As much as I love Atlanta's intown neighborhoods, I have no qualms about my love affair with Historic Roswell. There's just something about this old mill town that draws me in. The classic architecture, the cultured vibe, and the fact that it's still in Fulton County not too far from the city, makes it a strong contender for Atlanta's coolest 'burb. Or maybe I lived there in a former life, perhaps on our Street of the Week: Sloan Street.
Sloan Street is at the center of Roswell's original Mill Village, situated behind the Town Square on a hill that leads down to Vickery Creek. Roswell King happened upon the area during the 1830s when he was traveling to investigate North Georgia's gold fields. Not one to pass up a good business opportunity, he saw the potential of Vickery Creek for powering a textile mill. The resulting Roswell Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1839. The mill village was one of the first in the South and, like the rest of the town, reveals King's New England origins. The contrast between this side of the square and the other is fascinating; the eastern side (the mill village) has winding streets of modest worker homes, while the western side was gridded out for the town's wealthier citizens. Some of their beautiful Greek Revival residences are available for tours, which I highly recommend.
In the end, Roswell King ended up on the wrong side of town at Sloan Street's Founders Cemetery. Given the desirability of Historic Roswell these days, I don't think he'd mind. A few of the original workers' homes have been given commercial uses but not at the expense of the neighborhood's quiet character. The architecture here is simple and sturdy, and it fits in nicely with the rolling topography. In my opinion the most notable residential project on Sloan Street has been the restoration of "The Bricks." Said to be the oldest apartment buildings in the South (1839), they've been reconfigured into fabulous townhomes. The restoration preserved key elements and produced a sensitive addition on what was the backside of the complex. Across the street is another gorgeous townhome development designed by the same architect, Founder's Mill.
Single family homes come up for sale every now and then, so it's just a matter of catching them at the right time. Residents enjoy easy walking distance to events and business on the Square, while further down Atlanta Street is the shopping and eating mecca of Canton Street. The area around the mill ruins has been preserved as parkland and trails, with the brick and stone remains providing a tangible reminder of Roswell's industrial origins.