Neighborhood Beautification and Design
Though today’s Heathwood community grew and developed around its focal point–the Heath mansion–the neighborhood was a direct outgrowth of M. C. Heath’s vision for an ordered suburban neighborhood that he sought to establish from 131 lots spread over 17 blocks. Heath personally invited all early residents to buy into the community, often selling lots to business partners and social acquaintances. The developer also imposed strict building requirements, approving all building plans, and financed community beautification, like planting cedar trees, and constructed the red clay roads. Heath’s attention to the physical environment may be attributed to his awareness of the early 20th century’s City Beautiful reform movement, which sought to improve urban problems through thoughtful planning and aesthetic surroundings.
While the mansion fell to the wrecking ball to accommodate further development, these icons of the former estate’s boundaries still testify to the neighborhood’s earliest years.
Masonry pillars adorned with concrete spherical finials originally marked the perimeter of the Heath family’s 12-acre estate, including its east entrance drive (Cassina Road, seen here) and the neighborhood’s entrance from Garners Ferry Road (today Devine Street). Image courtesy Elizabeth K. Manning