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Meadow with picnic sites

Frankie Allen Park off Pharr Road has long been associated with the Garden Hills neighborhood and Buckhead Baseball. The park has baseball diamonds, tennis courts and a long meadow dotted with large granite picnic/grilling areas.

Baseball diamond Young baseball players

The area now occupied by the park once was known as Macedonia Park, a black community of about 400 families, in the late 1800s. The Mount Olive Methodist-Episcopal Church was located there in the early 1900s. Its cemetery remains in a corner of the park near the entrance. Graves are still visited, and small wreaths and other tokens are sometimes left beside the old stones. Efforts are underway to properly mark the cemetery and protect it from passers-by.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in a Feb. 20, 2004, article:

"In the late 1800s, when Buckhead was called Irbyville, the land was tended by black tenant farmers who needed work after slavery was abolished. They earned about $450 a year, according to Buckhead historian Bill Bell. Some worked as domestics for wealthy families.

"In 1921, white developer John Ownes built a subdivision of modest houses for the black workers. Macedonia Park's lots were small and narrow and bordered a creek, Bell said.

"Locals bought fruit and bread from two grocery shops owned by Mamie German and William Bagley. Two restaurants served pot roasts. A blacksmith shop owned by William Bonner was on Pharr Road.

"On Sundays, people crowded into Mount Olive Methodist Church, the oldest chapel in the neighborhood, Macedonia Baptist Church and the White Lily Baptist Church.

"In the 1930s, the Ku Klux Klan terrorized the are with marches. In Susan Kessler Barnard's book "Buckhead: A Place for All Timee," Parthenia Jetter, who lived in Macedonia Park, recalled how the Klan would clear the streets of blacks on Saturdays wo whites could shop alone. 'When we heared they was coming, we come home,' Jetter said in the book.

"In 1945, Fulton County used eminent domain to acquire the black landowners' property. They were paid anywhere from nothing to $5,000, and the purchases continued until 1953, according to Bell."

Bagley Park was established on the land in the mid 1950s, named in honor of Charlie Bagley, a prominent Buckhead businessman. Under terms imposed by the sellers when Fulton County condemned and bought the neighborhood, the land could only be used for a public park.

In 1980, the  park was renamed Frankie Allen Park in honor of a popular law officer and baseball umpire who had died the year before.

Grave stone

"Frankie Allen had become an Atlanta sports legend with his penchant for building character in the young ... in the Buckhead Baseball program for the last 28 of his 51 seasons in sports in Atlanta and Georgia," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote at the time of the renaming ceremony.

Young players continue to benefit from his legacy in the park that bears his name.

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