Cheshire Farm Trail
This sunny trail, which includes four beautiful footbridges, passes alongside and underneath the new Ga. 400 fly-over ramp. It is named for the Cheshire family, which settled the area in the 19th century, raised a family and built a farm. The gravel path offers beautiful views of the creek and the urban infrastructure, as well as both old-growth and newly-planted native trees. It was completed in 2014 with the cooperation and determination of South Fork, the Ga. Department of Transportation and the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition. Bilingual “Wildlife Olympics” activity signs, which encourage children to imitate native wildlife, can be found along the trail.
Where is the trail?
The Cheshire Farm Trail spans the creek as it flows underneath the Ga. 400 fly-over, along the edge of I-85, between Cheshire Bridge Road and Lindbergh Drive. Access points include Lindbergh Road (across from Meadow Loop Trail) and Cheshire Bridge Road.
Where do I park?
On-street parking is available on Lindridge Drive and Armand Road where they connect with Lindbergh Drive. Or take MARTA to the Lindbergh station, then walk east on Lindbergh till you see the trail sign after passing under the highway. MARTA has several bus routes on Lindbergh, too.
How the Cheshire Farm Trail Came to Be
When the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) decided to build the new flyover ramps for GA 400, some neighbors weren’t pleased. The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition (LLCC) and the South Fork Conservancy encouraged community meetings where neighbors discussed how GDOT could make it up to them. After plenty of discussion, two popular mitigation ideas were offered to GDOT: National Register of Historic Places designation for the Lindridge Martin Manor neighborhood and the creekside trail. GDOT agreed to both. Heather Alhadeff, a traffic consultant then working for Perkins+Will, helped steer the trail to completion. The cost neared a million dollars for the half-mile trail, including one major and three minor bridges.
What’s in the Name?
During the construction phase we called it the Creekside Trail. But, all our trails are along the creek. So naming it Creekside Trail? BORING! As the trail approached completion, we thought about a new distinctive name. Fly-over Ramp Trail? NO WAY! Interstate trail? THIS IS GETTING WORSE! So South Forks Conservancy’s Sally Sears and Celia Lismore went to the LLCC board meeting and asked for ideas. “Exactly where is the trail?” someone asked. We told her that it’s off Cheshire Bridge Road where it turns under I-85 and becomes Lenox Road. Then, a wonderful moment of realization came when we realized the trailhead is beside the knoll where Captain Hezekiah Cheshire built his farmhouse. A little back and forth, and by the time the meeting ended, everybody liked the name Cheshire Farm Trail. Not only is it a great reminder that there were actual farms in what is now urban Atlanta, Capt. Cheshire might also get a kick out of it.
Why? (For you historians out there …)
Captain Cheshire was born in Maryland in 1786. At the age of 26 he raised a cavalry company which served as part of Colonel Milton’s South Carolina regiment in the war of 1812. We don’t know how or when Hezekiah Cheshire arrived in Georgia but we do know that he was a widower with 12 children until 1836. At 50, the war hero married 22-year-old Sarah Goodwin from Brookhaven. They promptly began to rear a family of 12 additional children.
The view from the farmhouse included the family’s acres stretching west to Piedmont Road. What is now Lindbergh Drive was only a dirt trail connecting the Cheshires to their neighbors, the Plasters. Son Napoleon Cheshire ran the farm through the century, and his two daughters lived in the farmhouse into the 1930’s. Another son built a farmhouse for his family where the Colonnade Restaurant now sits. The bridge of Cheshire Bridge crossed the South Fork, connecting the Cheshire brothers’ homes.
Despite mid-century pressures to house returning veterans of World War II, some parts of the land continued to be actively farmed. The Mansfield family is recalled by some residents as growing terrific tomatoes well into the 1970’s, when the last of Cheshire Farm became Cedar Chase Condominiums.
Living children descended from Hezekiah and Sarah still live in Atlanta, and can walk the Cheshire Farm trail where their ancestors once lived.