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Living on the Continental Divide - Two Willows Preserve
Living along the Ridge
Posted: October 8th, 2010 @ 2:32pm
A little known fact about Ridge Road in northern Gwinnett County is that it is the eastern Continental divide. Growing up here in Buford, Georgia, I always heard stories that the water run-off on the East side of Ridge Road runs towards the Atlantic ocean, and the water draining on the West side of the road runs to the Gulf of Mexico. This was an interesting story as a boy, but as someone who lived along the ridge for a number of years as an adult, I noted small benefits from this feature.
I need to describe the geography a little to help you understand this natural occurrence. A ridge gradually rises up out the piedmont region of Georgia. This is the subtle beginning of the Appalachian mountain range that spans from Georgia to Kentucky. Hikers and the novice alike know the beauty of the Appalachian hiking trail. Part of the trail, including the stretch of the “ridge” in Buford, was well traveled by Native Americans for centuries. Native Americans learned from their forefathers the advantages of traveling along the ridge. Being able to see in both directions allowed them to spot both prey and foe more easily.
Many of the roads we travel today were built along the paths traveled for generations by native inhabitants. As Georgia opened to the settlers in the 1820’s, paths were converted to trails, and as commerce began, trails were upgraded to dirt roads. Roads were widened to accommodate wagons first for single lane use and as the population grew the roads were widened to allow for two way traffic. Buford began paving roads, or making “streets”, in 1912 when granite cobblestone, a form of Belgium pavers, was used on the main streets in the downtown retail district. Buford developed much later than many of the cities in Georgia because it was not founded until the new railroad passed through this virgin area in 1871.
Two Willows Preserve is perched atop the ridge along a path that connected the northern part of the state with the rest of the frontier. Having an elevation of 1205, it is one of the highest points in Gwinnett County. This elevation helps with a number of things that make living along the ridge beneficial. The obvious advantage is there is little threat of flooding. If water ever crests the ridge, then we have major trouble in the world around us.
A more subtle advantage to ridge living is the constant breeze. There seems to always be a breeze passing, making things seem more pleasant, especially in the summer months. I remember being able to open the windows and save on energy bills, probably four to five months out of the year. Another great benefit that I recall was that my sinus trouble greatly diminished once I moved to the Ridge. Having lived in Macon, Georgia, which is situated in a valley along the Ocmulgee River, my sinus trouble began. It was a common occurrence there because the “fresh” air was blowing over the dip in the valley, and all the “stale” air remanded static.
Living along a Ridge can help you feel connected with the past as well as promote better living. Sometimes you don’t realize these simple, common sense things, until it is too late. Two Willows Preserve is situated atop Gwinnett’s own ridge where beauty and health come together.
Lynn A. Bowman Broker
Service First Realty, Inc.
Curator, Museum of Buford