Vinings……. Past and Present
          For hundreds of years this area we call Vinings was inhabited by Creek, then later by Cherokee, Native Americans, who farmed along the Chattahoochee River.  Forced to leave by Georgia’s government in 1838, they traversed “The Trail of Tears” west of the Mississippi River to Oklahoma.  Large tracts of the Cherokee Territory in this area of Georgia were auctioned off in 1838.  Hardy Pace, a native North Carolinian entrepreneur, originally  lived on the south side of the Chattahoochee River and operated  Pace’s  Ferry across the river. When Pace learned the Legislature had chartered, in 1836, a railroad to run through this area from Atlanta to Chattanooga, he won land, bought and traded thousands of acres stretching over time from Smyrna to Buckhead.

          Pace moved his family across the river to this area, then called “Cross Roads” building a compound for his family and operating a tavern.  Travelers could stop and refresh themselves and spend the night at his home.  Pace also ran a gristmill and  farmed in addition to operating his ferry.
          Vinings’ eponym came to light in recent research by author, Tony Doyle, in his book, Vinings Revisited 2008 (CreateSpace/Amazon) which can be purchased at the VHPS.  Doyle discovered that William H. Vining, Assistant Engineer of Brigade 3 under the command of Thomas Stockton and Col. S. Long of the Western & Atlantic Railroad, had come from the Northeast to perform surveys and construction on the railroad between July 1837 and March 1838 in this area.  According to Doyle, Vining was the engineer and overseer of a difficult curved trestle bridge along  Stillhouse Rd.  This bridge was filled in with dirt and mounded over a culvert years later then becoming  known as “Vining’s Bridge.”  According to federal maps and other records, his name then became associated with the RR station, mountain and village, which was called “Vining’s Station.” “Vining’s Station” officially became Vinings in 1904, the same year the one lane steel bridge was constructed across the Chattahoochee at Paces Ferry Road.
          In July 1864 the Union Army marched from Chattanooga to Atlanta moving into “Vining’s Station” and commandeering Pace’s property and tavern.  Here, it is said, Union General William Sherman remained for 11 days while planning the battle of Atlanta.  It was from Vinings Mountain (later known as MacRae’s Hill and later called Mount Wilkiinson ) that he first viewed Atlanta in this campaign.  Leaving “Vining’s Station,” Sherman torched Pace’s home later burning most of Atlanta.  Incidentally, as a young lieutenant, Sherman had earlier traveled through this part of North Georgia allowing him to become very familiar with its topography.  It is said when the troops evicted Hardy Pace, he moved his family to Milledgeville where he died in December 1864.

          Many members of the Pace family returned to “Vining’s Station” after the war and Pace’s son, Solomon, took parts of slave cabins to build his home which still stands next to the Vinings Pavillion.  Hardy Pace as well as a number of his descendants are buried with others in the private Pace/Randall cemetery atop Mount Wilkinson.         
          After the war the Western & Atlantic Railroad built five open-air pavilions in Georgia to encourage rail travel.  The only one still in existence was built in 1873 in “Vining’s Station.”  In the late nineteenth century, young fun loving Atlantans rode the train to this delightfully rural setting on weekends, while others came by stylish horse drawn carriages, to picnic, dance and enjoy themselves in the open air pavilion then located on Mountain Street.

  For the affluent of Atlanta, it became socially desirable to travel to “Vining’s Station” for all day gatherings and to “take the spa waters” at the spring located behind the pavilion.  Social clubs were formed, including one called “The Every Tuesday Club” which was often chaperoned by the governor’s wife.  In 1996, the Vinings Pavilion was moved to the Pace History Complex on Paces Mill Rd. and the spring was buried and piped into a stream.

          Shortly after The Civil War a northern druggist, Rufus Mathewson Rose, built a federally licensed distillery on Stillhouse Rd. named the R. M. Rose & Co. Distillery later associated with “Four Roses” whiskey.  This distillery was owned and operated by Rufus and his brother, Origen Rose, and their two sons – hence (allegedly) the name of this premium blended whiskey.  When in 1907 Georgia voted for state prohibition to commence Jan. 1, 1908, the distillery was moved about 120 miles to Chattanooga, Tenn.  After a confusing title trail followed the adoption of the 18 amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing the manufacture, transport or sale of alcoholic beverages (later repealed by the 21 amendment), the various brand was sold to Joseph E. Seagram & Sons in 1941.

          By the 1930’s Vinings had developed into a cool summer retreat from the heat of Atlanta for its affluent citizens with the ambience of a small village. Soon Bert Adams Boy Scout Camp, which many local men can still remember, occupied a substantial part of Vinings Mountain.  The scout camp moved away in the mid  20 century.

          In the late 1960’s a local resident, the late Felix Cochran, began to acquire land and after 15 years of planning, developed Vinings Jubilee as the village center.  It is replete with delightfully quaint shops, restaurants as well as several upscale stores with various service activities in keeping with Mr. Cochran’s desire to have it feel like an olden village.  Vinings Jubilee was built in a Victorian architectural style and was dedicated in October 1986.

          Vinings still manages to provide a village-like atmosphere with the construction of other buildings in the same original white clapboard style with green roofs.  This consistency is also due to the constant attention and diligent efforts of its residents, working individually as well as through organizations such as the Historic Preservation Society, Homeowners’ Association, Civic Club, the Woman’s Club and the local Rotary Club.  With its many sidewalks and historic buildings, some of which are on the National Historic Registry, Vinings is still a delightful place to live, work, shop, play and enjoy its essential friendly neighborliness.  In many of today’s locales these are becoming increasingly rare virtues, which should not be taking lightly or for granted.

A  sincere, honest attempt to separate fact from legend.

Updated from the Vinings Civic Club Directory 2007-2008
“Vinings….Then and Now” Written by Eva Goss for Season Magazine 2003
Additions by Jody G. Smith and  Ben L. Weinberg Jr.
Condensed/edited by Tony Doyle and Betty Smith,
Jan. 2010.
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