The Duck Pond and Parks are a quiet oasis in the heart of Buckhead. These privately-owned and maintained Parks have provided many Atlantans with fond childhood memories of visiting the Duck Pond. Many have celebrated family reunions, weddings and other milestones in this lovely area. The Parks are very popular for walking and are enjoyed daily by Peachtree Heights East residents and surrounding neighborhoods.
This area includes the Duck Pond Park, the Middle Park and the Lower Park, totaling 7.35 acres. Features include the Duck Pond, streams, open lawns, a perennial garden and wooded areas. The 2-acre Duck Pond is fed by two streams and springs and is held by a dam that supports Lakeview Drive. The spillway under Lakeview Drive creates a creek that flows through the Middle Park and Lower Park, and is piped under Lindbergh Drive. This water eventually reaches Peachtree Creek, about a mile south.
Neighborhood development began in 1909 and some of the trees in the Parks date from that era. Trees include several oak species, maples, poplars, sweet gum, birch, sycamore, and pines. Aside from the perennial garden and the lawns, the Parks are maintained in a natural state. Several rustic stone benches and two stone bridges add the Park’s charm.
While the Duck Pond is known for its resident ducks and geese, many other wildlife species also call the Parks home. See homepage for current articles on wildlife found at the Duck Pond and Parks.
The Duck Pond and Parks were deeded in perpetuity to the residents of Peachtree Heights East and residents of this neighborhood pay for maintenance, property taxes, and improvements. Maintenance is $30,000+ annually, which is a big bill for a small neighborhood. This money comes from neighborhood association dues and the Ladies of the Lake annual Garden Party fundraiser.
The greatest threats to the Duck Pond and Parks are water and age. Many of the Parks trees are very old and their care is costly. Much of the infrastructure is aging and requires expensive maintenance. The streams that feed the Duck Pond carry silt that quickly collects in the Duck Pond and requires frequent dredging. Extreme storms also create erosion problems on the banks of the streams and Pond. Tax-deductible contributions are always needed help pay for the projects needed to keep these threats at bay.
History of the Duck Pond (Inception to 1999)
The Duck Pond did not exist when Mr. Rivers initially sold lots for Peachtree Heights East in 1909. The minutes of the Peachtree Heights Community Club in 1922 give credit to residents Mr. Henry Jacobs and Mr. Nat Sage for building the “lake” and beautifying the area
In the late 20s, residents paid to have the “lake” dredged
In 1933, Una Rivers, widow of the original developer of Peachtree Heights East, deeded the Duck Pond and adjacent parks to the residents of the neighborhood in perpetual Trust
In the early 30s, Fulton County installed large culverts under Peachtree Way, which allowed silt to enter the Pond. In 1934, the Trustees requested that the County dredge the Pond, which it did.
In 1938, silt had filled the Pond and the Trustees contacted the County to dredge.
By 1949, the Pond was again in bad condition and the Trustees did not have money to dredge or perform other needed work and asked the neighborhood for help. The 1952 re-formation of the Community Club brought funds to the project.
Dredging was performed again in 1969 and again in 1975.
In 1985-86, street run-off and silt had again created problems. The main improvements at this time were to the spillway at the corner of the Pond.
In 1985, the Ladies of the Lake Garden Club hold the first Garden Party at the Duck Pond, as a fund raiser for Park maintenance.
In 1999, a $500,000 capital campaign was launched to fund Pond dredging plus installation of stone and tie retaining walls, stone bridges over the creeks feeding the Duck Pond, two silt catch basins on those creeks and extensive new landscaping . Work was done in the summer and fall of 2001 (referred to as the "2001 Improvements").
In 1999, a large group of Peachtree Heights East neighbors, led by Sue and Rand Wentworth, initiated a capital campaign called The Duck Pond Century Plan. The capital campaign's goal was $500,000; $440,000 was raised from over 400 contributions from neighbors and friends.
The major restoration of the Duck Pond and surrounding parks was completed in 2001 and included:
- dredging of the Pond, streams and silt ponds
- installing two stone bridges
- installing silt pond dams and waterfalls
- building 650 feet of stone retaining walls (about 2/3 of the pond)
- installing 1,000 feet of bank reinforcement and plantings
- developing a Landscape Master Plan
- planting trees and shrubs
Maintenance and Repairs since 2001 Improvements
PHENA has worked diligently to maintain the 2001 Improvements by:
- dredging two silt ponds every other year
- pruning mature trees, removing dead tree and planting new trees
re-seeding lawn areas annually
mowing and blowing year round
hosting volunteers during Park Cleanup Days to tackle larger projects
The Ladies of the Lake Garden club cares for the traffic triangle plantings and perennial garden at the Demorest side bridge.
Annual budgets of PHENA and LOL have funded the following projects that have added to the beauty and vitality of the Parks:
- installed of electric bubblers to reduce algae and duckweed in the Pond
- rehabilitated and replanted the perennial garden
- planted 48 new hardwood and evergreen trees as recompense trees, according to the City Arborist regulations, for the mature trees removed during the Christ the Kind Cathedral construction
- planted a daffodil glade in the Middle Park
- enrolled in the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeepers Community Water Testing program to monitor the quality of water coming into the Duck Pond from the two feeder streams.
2011 and 2012 Projects
In 2012, PHENA authorized a Park Risk Assessment Study. This study was intended to be part of the 2011 projects but was not eligible for the Park Pride grant. It was funded in 2012 with a grant from LOL, a private donation and PHENA.
Combined costs for both years were about $60,000.