A Racial Lesson: The Collapse of Georgia’s Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club
A FRIEND sent me a story the other day, with a one sentence note: “Read until the very end.”
So I did. [Woman found dead on abandoned DeKalb Co. golf course identified, 11 Alive NBC, 6-30-17]:
DeKalb County police have identified the woman found shot, killed and dumped in a creek Wednesday. She is 35-year-old Tekeila Calloway of DeKalb County.
Her body was discovered by a father and his sons walking along the former Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club. Ray Pace lives near the creek where the woman was found.
He said he heard two rounds of gunshots in recent days.”It was mostly close to this area where I’m standing now,” said Pace. “But then I could hear some distance shots, too, down in the far end near that creek.” Pace, who has lived there for 15 years said this type of shooting is uncommon.
The Hidden Hills golf course used to be renowned in the area. Hundreds of homes surrounded the elite course. But the facility closed down several years ago. It’s now owned by a private company out of Jacksonville, Fla. Attempts by 11Alive to reach the current owners were unsuccessful.
“It’s getting to be a concern in this area now,” Pace said. Many, though not all, of the former holes are now overgrown messes.
It’s not clear how long the woman’s body had been lying in the creek.”We do have detectives surveying the area to see if anyone saw or heard anything,” DeKalb Police Lt. Loncy Robertson said.
The golf course has suffered from vandalism and arson in the past. The old clubhouse burned down 2 years before. Pace said he’s hopeful someone will eventually rebuild the golf course to its former greatness.”Hopefully things get a little better,” Pace said.
If you’ve ever read The Horror at Red Hook or The Shadow Over Innsmouth, you know where this story is going. As outlined in Black Mecca Down: The Collapse of the City too Busy to Hate, you’ll recall DeKalb County was 71 percent White in 1980. Nearly two score years later, the county is less than 30 percent White. [70 percent of DeKalb residents are minorities, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4-11-17]
Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club was once a highly rated course surrounded by high priced, luxurious homes in the suburban Atlanta metro county.
But it was built for a far different demographic than currently is the majority racial group in DeKalb County.
It was built for and by White people, and once White people fled the community, all fell (literally) to ruin. [Hidden Hills Clubhouse: ‘More than an eyesore’, The Patch, 8-24-2012]:
The once diamond in the middle of the jeweled community of Hidden Hills has become its biggest blight. Residents recall the days when the Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club was the place to be for parties, weddings, gatherings, even the association meetings were held at the country club site. There was dining and dancing, swimming and tennis. Many of the older residents’ children competed in swim and tennis meets here.
After the last bankruptcy, about 2005, the owners closed up the clubhouse, boarded the windows and doors and blocked driveways to keep trespassers away. Today, the once elegant clubhouse is more than an eyesore, it is a hazard. Vandals have stolen air condition units, torn down window and door coverings to go inside and steal anything that was worth anything. Ceilings have been ripped out for the prize of copper pipes and conduits, stoves and refrigerators, dishes and glasses, have all been removed or destroyed. Trespassers from partying teens to transient addicts use the once elegant now darkened clubhouse as a place to do unspeakable things. The question now is what’s to be done.
In the late 1990s, three Black teens actually tried to rob White golfers on the course, but another pair of golfers were actually armed, came upon two White golfers being held at gunpoint and shot one of the robbers. This is a true story, as crazy as it sounds.
The clubhouse of this one-time revered golf course would burn to the ground in 2015, a victim of arson.
The truth of what happened is right in front of our eyes: as White people fled the Black undertow, the world Black people created in Atlanta became the new reality for the Hidden Hills community (and DeKalb County as a whole).
Once White people, the creating and sustaining population, left the community and were replaced by Blacks, Hidden Hills subdivision and Hidden Hills Country Club took on the character of the new majority Black population. [Development finds Hidden Hills; residents find nightmare, By MAE GENTRY, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 09/19/06]
Buying a home on a golf course is a dream for some, especially those who like to spend time on the links. But for residents of the Hidden Hills subdivision in Stone Mountain, that dream has become a nightmare.
Over the past year, they have witnessed the decline of the privately owned 18-hole golf course that meanders through their 1,650-home community.
The course was closed last November. Soon, grass and weeds grew more than 5 feet tall, creating an eyesore and providing cover for vandals and burglars, according to members of the Hidden Hills Civic Association. Residents say their complaints fell on deaf ears, so they took the owner to court.
Now the owner, retired builder Russell Reed, is backing out of a plea agreement negotiated to maintain the property. Reed said he plans to ditch the golf course and develop the 190-acre site for new homes.
That would put Hidden Hills among the ranks of other metro Atlanta golf communities that have fallen victim to development, including Canterbury Golf Club in east Cobb County, Centennial in Acworth and Lakeside in south Fulton County.
Hidden Hills residents say Reed has neglected the golf course he bought in July 2003. Reed contends he tried to be a good steward. “We ran it as a golf course, and we did quite well in the beginning,” said Reed, chief executive officer of Long Drive Realty.
“We made it into a semiprivate club, instead of a private club. It was popular for everybody except the people who lived there. They didn’t support it.” Kathryn Brice, president of the homeowners’ association, acknowledges that membership at the golf course was dwindling. But she said people who might have supported the club were “turned off” by the lack of upkeep.
After conflicts with residents, Reed said he “sort of lost interest in [the golf course] a year and a half ago.” He shut it down.
On Sept. 6, Reed pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Recorder’s Court to six code violations at the course. According to the sentencing order, he avoided a 720-day jail sentence and a $6,000 fine by agreeing to cut the grass and keep it cut.
But Reed has refused to sign the plea agreement. “It is not what I agreed to,” he said this week in a phone interview. “I’m not interested in signing something that was misrepresented.”
Meanwhile, Reed said he will proceed with plans to develop the site for residential use, perhaps breaking ground by year’s end. Brice said if the golf course is converted to housing, “it won’t be the country club atmosphere that people bought in here for.”
Hidden Hills once was rated one of the top 50 country clubs in Georgia. Built in the 1970s as a planned urban development, it boasted first-rate swim and tennis amenities, a full-service banquet facility that could accommodate 250 people, and the Fairway Bar and Grille.
But the premier attraction was the golf course, which hosted the U.S. Open sectional qualifying in 1980. Now, the course could disappear. “This has happened quite a number of times in recent years around metro Atlanta, mostly to older courses,” said Mike Waldron, executive director of the Georgia State Golf Association. Waldron cited several courses that have been sold for development, including Metropolitan Golf Club in Lithonia.
“When I was growing up, it was called Fairington Golf Club,” Waldron said. “It was one of the best golf clubs in town. The most recent owners of the golf course decided it was more valuable to them as developed land for homes than it was as a golf course.”
Homeowners often have no recourse when a golf course that anchors their community is privately owned. In Scottsdale, Ariz., the City Council offered to purchase an abandoned 32-acre golf course, and it has threatened to condemn the property if the offer is rejected. At Hidden Hills, both the golf course and the neighborhood have changed significantly over the years.
Jan Costello, chairwoman of the Hidden Hills Civic Association’s golf course committee, bought a home in the subdivision in 1991. “It was a very nice community,” she said. “And it was integrated. My children are biracial, and we were happy, but it didn’t last long.”
The area, which used to be predominantly White, has become majority Black.
Many of the houses are occupied by renters, and some of the older homes and apartment buildings have fallen into disrepair. Residents say a previous owner filled in the swimming pool, then Reed dismantled the tennis courts, leaving only the golf course and clubhouse as recreational amenities.
Longtime homeowner Nancy Samuel has had a view of the golf course for more than a decade. “This was the most beautiful place in the world when I moved here [in 1993],” she said. Samuel admits that the Hidden Hills community has had its problems in recent years, but she said, “When [Reed] walked away with no maintenance for those many months, it caused a serious decline in the neighborhood.”
Home sales have been slow, and prices are depressed, she said. Samuel and her husband had their four-bedroom, 2.5-bath house on the market for 11 months. They recently accepted an offer of $173,500, below the $200,000 appraised value.
To residents of Hidden Hills, reopening the golf course is the key to turning their community around. They have proposed that the county buy the property and use it as a community recreation area.
This Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, published in 2006, is no longer available on their website, but it does include an important sentence for clearly understanding why the case of Hidden Hills is.a power parable in racial realities: “The area, which used to be predominantly White, has become majority Black.”
Dekalb County was 71 percent White in 1980. Today, the county is less than 30 percent White.
Hidden Hills Country Club was once one of the top country clubs in all of America; today, the community surrounding it is nearly all-Black, the club house was burned down in 2015, and the once-renowned course is being reclaimed by nature (as well as a dumping ground for Black on Black homicides).
Oh, and Hidden Hills is almost entirely today populated by Blacks. The conditions of not just the abandoned country club, but the declining property values, are just a reminder of the Visible Black Hand of Economics and the terrifying consequences of the Black Undertow Effect.
I hope you read until the very end as well…
* * *
Source: Stuff Black People Don’t Like