Historic Preservation

Historic preservation in DeKalb County is concerned with identifying and protecting areas, buildings, and sites of significance in the history of our county, our state, and our nation.  These include historic districts, individual buildings, cemeteries, and archeological sites.

The primary job of the preservation planner is to provide technical and administrative support and assistance to the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission.  Beyond that, the preservation planner assists other agencies of state and county government where their duties intersect with historic preservation, and provides assistance to individuals and private organizations interested in researching and preserving the history of the DeKalb County.

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has established the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission to protect historic places within unincorporated DeKalb County. The preservation commission is made up of seven residents of the county, appointed by the Board of Commissioners and the Chief Executive Officer of the county. The preservation commissions are volunteers and receive no compensation.

DeKalb County currently has two locally designated districts. The Druid Hills Historic District is located in the west central part of the county, between Decatur and Atlanta. This district is based around a number of related suburbs developed in the first half of the twentieth century. The second district is primarily concerned with the preservation of archeological sites. This is the Soapstone Ridge Historic District, located in the southwest corner of the country.


Druid Hills Historic District - Design Manual

Part One:  The District & The Process

Section 1 Local District Designation

Section 2 Design Review in DeKalb County

Section 3 Historic Development

Section 4 Historic Resources - Analysis of Existing Conditions & Historic Character

Part Two:  General Design Guidelines & Preservation Principles

Section 5 Preservation Principles & approaches for Architectural Rehabilitation Projects

Section 6 Architectural Rehabilitation Guidelines

Section 7 Additions & New Construction - Preserving Form & Layout

Section 8 Natural Landscapes - Protecting the Design Context

Section 9 Cultural Landscapes Guidelines - Maintaining "The Look"

Section 10 Archaeological Resources/Section 11 Guidelines for Non-historic Properties

Part Three:  Character Areas Analyses & Guidelines

Section 12 Druid Hills National Register District - Character Areas #1 & #2

Section 13 University Park / Emory Highlands / Emory Estates Character Area

Section 14 Emory Grove Character Area

Section 15 - Parkwood Character Area


Emory Village Design Standards

Chelsea Heights Design Guidelines

Artwood Design Guidelines

Several criteria are used to determine whether a property is historic. They include:


Properties greater than or equal to 50 years old are considered historic.

Special Architectural Significance:  

Some properties less than 50 years old are considered historic because they possess special architectural significance; for example, they might be the first of a type built; be an exceptionally good example of a particular method of construction or style; or represent the work of a noted architect or master builder.

Historic Association:

Some properties less than 50 years old are considered historic because of their association to significant events or persons; for example, properties associated with the Civil Rights movement are now being considered historic at the national level as well as the state and local levels. Another example would be a President's home that is not 50 years old but would certainly be considered historic.