Friday, October 9, 2009

Standing Peachtree / Osage-Orange


Today I tried to visit the place where Peachtree Creek flows into Chattahoochee River, off Marietta Blvd in West Atlanta/Buckhead next to the giant City of Atlanta water treatment plant.
This is the origin of the city, occupied by Creek Indians and visited by white traders until 1814, when Fort Peachtree was built by the military to drive the Creeks out.
The Creek village was known as "Standing Peachtree" due to a single tree (peach or not) on top of a hill or mound overlooking the river. Peachtree Street and all of its descendants are, of course, a reference to this.
Supposedly Fort Peachtree can be visited by the public, but when I drove across the bridge on Ridgewood Drive, I only found a large fenced-off forested area with signs saying "City of Atlanta: Keep Out." No park, no visible fort or even a reference to a public attraction...just a historical marker further on Ridgewood Drive talking about the fort as if it is covered by homes and a neighborhood.
I have a hunch that the Fort, and the settlement remains, and the river confluence, are all behind that fence with the "Keep Out" sign, and that the water treatment plant and overflow facility has taken over the site, deeming it "unsafe" for people to access.
This is a shame, if so - another example of natural and cultural history being carelessly covered in the name of development and industry, not to mention an implication of environmental destruction of the River basin...which, upon research, has been argued multiple times by the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization.

Oh, a trip into nature in my beautiful city of Atlanta.


Luckily, as I drove back through Buckhead following Peachtree Creek upstream, urban park areas began, as the "Atlanta Memorial Park." At one point along the Creek, by Northside Drive, a few Osage-Orange trees grow (and are identified). They have this amazing bumpy large green fruit! The trees are thick and twisty with brown and orange bark. These trees are common in the Mississippi Valley and in the prairies but rare here. I wish I had brought my camera, but I'm going back soon.
Meanwhile, I am going to start referring to Northside Drive as "Osage-Orange Avenue."

-Arianna, R.F.

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