WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Library of Congress
This photograph of General Sherman and members of his staff was taken on July 18, 1864, before the Battle of Atlanta. (Sherman is pictured with arm resting on breach at rear of cannon.)
FRED GLASS ’89 traces the origins of Pace Academy’s moniker
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
my six years as a student at Pace Academy, I never gave much thought to how the school’s name came to be. Looking back, I suppose I assumed that “Pace” was someone buried in the Gardens or the person who built the Castle. A reasonably observant individual might conclude that the school’s name has something to do with a ferry, and is probably connected to its W. Paces Ferry Road address, and both conclusions would be correct. But what’s interesting is that the ferry—in operation from the 1830s until 1904—as well Atlanta’s many “Paces” roads, and yes, even the name “Pace Academy,” can all be traced back to one man: Hardy Pace. What’s equally interesting is Hardy Pace’s connection to the significant series of events that occurred in the Vinings and Buckhead areas as Sherman’s army approached Atlanta in the summer of 1864. After the Civil War and well into the 20th century, Hardy Pace’s descendants played an important role in the area that would eventually become Pace Academy’s present-day campus on W. Paces Ferry Road.
Hardy Pace, Pioneer
UPON ENTERING THE lobby of One Paces West, an office building off Paces Ferry Road in Vinings, Ga., one notices a life-size statue (shown above) of a rugged 19th-century man. On the wall adjacent to the statue is the following inscription: HARDY PACE, 1785–1864 Hardy Pace was the founder of Vinings. He settled in this area and acquired 10,000 acres ceded by the Cherokees in 1835, between Buckhead and Smyrna, including Vinings Mountain. Pace brought prosperity to the region. He operated a ferry, built a gristmill and a tavern, had large farming operations, and was the area postmaster. The large home he built west of the Chattahoochee was a social center for friends and travelers. The Civil War brought an end to this life. Pace and his family took refuge in Milledgeville. His home was occupied and then burned by Federal troops. Pace died in Milledgeville and is buried on Vinings Mountain.
Hardy Pace was a ferryman, miller and early settler who, among others, is credited with founding the area known today as Buckhead. He was born in obscurity to Stephen Pace and Catherine Gatewood Buchanan Pace in Anson County, N.C., and moved to North Georgia in 1809. Pace would eventually establish Pace’s Crossroads—later known as Vinings Station, and then, simply, Vinings. He arrived in North Georgia when it was lawless frontier wilderness inhabited primarily by Creek and Cherokee Indians. His first home sat off the old Indian trail that would become W. Paces Ferry Road near its current intersection with Castlegate Road, not far from the Pace Academy campus. By the 1830s, the inflow of settlers to the region had increased substantially, and the state of Georgia established land lotteries to accelerate the orderly settlement of the areas west of the Chattahoochee River. Pace participated in these lotteries and, over time, acquired an area of land roughly two-thirds the size of Manhattan. The construction of the Western & Atlantic Railroad began in 1836, and Pace wisely moved his family across the Chattahoochee and closer to his business interests, which were strengthened considerably by the railroad’s construction through his land in newly created Cobb County. He was best known for the ferry he operated upon his acquisition of land on both the Cobb and Fulton County sides of the river. Pace’s Ferry ran from the present-day site of Canoe Restaurant to what is now the Lovett School campus, and the road leading to the ferry was soon referred to as Pace’s Ferry Road. Anyone traveling via horse and buggy from Marietta to Decatur or Terminus (later Atlanta) had to cross the river using Pace’s Ferry and then follow Pace’s Ferry Road to their destination. Hermi’s Bridge, the current pedestrian bridge constructed in 1904 adjacent to Pace’s Ferry Road, ended the ferry service. From the 1830s until 1861, Pace and his family thrived through his several business operations. However, the Civil War and the arrival of Sherman’s Army of the Cumberland forever altered the region and the lives of its inhabitants, chief among them the Pace family.
The Civil War Comes to Atlanta Had General William Tecumseh Sherman and his 100,000-man army failed to capture Atlanta in September of 1864, Abraham Lincoln might not have been elected in November for a second term. A loss for Lincoln could have meant a Confederate victory, altering the future of the United States—and democracy worldwide—forever. For this reason, the events involving Hardy Pace in the summer of 1864 were significant not only regionally, but nationally as well. After several outflanking maneuvers, Sherman pushed Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army south from Chattanooga along the railroad to the Chattahoochee River.
KnightTimes | Summer 2015
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Sherman needed the railroad as a supply line, and Johnston planned to use the Chattahoochee—the final major natural barrier separating Sherman from Atlanta— to stop his opponent’s advance. When Sherman finally reached the river on July 5, he chose Hardy Pace’s property as his headquarters. The land was close to the Chattahoochee, provided railroad access and high-ground advantage, and afforded a clear view of the city’s steeples and spires from Vinings Mountain, the location of the Pace family cemetery today. There, from July 5 to 17, Sherman and his generals planned their final move on Atlanta. During that same time, the Pace home also served as Union General Oliver O. Howard’s residence. Howard (pictured above) went on to found Howard University in Washington, D.C., and led the Freedman’s Bureau. He also commanded the Army of Tennessee in the right column of Sherman’s March to the Sea in the fall of 1864. On July 17, Sherman’s men built two pontoon bridges at the site of Pace’s Ferry (shown in the illustration above), and two corps, including Joseph Hooker’s 20th Corps, crossed the river and proceeded toward Atlanta on Pace’s Ferry Road. The late CECIL ALEXANDER, a former Pace Academy Trustee, remembered walking under Hermi’s Bridge as a boy in the 1920s and seeing the remains of the Federal pontoon bridges. Hooker’s 20th Corps marched down Pace’s Ferry Road, past the future Pace Academy campus, and camped near where Arden Road intersects W. Paces Ferry Road. On July 18, Hooker’s men joined two other Union corps to engage the Confederates, led by John Bell Hood, at the Battle of Peachtree Creek. The wounded and killed from the battle,
KnightTimes | Summer 2015
and later the battles of Atlanta and Ezra Church, were sent back up Pace’s Ferry Road to Vinings Station, and the Pace home was converted into a hospital for the treatment of the wounded and dying. As many as 30,000 Union men were treated at Pace’s home and in tents on his property. One can only imagine the horrific scene as surgeons performed mass amputations in the July heat with no one on hand to bury the dead. After the fall of Atlanta, Sherman sent some of his troops north after Hood’s army to protect his railroad supply lines. They would eventually catch up with Hood at the battles of Nashville and Franklin, Tenn., where Hood’s army was essentially destroyed. As Sherman’s men passed back through Vinings in pursuit of Hood in November 1864, they burned the Pace’s antebellum home and most everything at Vinings Station. Hardy Pace died in Milledgeville, Ga., in December 1864, but Solomon K. Pace, his only surviving son, would return to Atlanta to rebuild.
The Pace and Randall Families in the Post-War Era Solomon Pace (pictured above in hat) buried his father in the Pace family cemetery on Vinings Mountain. The gravestone reads: Sacred to the memory of Hardy Pace. Born 1785. Died December 5, 1864. A friend of the poor, He is gone to secure the riches of Heaven. They need not the moon in that land of delight. They need not the pale pale star. The sun he is bright by day and by night. Where the souls of the blessed are. Before the Civil War, Solomon Pace lived on present-day W. Paces Ferry Road, somewhere between Randall Mill Road and Northside
Drive; Pickney H. Randall, Pace’s brother-inlaw, and his family, were his neighbors. Both Pace and Randall had acquired their land from Hardy Pace, who at one time owned 700 acres on the stretch of road. Upon his return to Atlanta, Solomon Pace moved to Vinings and went to work reconstructing his father’s home, known today as The Pace House on Paces Mill Road. He established Vinings United Methodist Church and was instrumental in the founding of Sardis United Methodist Church on Powers Ferry Road in Buckhead. When he died in 1897, he left behind no children to carry on the Pace name. Randall and his wife, Hardy Pace’s daughter Catherine “Catron” Gatewood Pace, however, had a son, Hardy I. Randall, named in honor of his grandfather. Hardy Randall, the inspiration for Gone With The Wind’s Captain Randall, served as a Confederate captain and returned to Atlanta following the war to operate with his father a mill on Nancy Creek near Pace’s Ferry Road (hence present-day Randall Mill Road). Hardy Randall’s son, Harvey Gatewood Randall, continued his family’s entrepreneurial tradition and established Randall Brothers, Inc., in 1885. The moulding and millwork company remains in operation—and in the Randall family—today. Harvey Randall’s son, Luther H. Randall (pictured left with glasses), succeeded his father at the helm of Randall Brothers, Inc., and in the 1940s, built his home on 22 acres at the current corner of W. Paces Ferry and Rilman roads. Much of the land—a portion of it now Gatewood Court—was later sold off to developers, and in the 1970s, Luther H. Randall Jr., Hardy Pace’s great-great-grandson, sold the home to Pace Academy for a “friendly” price. The Randall House now serves as home to Pace Academy’s Lower School, and Luther Randall Jr.’s widow still maintains a residence on Gatewood Court. His grandchildren, Hardy Pace’s great-great-great-great-greatgrandchildren, are Pace Academy alumni LAURA CHOYCE STEIN ’01 and MATTHEW RANDALL CHOYCE ’05.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
A School Named Pace Before the school had a headmaster or a functioning Board of Trustees, Pace Academy had a name. In the 1950s, native New Yorker, veteran educator and shrewd businesswoman JANE TUGGLE recognized the demand for an additional independent school in Atlanta’s Buckhead area. She envisioned a for-profit school (a matter over which Tuggle’s relationship with the school ultimately ended) housed in the Ogden family home on W. Paces Ferry Road. At the time, the castle-esque stone structure was held in trust by C&S Bank, and in order to ensure that the new school would occupy the home—and permanently tie the school to that location—Tuggle named it “Pace Academy” and immediately began raising funds to make the school a reality. There is no record that the school’s name was questioned or challenged—or has been since; at the time, it was simply noted that the name “Pace Academy” was “very appropriate given the location of the school.” The name’s pertinence is a nod to the history and heritage of the Buckhead and Vinings regions, and to the influence of Hardy Pace and his family. Hardy Pace’s son, Solomon, died only 61 years before the school’s 1958
The Pace Academy campus in 1969. Pace archives Below: Pace's Ferry operated until 1904.
founding, so many Buckhead residents knew of the Pace family’s significance. However, the end of World War II brought a population surge, interstate highways and aggressive development that forever altered Buckhead’s rural character. Prior to 1952, Buckhead sat outside Atlanta’s city limits, a rural community in which members of the wealthy elite, the Ogden and Randall families among them, built large “country” estates to escape the city on weekends or stay cool during summer months. As the city grew, the story of Buckhead’s early days seemed to disappear from the collective memory.
The Pace Legacy Now we know the history—the names, the important dates and places. But what was Hardy Pace really like? Did his character and actions in life merit the respect his namesake school now enjoys? Does Pace Academy today aspire to values he also would have held dear? According to his heirs, Pace was “quiet and frugal.” He was devoted to his family, a successful landowner and businessman disinclined to involve himself in politics. His story is uniquely American. He came from nothing and lived to witness the Georgia frontier, the arrival of the railroad and one of the greatest conflicts in U.S. history. One account posits that Pace died at 79 as a result of a wound inflicted during a gunfight with Federal troops. Most, however, refute the story; Pace’s benevolent personality, keen intellect and advanced age suggest he most likely would have been gone by the time Sherman’s men arrived at his doorstep. Another account suggests that he may have died of a broken heart following the death of his favored daughter, Catron, around the same time Atlanta was burned. This past December marked the 150th anniversary of Hardy Pace’s death, so it’s fitting to consider his influence on the Buckhead region—and on Pace Academy, the only existing institution that carries his name today. Consider, for example, the prevalence of the word “Paces” in Atlanta’s vernacular. Until 1954, road signs still recalled Hardy Pace’s significance with an apostrophe: “Pace’s Ferry Road.” I would argue that removing
* The Westminster Schools was founded in 1951 as a reorganization of Atlanta’s North Avenue Presbyterian School, a school for girls and affiliate of North Avenue Presbyterian Church. In 1953, Washington Seminary, another private school for girls, merged with Westminster. The Lovett School began in 1926 in a home in Midtown Atlanta. SOURCES: An Unfinished History of Pace Academy, Suzi Zadeh Atlanta and Environs, A Chronicle of its People and Events, 1820s–1870s, Volume 1, Franklin M. Garrett, 1954 Hardy Pace Family, Pioneers of Vinings in Georgia, Clare Isanhour Hermi's Bridge: A Love Story, Wright Mitchell, 2010 Luther Randall III The Westminster Schools Vinings, Susan Kendall, 2013 Vinings Historic Preservation Society; special thanks to Gillian Greer Vinings Revisited, A Review of Older Provenance, Anthony Doyle, 2008 Uncredited photos published courtesy of the Vinings Historic Preservation Society
the apostrophe—a seemingly insignificant change—has unintentionally obscured the history and meaning of the word, and therefore, name. But the “Pace” in Pace Academy has remained true, which is appropriate in that Pace Academy was Buckhead’s first independent school. Both the Lovett School and the Westminster Schools, now located in Buckhead, originally began in downtown and midtown locations, but since its inception, Pace Academy has called W. Paces Ferry Road home. Through its history and name, Pace Academy is more directly tied to the area than its transplant sister schools. The Lovett School was named for founder Eva Edwards Lovett and, after much contemplation amongst its trustees, Westminster was named to “befit the school’s Presbyterian origins.”* Both schools enjoyed adequate funding and organization; they were built on more established foundations. Pace Academy, on the other hand, was something of an underdog, an upstart. Other than a desired location and the enthusiasm of its small number of early supporters, the most valuable asset the new school possessed was the prominence of and meaning behind the word “Pace.” In many ways, Hardy Pace’s humble beginnings and later success parallel that of the school that bears his name. Pace Academy can therefore be considered a lasting legacy to Hardy Pace and his family. •
KnightTimes | Summer 2015