The East Lake Story
East Lake was a popular vacation haven for Atlanta’s well-to-do families in the early 1900s and continued to attract golfing enthusiasts who wanted to play at East Lake Golf Club, where golfing legend Bobby Jones played his first and last rounds of golf. In 1930, Bobby Jones became the only golfer ever to win a Grand Slam by capturing first place titles in the U.S Amateur, the U.S. Open, the British Amateur and the British Open in the same year. To date, no golfer has matched that record.
By the 1960s, the golf course and the community began to fall into disrepair, and, in 1970, a public housing project called East Lake Meadows was constructed on what had been East Lake’s No. 2 golf course. Over the next two decades, the area continued to deteriorate and was called "Little Vietnam" by local police because of its high crime rates and drug trade.
Power of Partnerships
The East Lake Foundation was established in 1995 to help transform the East Lake neighborhood and create new opportunities for the families who live here. Working with neighborhood residents and expert public and private partners, the Foundation developed a new community on the site of the former public housing project.
“We tore down hell and built heaven.”
– Eva Davis, past president of the East Lake Meadows residents’ association and a resident in The Villages of East Lake until she passed away in 2012.
East Lake Today
The new East Lake includes:
- The Villages of East Lake, a mixed-income apartment community with 542 townhouses, duplexes and garden apartments
- Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta Public Schools’ first charter school, which is managed by Edison Schools, Inc., and now serving more than 1,200 students in grades pre-K to grade eleven
- The nine hole, mid-length, public Charlie Yates Golf Course, home to The First Tee® of East Lake
- The East Lake Community Learning Garden and Urban Farm
- The East Lake Family YMCA
- The East Lake Early Learning Academy and
- the Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Center for children from birth to kindergarten
The Foundation is breaking the cycle of poverty by creating and funding educational, recreational and self-sufficiency programs for community residents, while providing amenities that attract mixed-income residents and private investment to the community.