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Saturday, August 15, 2015 - 11:24am

Sam Massell On How Buckhead Got Its Name

President of the Buckhead Coalition Sam Massell tells the history and the present status of Buckhead.

Massell: About 1838, the Irby family owned an all-purpose store/general store/bar/tavern. Someone killed a deer and hung his head there as a trophy at the store. The store was called Irby’s Tavern. The area was actually called Irbyville on the maps. After someone hung this deer head there people started saying “I’ll meet you at the buck’s head.”

Bevington: Let me remind you of a story. It was probably seven or eight years ago. I ran into you in LaGuardia Restaurant. I said it was great to see you Mayor Massell, I’m Rickey Bevington and you said do you know the history of Buckhead. And I felt very put on the spot and I actually think I may have answered it correctly unbelievably. But you gave me, as my reward, a little pin. It was a buck head. Do you do that around Buckhead?

Massell: I got to confess. I do carry one extra one with me all the time because it’s sort of a symbol of support that people do know a little bit about history and when they don’t they go immediately to Google or something like that and find out and come right back to me and by then I’ve given it to somebody else. My job is to help brand this Buckhead around the world.

Bevington: So speaking of branding Buckhead, why don’t you talk about where Buckhead is today and where you see it in the future?

Massell: Well, it’s interesting that you ask because I’ll tell your viewers that my office for the Buckhead Coalition is here in Tower Place 100 which was the first building starting the skyline of our community of Buckhead. And in fact I broke ground on this when I was mayor of the City of Atlanta for Charlie Ackerman who was a developer of this building. And it’s amusing to recall his exact words to me was Sam do you think anybody be able to top this and now I sit here in my office and look out and see buildings all around who block my view. I should point out that it only has about 20 percent of Atlanta’s population. It only occupies about 20 percent of Atlanta’s land area, but we pay about 45 percent of its ad valorem taxes.

Bevington: My last question is if you could, if you had to describe Buckhead to somebody from say another country to encapsulate this community what three words would you use?

Massell: I got such an ego. Usually I can answer questions before I hear the question. But to come up with three words other than wow, wow, and wow.