How Did Atlanta's Buckhead Area Get Its Name?

How Did Atlanta’s Buckhead Area Get Its Name?


Nestled in the heart of Atlanta, Buckhead is known today for its upscale shops, elegant hotels, and bustling business district. But the origin of its name takes us back to a more rustic, early 19th-century Georgia.

The Early Days of Buckhead

The story of Buckhead’s name begins with Henry Irby, a significant figure in the area’s early development. In 1838, Irby purchased 203 acres in what is now central Buckhead for a mere $650. He established a tavern and grocery store near the intersection of Peachtree and Paces Ferry roads, an area first known as “Irbyville.” This establishment would become a popular stop for travelers and locals alike.

The Buck’s Head: A Landmark Emerges

The transformative moment in Buckhead’s history is tied to a rather unusual event. According to local lore, either Irby or another hunter killed a large buck deer and mounted its head on a post near the tavern. This striking display caught the attention of those passing by. Gradually, the area began to be referred to not as Irbyville, but as “the buck’s head.”

The Evolution of a Name

Over time, the term “Buckhead” began to stick. The first official usage of the name “Buckhead” appears in a December 22, 1840, act of the Georgia Legislature, where it established Irby’s home as an election district. What started as a local nickname rooted in a peculiar landmark gradually evolved into the official designation for the area.

Buckhead’s Growth and Transformation

Since those early days, Buckhead has grown and transformed dramatically. The once sparsely populated area, known for its summer homes and expansive estates, has become one of Atlanta’s most prominent neighborhoods. The name “Buckhead” remains, a testament to its humble, albeit unique, origins.

The story of how Buckhead got its name is a fascinating glimpse into the area’s past. It reflects a time when a simple, albeit striking, local landmark could shape the identity of a community for generations to come. Today, Buckhead stands as a vibrant and essential part of Atlanta, with a name that harkens back to its unique and rustic beginnings​​​​.

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