History of Ivy Creek
Ivy Creek Elementary School is named for the actual Ivy Creek, which has its headwaters near our school and runs by the Mall of Georgia. (The name “Ivy” also may be associated with Hardy Ivy, the man many historians believe was the first white settler in the Atlanta area.) The Eastern Continental Divide, running from Hog Mountain to the Bolton area in downtown Atlanta, punctuates the area and is the source of many surrounding creeks, including Ivy Creek and Duncan Creek. The Woodard Mill once stood on Ivy Creek near the intersection of I-85 and Hwy. 20. Old Peachtree Road follows the course of Ivy Creek, and this is important for several reasons.
The Native Americans in the area established the route which became Old Peachtree Road. They traveled along the trail because the pathway lay along a ridge (Peachtree Ridge), eliminating the need to cross water along the way. Native Americans used the trail to travel to the Chattahoochee River. Water that drains north and west of the ridge runs to the Gulf of Mexico via the Chattahoochee River, and water that drains south and east of this ridge flows to the Atlantic Ocean via the Yellow River. This was the “dividing line” between the Creek Indian Nation and the Cherokee Indian Nation— Cherokees to the north and west, Creeks to the south and east.
During the War of 1812, the Creeks were recruited by the British to fight the settlers in the area. The Americans built forts along the ridge and used the Native American trail to establish Federal Road between the extreme points of the fort line: Fort Daniel in Hog Mountain and Fort of the Standing Pitchtree in Atlanta, near where Pitchtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River in Bolton. During the Civil War, it was along this line that General William Sherman moved through the region during his March to the Sea in 1864. Sherman had served in the area and was familiar with the Federal Road. In addition, he had traveled with General Winfield Scott during their relocation of the Cherokees from the region on the Trail of Tears. One might notice the name was Pitchtree, not Peachtree. The Fort was called Standing Pitchtree due to the abundance of trees in the area from which the resin, or pitch was used to seal log cabins and forts. In time, Pitchtree became Peachtree.
The original Ivy Creek School was established in 1911. Located just a few miles from our present campus on Ivy Creek Road, the school was built on one acre of land. The facility used water from a neighbor’s well. Although the school had no toilet facilities and the interior was unpainted, Ivy Creek was considered to be in “good condition.” The value of the one-room school building was $500. Although the school had a “good blackboard,” there were no maps, charts, reference dictionaries or library books. Miss Myrtie Bush taught 30 students, grades one through seven. In the early years, Ivy Creek School was maintained with $500 from state and county funds and local taxes per school year.
Our present Ivy Creek Elementary School was opened in 2003 with 930 students and a staff of ninety-eight. At Ivy Creek we are dedicated to the academic achievement, health and wellness of our students, families and staff. In August 2003, we began an alliance with Kids’ Health, Inc, establishing our IvyCreek Elementary School/Community School Health Council which has lead to the formation of our Peer Action Leadership Team (PAL) for students. Our Charter PTA financed a paved walking track, allowing us to sponsor Family Track Nights, and we are quickly becoming a community center for our area.
Our lovely area is thriving, and we are proud that the Gwinnett County Board of Education has honored our school by naming it for the original Ivy Creek School as well as for our important and historical landmark, Ivy Creek!
(Thanks to George Bagwell for historical consultation.)