History of Peachtree Ridge High School
1555 Old Peachtree Road Suwanee GA 30024 (678) 957-3100
Built on 66 forested acres, Peachtree Ridge High School (PRHS) lies along a series of rolling hills known as Peachtree Ridge. This natural barrier once separated the Cherokee Indians, who lived along the Chattahoochee River and its tributaries, and the Lower Creek Indians, who inhabited the southern portions of Gwinnett County amidst the Yellow, Brushy Fork, Alcovy, and Appalachee river valleys. The section of the county in which PRHS is located was long ago known simply as Bethel. Lebanon Church also once stood nearby. The school is situated several miles southwest of Suwanee Old Town, once inhabited by Cherokee but believed to have been established by Shawnee Indians. It is believed that Native Americans lived in this area hundreds of years prior to the town’s establishment.
The name “Suwanee” is said to be the Anglo version of Shawnee. PRHS is located near the old and historical Peachtree Road, which was built during the War of 1812, less than a half dozen years before the Cherokee tribe ceded land in the area to the federal government. The road connected Fort Standing Peachtree at the Chattahoochee to Fort Daniel at an important junction leading to the old’Hog Mountain settlement. The road continued east and south, connecting with the Hightower Trail used by settlers, soldiers, and pack trains.
A few hundred yards east of the school stands the almost 200-year-old Goodwin family home. Built-in 1823 it is reputed to be the oldest house in Suwanee. The house and property were acquired and held by the Gilbert family for most of the past 150 years. As of 2014, a great-granddaughter of the Gilbert family still lives in the house! PRHS is constructed on land sold by the heirs of Eugene B. Baynes. Beginning in 1948, Mr. Baynes acquired hundreds of acres of land in the area through dozens of purchases of both large and small tracts. Behind the school, property lays Lake Louella and on the west side of the property runs Lake Louella Road, both of which were named after Mrs. Louise Ella Baynes.
Construction of the 416,000 square-foot PRHS main facility commenced in March 2001. The school opened its doors for classes on Monday, August 11, 2003, with enrollment topping 1,900 students. By November of the same year, another 19,570 square feet of athletic facilities were added. PRHS serves a community rich in history. The contributions of Peachtree Ridge students and staff will add another chapter of successes, leaving an indelible mark on the community.