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The Hampton Lake neighborhood was built on 90 acres originally owned by Ed Stevens. Mr. Stevens also owned the land where Johnson Ferry Baptist Church now stands, and his daughter still lives in the small brick house on the south side of the church property. Trinity Presbyterian Church had a church camp on the property, used for retreats and fishing (4991 Lakeland was the site of the gathering building). Our lake, the first in a series of 7 lakes which feed into the Chattahoochee River, was part of the Chattahoochee Water Management area.
The Landmark Group developed the property - construction began in 1978, and by Christmas that year, there were 8 families in Hampton Lake. Prices ranged from $118,000 to $135,000. HOA dues were $150/year and neighbors signed up to maintain the common areas.
We were ‘in the country’ – Johnson Ferry was 2 lanes with no traffic lights; there was a one-lane bridge over the Chattahoochee River (formerly served by a ferry). Woodlawn (Publix) Shopping Center was a horse farm, Olde Towne was a cattle farm, and Parkaire Mall (Kroger) was a former small airport before
becoming a mall with an indoor ice-skating rink.
This area was one of the ‘new suburbs’ of the growing city of Atlanta. In 1978, Atlanta’s population was 1.5 million (2020 population 5.8 million), and the suburban housing boom had started, with Cobb County as a primary development area. East Cobb became an attractive area to raise a family.
The local gathering spot was Merchant’s Walk, in its original incarnation as a Williamsburg-style village, with shops and restaurants (Hale’s Books, Twigs, Satterfield Florist, a French bakery, Ogletree’s Groceries, Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, Cashin’s Restaurant) and hosted fireworks, children’s events, breakfast with
Santa, parades and outdoor events.