History of Dunwoody

Today, Dunwoody, Georgia, is known as an urban center for dining and premier shopping near Atlanta, anchored by Perimeter Mall, but the area officially recognized as the city of Dunwoody didn’t exist until December 2008, when Dunwoody was officially incorporated following a community-led movement.

Although not formally recognized as a city before then, residents in this area have always identified themselves as living in "Dunwoody" — a place with a distinctive history separate from other areas and cities in DeKalb County.

Listen to one of the founding mothers give her account of the incorporation of Dunwoody as a city in this two-part podcast from our friends at What's Up Dunwoody.

Part 1:

Part 2:

An Early Center of Commerce

Dunwoody’s roots go back hundreds of years, but even from its earliest days, Dunwoody, GA, has been a center of commerce. The Cherokee Indian tribe of the Creek Confederation first inhabited the area that is now Dunwoody, largely because of its proximity to the Chattahoochee River. It was the largest and busiest trading center in the vicinity. By 1820, Cherokee farms dotted the area around the Chattahoochee, and white settlers began to arrive soon thereafter, creating homesteads and expanding the area’s population.

Shaped by Mill & Rail

Charles Archibald Alexander Dunwoody (Dunwoody namesake, 1828-1905) was the son of John Dunwoody (also spelled Dunwody), one of the founders of the Roswell Manufacturing Company mills in neighboring Roswell, Georgia. By 1853, area had two cotton mills, employed about 300 people and was the largest cotton factory complex in North Georgia.

A railroad between Roswell and Atlanta was soon built, used to transport much-needed mill products to Atlanta during the Civil War and first linking the Dunwoody area to Atlanta. Much of that line was destroyed during the war, and after the fighting ended, Charles Dunwoody decided to build a new home near what it now Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Spalding Drive.

A new railroad, the Roswell Railroad, was built to run between Roswell and Chamblee with a stop in Dunwoody, carrying produce from Dunwoody and fabric from the mills in Roswell. Dunwoody soon developed as a crossroads community (Chamblee-Dunwoody, Mt. Vernon and Nandina Road) and continued to grow and prosper even after the railroad shut down in 1921.

Enduring History

Today, people can visit several historic sites in Dunwoody, including the city’s oldest building, the Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church, which was built in 1829. The still-active church is home to a well-preserved cemetery where many of the founding fathers of Dunwoody are buried. Visitors can also browse through the Cheek-Spruill Farmhouse (1906), Swancy Farmhouse (1889) and Railroad Section Gang House (1880).

History of our Hospitality

Dunwoody's hotel scene has transformed into a true hospitality mecca in metro-Atlanta. While many of Dunwoody's hotel brands are new to the Perimeter Center market, staples like the Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center and Crowne Plaza Ravinia have evolved with the City's growing hotel scene over the last 50 years.

  • Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center (March 1976)
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Perimeter Center (December 1985)
  • Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia (March 1986)
  • Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites (Sept 1991)
  • Staybridge Suites Atlanta Perimeter Center (Nov 1991)
  • Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau (December 2009)
  • Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter (Former Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites) (Feb 2013)
  • Hampton by Hilton Inn & Suites Atlanta Perimeter Dunwoody (May 2016)
    Residence Inn Atlanta Perimeter Center Dunwoody (Aug 2017)
  • Hyatt Place Atlanta Perimeter (Sept 2020)
  • Sonesta ES Suites Atlanta- Perimeter Center (Former Staybridge Suites Atlanta Perimeter) (Dec 2020)
  • AC Hotel by Marriott Atlanta Perimeter (Sept 2021)

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