Northlake GA History

Northlake GA History

Lake at Northlake Hunting Lodge
Lake at Northlake GA

Northlake GA History begins with native American indigenous inhabitants and now centers on Northlake Mall commerical district and surrounding residential surrounding neighborhoods.

Tucker Historical Society notes that the portion of Tucker, Georgia now known as Northlake was settled in modern times by Greenville Henderson, a Scot who was granted 3,000 acres by the Governor of Georgia because of his “Indian War” heroics.  

“This land, valued at 50 cents an acre, roughly encompassed from east to west the area from Tucker to below Northlake Festival Shopping Center on LaVista Road and north of Henderson Mill Road south to Lawrenceville Highway (U.S. 29). Settling on this tract of land, Henderson operated large apple and peach orchards, corn fields, and a prosperous whiskey and brandy making business. He shipped finished product to Savannah by wagon train in exchange for window glass, salt, sugar, coffee and building brick brought to the Atlantic seaport by boat.

Before the Civil War, Henderson built the historic grist mill on Henderson Mill Creek at the intersection of Midvale Road and Henderson Mill Road. Near the mill was the old frame Henderson Post Office. Mail was brought by horse and buggy from Decatur for people in the Tucker area. The post office was abandoned in 1895 and the mill demolished in 1911. Henderson’s home was on a sloping hillside overlooking the grist mill is now the site of St. Bedes Church.”  Henderson died in 1869 and is buried in a small cemetery on Midvale Road near the intersection with LaVista Road.

1861 brought hostilities to the area and seven of Greenville Henderson’s sons fought in the Civil War and five lived to see the end of the fighting. Federal troops crossed the Chattahoochee at Roswell during the Battle of Atlanta and made a beeline for Browning’s Courthouse in Tucker (the original Courthouse structure is now located on the grounds of Tucker Recreation Center on LaVista Road. Their goal was to destroy the railroad system and tucker GA was a major link.

Midway Baptist Church
Midway Baptist Church

Northlake Georgia history events during the Civil War included Union and COnfederate hostilities and skirmishes. During the Civil War US Army Commanders Maj. General John Logan (15th Army Corps) and General Garrard brought destruction to Tucker and environs. They headed on along Fellowship Road to Stone Mountain after leaving Tucker. Confederate general Joseph Wheeler opposed these forces but was overwhelmed.  Logans Corps returned to camp at Midway Church – across the street from Northlake Mall and then moved to the Henderson Mill Gristmill area to be near a source of water. 

After the war nearby Tucker experienced growth when Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railroad built a stop at “Brownings District” in what is now Tucker. The first improvements were a saloon and a horse racing track. “The area had been known as Browning’s District until 1907 when the Seaboard Line Railway acquired the railroad and surveyed the unincorporated town of Tucker and named the town after an Officer of the company, Capt. Tucker.”

Northlake itself was anchored by Henderson’s Grist Mill and Midway Church.  A “hunting lodge” was built near the Lake now known as north lake in the 1900s. 

Brownings Courthouse
Brownings Courthouse


Saint Bedes From Curb
Site of Original Henderson Grist Mill (aka Henderson Mill)
Saint Bedes From Parking
Saint Bedes Church – Site of original Henderson Plantation

Henderson Mill Historical Marker In 1971 Northlake Mall was opened.  Several DeKalb County Malls were built in the 1960s ad 1970s before Northake Mall opened including Columbia, North DeKalb, South DeKalb and Perimeter Mall. Original anchor stores at Northlake included Sears, JC Penny and  Davison’s.