In 1935 the Pine Woods Corporation started selling tiny 20' x 100' lots for $69.95. In addition to the lake itself, there were many amenities advertised, such as docks, diving boards, a bath house, and play ground. The development was marketed as a resort for folks from the greater Atlanta area to escape the “Big City.” By1937 this development was incorporated as a city. During its first decade, the city consisted of tents, trailers and a few one-room cabins, with wells and outdoor plumbing.
Over time, the tents and trailers became cabins. Then with two or three lots combined into one and a room or two added to the tiny cabin, homes began to emerge. City water, sewer, and gas lines were run, and more and more property owners began to live in the city all year round.
Pine Lake today is an incorporated city in the middle of mostly unincorporated south Dekalb County. The city lies about 12 miles east of downtown Atlanta, just off Rockbridge Road. It has an elected mayor and council, a city hall, police force, and court. With a population of around 750 and a total land area of less than .25 square miles, it is the smallest city in Dekalb County. Many people who drive by on Rockbridge Road every day have no idea Pine Lake even exists.
Aerial Photo Early 1930’s, looking northward. Shows the grid pattern of the streets on the South side of the lake. Rockbridge Road is visible along the bottom of the picture.
Original Advertisement for Lots in Pine Lake 1935
Building the berm between the creek and the lake
Snapfinger Creek originally flowed directly into the lake on the east and out to the west. The berm on the north side did not exist. In 1952 the berm was built and has been there ever since.
The Pine Lake Volunteer Fire Department
In the early days, Pine Lake had its own volunteer fire department, led by Ernest Harrelson. This is the fire truck. It was housed in the garage on the west side of the Clubhouse. The truck had no starter, so whenever there was a fire everyone jumped on and the driver headed down the hill and bump-started it when sufficient speed was attained. The garage for the fire truck still sits next to the Clubhouse, with the doors facing a downhill section of Forrest Rd. This was situated in this way to allow the truck to be pushed out and down the hill to get it started.
According to Pine Lake legend, during WWII, when many of the men were fighting overseas, most of the firefighters were women. Unsure how that reconciles with the notation on the picture above that the VFD started in 1945.
From a Chapel to a Courthouse and Police Station
In 1939 the Pine Lake Interdenominational Chapel was organized, and for a number of years it served as the City's house of worship. The original Chapel was only one story (stone). Later the brick portion was built as the Carl Schaub Memorial Building, which now serves as the Council Chambers and Courthouse. The original Chapel serves as the Pine Lake Police station.
The exact date that the Clubhouse was built is unknown, but it was deeded to the City of Pine Lake by the Pine Woods Company on February 7th, 1938.
Women have been a big part of the development of Pine Lake from the beginning. The Clubhouse was used by all, but largely by the Pine Lake Women’s Club, which was organized in February 1938 with 57 members. Standing Committees included:
- House & Grounds
- Ways & Means
- Red Cross
The Beach House
Beach House 1966 - In the late 80’s the Beach House became Pizza On The Lake restaurant, to the delight of the residents.
Beach House porch prior to renovation.
Beach House after the 2013 renovation with extended and screened porch.
Many thanks to Dallas Denny, a former long-time resident, who gathered much of this historical information together.