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A 780-foot ski slope in Vinings? That's right

Vinings is an unincorporated census-designated place of about 3.3 square miles, with its west-east boundaries roughly being I-285 and the Chattahoochee River, and its north-south boundaries being Cumberland Boulevard and Log Cabin Road. Proximity to attractions like the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the Silver Comet Trail and the Cumberland Shopping district gives residents more options for shopping and exploring. But here are five things you might not know about the Atlanta suburb.

A version of this story originally appeared in the March/April 2014 issue of Living Intown magazine.

1. It hasn’t always been called Vinings.

It has been known by a variety of names, including Paces, Crossroads and Vinings Station — the latter for William Vining, a civil engineer and surveyor for Western and Atlantic. The name Vinings became official in 1904.

2. It started as a railroad junction.

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Like many towns in Cobb County, Vinings owes its existence to the Western and Atlantic Railroad. In the 1840s, when track was laid from Chattanooga to Atlanta, Vinings became a construction hub.

3. It used to be accessible by ferry.

In addition to its connections to the railroad, Vinings also served as the location for a successful ferry business. Hardy Pace, a transplant from North Carolina, operated the ferry on the banks of the Chattahoochee. He also owned a gristmill, farm and tavern, as well as up to 10,000 acres of land spanning from Vinings to Buckhead. He and his family lived in a 17-room antebellum home, which was occupied by one of Sherman’s generals prior to the Battle of Atlanta and subsequently burned to the ground.

4. It was once home to a ski resort (of sorts).

In the early 20th century, Atlanta’s high society traveled to the area’s springs to escape the city’s heat. For a different form of recreation, in the 1970s, the Vinings Ridge Ski Area provided Atlantans craving winter sports with a 780 foot ski slope (made with Astroturf and plastic pellets), as well as a 3-story lodge with a shop and rooftop restaurant.

5. Overlook III has a history of its own.

At first glance, Overlook III on Paces Ferry Road in Vinings looks like many other steel and glass office buildings that dot Atlanta’s vast landscape. The 21-story, LEED-certified building — built in 1987 by noted Atlanta architectural firm Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart & Associate and renovated in 2004 — shares the spirit of development and expansion evident all over the metro area.

The plot of land occupied by Overlook III is also one of Vinings’ most important historical sites. Tenants of the building enjoy picturesque views of lush trees, rolling hills and the distant Atlanta skyline. Envision church spires instead of skyscrapers, and one can approximate the view General Sherman saw back in 1864. Then known as Mt. Wilkenson, or Vinings Mountain, the peak served as a signal point throughout the Battle of Atlanta.

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