Olmsted Linear Park Tour

  • March 26, 2017
  • 12:15 PM - 4:15 PM
  • Brickstore Pub, 125 E Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030
  • 5


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • Non-members receive a $60 membership credit

Registration is closed

Join us for a spring hike through one of the most beautiful parks in the City of Atlanta. This guided walking tour features history, nature, fitness, fun and food!


  • 12:15, Optional brunch at the Brickstore Pub
  • 1:15, Guided tour begins in front of Brickstore Pub. After spending about 15 minutes walking around the Historic Dekalb Courthouse, we will hit the road on foot...
  • 2:00, Arrive in Deepdene Park. We will spend a good 30 minutes in this stunning old growth forest.
  • 2:30, Depart Deepdene
  • 2:45, Arrive at Cator Woolford Gardens
  • 3:15, Depart Woolford Gardens. We will continue our trek westward walking through the remaining five park segments — Dellwood, Shadyside, Oak Grove, Virgilee and Springvale.
  • 4:15, Tour ends at the western end of Springvale Park (corner of Briarcliff Road and Ponce de Leon Ave.

* Route and times subject to change. Please be flexible. You may join us anywhere along this route. Your best bet is to take MARTA to the Decatur transit station and then UBER back to there point or your final destination.


The Olmsted Linear Park is two miles long and runs along Ponce de Leon Avenue, through the heart of the historic Druid Hills neighborhood. It stretches from Briarcliff Road on the west to Ridgecrest Road on the east.

The park consists of six segments, each of which has its own distinct look and feel — Springdale, Virgilee, Oak Grove, Shadyside, Dellwood, and Deepdene (an old growth forest).


The area known as Druid Hills was developed by Atlantan Joel Hurt of the Kirkwood Land Company. In 1890 Hurt persuaded Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., who was then working at Biltmore Estate, to travel south to see the 1,500-acre tract he had purchased. Olmsted subsequently agreed to prepare a plan for a residential suburb.

Olmsted submitted a preliminary plan to Hurt in 1893 in which the linear park was first laid out. The firm produced a final plan in 1905, two years after the death of its founder. Olmsted’s sons remained involved with the project until 1908, when the property was acquired by the Druid Hills Corporation. This group of investors, which included Coca-Cola magnate Asa G. Candler, completed development of the suburb and park.

Though the original park design remained intact, plants and installations inconsistent with Olmsted’s aesthetic were added over the years. Poor maintenance and the effects of erosion also contributed to a decline. In the 1980s, the park was threatened by a proposed freeway, though community opposition eventually blocked its construction. To rehabilitate the park, a coalition was formed that included the Olmsted Parks Society, Druid Hills Civic Association, Park Pride, the city of Atlanta, DeKalb County and Fernbank. Representatives drafted a master plan for restoration, aided by specialists in Olmstedian preservation. The Olmsted Linear Park Alliance was created in 1997 to implement the plan.




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