Taste of East Cobb raises funds for Walton band programs. (ECN file photo)

Thanks to Beth Compton for the information below:

Organizers of the Taste of East Cobb are announcing that the annual food and community event will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019. 

Known as “the most delicious Saturday of the year,” the Taste of East Cobb event will be held on May 4th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, Georgia 30068. 

“Taste of East Cobb is our way of bringing people of all ages together to celebrate our vibrant community,” said Gregg Maynard, event chair. “Join us for a great day of family, food, and fun!”

Taste of East Cobb showcases the best of East Cobb’s local restaurant talent with chefs offering a delicious variety of tastings from their menus. All restaurant featured ‘tastes’ will be offered at only 1-5 tickets per serving, so make sure to arrive HUNGRY!

Come for the food — stay for the fun.  Event goers can discover unique products from local vendors as well as participate in a silent auction with a lot of unique opportunities for great deals on valuable items.

Local high school jazz bands will provide music throughout the day — come hear some of the best emerging music talent from local neighborhoods. Our kid zone features inflatables and hands-on activities.  Also, Taste of East Cobb is pleased to welcome Atlanta United 2 to the event — soccer ticket discount codes will be available on site for a game later in the evening.

Taste of East Cobb tickets are available for purchase on the day of the event for $1 each. Tickets can also be preordered online at www.TasteofEastCobb.com.


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Enjoying East Cobb Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon

East Cobb Park

I got really lucky Sunday afternoon finding a parking space in front of East Cobb Park, which was packed with people walking their dogs, tossing around a football, having cookouts, riding swings and just enjoying a sunny January afternoon that nearly reached 70 degrees.

It was the last day of an otherwise soggy and cold holiday season. The sun and warmth will stick around for the first part of the week as Cobb students head back to school, with highs in the 60s.

Toward the end of the week it will start to get colder, with highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s and 20s. The rain returns next weekend.

Before leaving I took a look at the free library box near the front of the park. I had seen it from a distance but for some reason had not been curious to see what books had been left there. You can drop off books for others too.

East Cobb Park free library box

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East Cobb’s Casteel-Nix-Volin House added to Cobb County Register of Historic Places

Casteel-Nix-Volin House, East Cobb farmer tenant house, Cobb County Register of Historic Places
The front of the Casteel-Nix-Volin House, which sits on 1.4 acres off Holly Springs Road near Sewell Mill Road. (Photos: Cobb Community Development Agency)

You can’t see it from Holly Springs Road, but a home tucked away in a rural setting near Sewell Mill Creek and close to a typical suburban subdivision is a relic from Cobb County’s distant past.

What was built as a tenant farmer house, and preserved close to that function by its many owners, has been added to the Cobb County Register of Historic Places.

It’s called the Casteel-Nix-Volin House, and local historical preservationists say it’s one of a handful of “saddlebag” homes still standing in Cobb County. Those were log-style homes with two rooms and a central chimney and were built starting from the late 1800s into the 1920s or so.

That’s when the Casteel-Nix-Volin House, which was part of a larger farmstead that dates back to the years before the Civil War, was built.

According to background material gathered by the Cobb Historic Preservation Commission, a portion of the original front porch was enclosed in the late 1930s to make up a bedroom, and the home has gradually been expanded to include 1,750 square feet.

Owners Curtis and Emily Volin applied for the designation, which was adopted last week by the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

“This is a great example of our agricultural history in East Cobb,” said Dana Johnson, the director of the Cobb Community Development Agency.

(You can read more here about the home’s history, which was submitted as part of the application, and see more photos of the house and the property.)

“This is very rare, to have an historic home in this area,” said Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, before she and her colleagues voted 5-0 to add the Casteel-Nix-Volin House to the register.

Here’s what Emily Yewell Volin told East Cobb News:

“Our family fell in love with this home and the setting’s uniqueness in the area, at first sight and we are excited for this little piece of local history to always be preserved. The place seems to have attracted kindred spirits throughout its history. We are grateful to everyone who has cared for the home and setting before, but historic properties cannot rely solely upon goodwill to preserve their heritage. We are glad the Cobb Registry of Historic Places exists and that this property is now in its protection.”

She and her husband Curtis, a system divisions chief at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, are involved in FTC Team 4631 robotics team. She thanked Mandy Elliott of the Cobb Historic Preservation staff for guidance during the historic register process:

“She and the Cobb County Historic Preservation Committee were helpful with all the procedures and protocols needed for the Cobb Cobb County Community Development Agency to present our application to the Board of Commissioners for a vote. We are thankful for their service and guidance.”

The Volins’ application noted that by 1900, roughly half of all farmers in then-agricultural Cobb County were tenant farmers, rather than land owners. The homes they lived in, and especially those built in the saddlebag style, are almost extinct today:

“Today, in the suburban growth area of east Cobb County, historic structures in general have dwindled and it is yet more uncommon to find a representation of the tenant farming system that was once prevalent in the County. The loss of saddlebag houses in Cobb County also exemplifies the loss of Cobb County’s agricultural history. The 2007 Cobb County Historic Resources Survey identified nine saddlebag-type houses in the County. Two are known to have been demolished, leaving the Casteel-Nix-Volin House likely one of eight saddlebags left in Cobb County.”

Local history buffs will be interested to know that the original landholders, and those who purchased the property on which the Casteel-Nix-Volin House stands today, were involved in the Marietta Camp Ground, which dates back to 1837 and still remains on Roswell Road, the venue for the Marietta Campmeeting revival every summer.

So was the family of Cline Nix, another owner of the property, and who is buried along with some relatives at the cemetery located across the street, next to the East Cobb United Methodist Church.

Some members of the Casteel family are buried at the Holly Springs Cemetery, which is now surrounded by a new housing development further north on Holly Springs Road.

Parcels of the land and the home changed ownership hands several times over the years, with Curtis and Emily Volin buying it in 2013.

As noted above, there’s a lot more to this story of East Cobb history.

While there are tax incentives to property owners for having a structure included on the register, Johnson said “there is a benefit to preserving history and we hope to extend it around the county.”


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Cobb Master Gardeners Spring Tour includes new Hyde Farm Community Garden and Murdock ES Gardens

Hyde Farm Community Garden, Cobb Master Gardeners Spring Tour

This one’s from our calendar listings and a bit more to follow. Saturday should be fabulous for the Cobb Master Gardeners Spring Tour, which is being held at several locations around East Cobb, including the new Hyde Farm Community Garden.

The tour lasts from 10-5, and on-site tickets will cost $20. The sites can be visited in any order:

Experience how art meets science at six (6) fabulous gardens in East Cobb! This year’s lineup features four private gardens, the newly constructed Community Garden at Hyde Farm and the gardens at Murdock Elementary School.

Teams of Master Gardeners will be on hand to educate gardeners young and old on plant selection, soil preparation, and best practices that were learned and applied over the years thanks to their UGA training and continuing education. And this year, we want to engage all of your senses with music, art, photography and food preparation as you wander through.

Admission is free for children 17 and under.

And now for the specifics of each location, and what you’ll find when you get there:

Jazz It Up At Joe’s, The Washington Garden (2192 Deep Woods Way)

From tots to teens to empty nest, Master Gardener Joe Washington’s garden of 34 years has evolved. The sound of soft jazz is the perfect match for a stroll from the sunny front to the shady back – the perfect spot to kick back and relax! A variety of native and non-native plants complement the hardscape features. Joe has enjoyed years of designing and completing his garden projects with an eye toward low maintenance and simplicity of care. As a special treat, visitors “of a certain age” will learn that you are never too old to garden if you adopt some helpful adaptive gardening tools and techniques.

Seed What It’s All About at Murdock Elementary School (2320 Murdock Road)

Kindergarteners and First Graders enhance their science education at Murdock outside by planting a summer vegetable garden entirely from seeds and harvesting the vegetables in the fall! Students and staff will be on-hand to demonstrate how seamlessly the indoor classroom and outdoors work together to enrich their educational programs. And, visitors will learn to hone their garden skills with several hands-on demonstrations including proper pruning techniques from the Master Gardeners. Don’t be late for class!

Farm to Table, Hyde Farm Community Garden (726 Hyde Road)

There is no better place to prepare and taste your veggies than right on the farm! And there is no better place for growing them than at the historic Hyde Farm property in East Cobb. The Community Garden at Hyde Farm was opened for “bed renters” in late 2017. The newest project of the Cobb Master Gardeners, the garden features 50, 4’ x 8’ raised beds and a large pollinator garden. Visitors will not only experience how a community garden works, but learn the health benefits of growing and preparing the harvest in the adjacent kitchen. Come on in!

On the Waterfront, The Lok Garden (1811 Baldwin Farms Drive)

Twenty years ago, the lakeside garden of Master Gardener Maureen Lok and her husband, Jan Michael, was a “boring” mix of lawn, junipers, and “meatball shrubs.” No traces remain. Today, they are surrounded by a healthy assortment of native and favorite trees and perennials. Their vision is a peaceful, shady retreat for the family to enjoy and for flora and fauna to flourish. Their garden is a certified Wildlife Habitat. Like many lots in Cobb County, steep slopes and erosion have presented drainage and gardening challenges. Learn how they have redesigned the garden to meet those challenges and oh yes, take in that view!

Thanks for the Memories, The Young Garden (4066 Sweat Creek Cove)

Pat and Tom Young’s garden is affectionately known as “Waldo Gardens.” It bears the name of a special kitty that passed not long before they built and moved into their home in 2007. Their garden is a living album of people, pets, and plants loved. The Youngs painstakingly restored the topsoil removed during construction and blended the formal front yard into the steep, natural, yet stunning back which is also certified Wildlife Habitat. Guests will enjoy discovering the garden’s special features and perhaps get a glimpse of the resident breeding hawks.

The Artful Gardener, The Hebert Garden (4145 Jefferson Township Parkway)

Split rail and picket fences, colonial style homes, and large lots welcome you to the enclave of Jefferson Township. Master Gardener and former art educator Jayne Hebert took full advantage of all her yard has to offer. The garden features a wide variety of flowering perennials, parterre raised beds, grape vines, blueberries, fruit and nut trees, and more, all set against a lovely backdrop of the home and 100-year-old barn. Her artistic eye is apparent as you will discover artfully integrated garden antiques with flea market finds. Visitors will especially appreciate her handmade deer fencing.

More information and a tour map can be found here.


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May book group discussions scheduled at libraries in East Cobb

All four public library branches in East Cobb have ongoing book group discussions, and here’s a sampling of what’s on tap in May, with information courtesy the Cobb County Public Library System:

Gritters Tuesday Afternoon Book Club at Gritters Library on Tuesday, May 8 from 2 pm – 3 pm. We will be discussing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. 770-528-2524;

Men’s Book Club at East Cobb Library on Saturday, May 12 from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink. Women interested in military, horror, and sci-fi are welcome to join. 770-509-2730;

Mountain View Evening Book Discussion at Mountain View Regional Library on Tuesday, May 15 from 7 pm – 8:30 pm. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. 770-509-2725;

Read, Think, Talk at Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center on Wednesday, May 16 from 10:30 am – noon. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. 770-509-4988;

Book to Movie Club at Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center on Wednesday, May 16 from 6 pm – 8:30 pm. Share your thoughts about Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella and then watch the book’s film counterpart. 770-509-4988;

On Thursday May 17East Cobb Morning Book Discussion meets 11 am – 12:30 and the East Cobb Afternoon Book Discussion is at 2 pm at East Cobb Library. The May selection is The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. 770-509-2730.


Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

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