“Tucker, if by some bare chance you shouldn’t know,” said the August Chronicle, “is located in DeKalb County on the Seaboard, about half way between Atlanta and Lawrenceville.”
If not for the word “Seaboard,” current discussions over cityhood might cause some to think this is a recent quote. It isn’t. It’s from a 1913 article on the decision of the railway commission, requiring Deluxe trains to stop when hailed at the Tucker depot.
The headline reads:
“Even Trains De Luxe Can’t Pass Tucker By . . . No sassy flyers of the Seaboard [Railroad] can scoot through that village without halting on signal of the Tuckerites.”
A century later, as unlikely as it seems, some in the area have lost track of exactly where Tucker is located. Like the “sassy flyers” of the past, perhaps they too have scooted through without halting. Perhaps this lack of knowing is genuine, or maybe there is another motive behind dismissing Tucker. It’s difficult to know and unwise to speculate, but “if by some bare chance you shouldn’t know,” there are plenty who do.
The Georgia Department of Transportation makes the location of Tucker abundantly clear to hundreds of thousands of daily commuters. Signs in both directions on Hwy 78 and I-285; Exit 37 “LaVista Rd Tucker,” Exit 4 “Mountain Ind Blvd Tucker,” and Exit 7 “Hugh Howell Rd Tucker,” all point to Tucker. The road connecting the communities of Chamblee and Tucker is called, of all things, “Chamblee-Tucker Road.” It crosses both I-285 and I-85 and rarely a weekday goes by without mention of the road in multiple traffic reports.
Mark Arum, Scott Slade, and Captain Herb, know where Tucker is located. Their voices, along with the voices of Clark Howard, Walter Reeves, Kirk Mellish, Jamie Dupree and others, transmit to millions of commuters and homes across North Georgia from the WSB tower in Tucker, Georgia.
DeKalb County Fire & Rescue know that both Station #5 and Station #22 are in Tucker. The County also knows that Henderson Park, Kelley C. Cofer Park, and Peters Park are in Tucker. The administrators at Emory University know that their Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital is in Tucker.
The US Postal Service has known the location of Tucker is since at least 1892. Tucker has been around for a while.
The Tucker Mattress Company opened in 1917; Tucker High School in 1918; Cofer Brothers Inc., in 1919; and Tucker received a US Census Bureau designation in the 1930s. The Tucker Masonic Lodge No. 42 opened in 1940; Matthew’s Cafeteria and Tucker Football League in 1955; Tucker Business Association,Tucker–Reid H. Cofer Library, and Bikeways of Tucker in the 1960s; and Triumph (Tucker) Youth Soccer Association in the 1970s.
But, “if by some bare chance you” still don’t know where Tucker is, have confidence that Jason’s Deli at Northlake Festival knows the location of their “Tucker Deli.” Folks Southern Kitchen knows they are in Tucker too. So do the owners of Mellow Mushroom, PetSmart, and Chick Fil-A.
Yet at 529 words into this article, it becomes silly to keep pointing out every instance of the word “Tucker” or every well-known establishment in Tucker. The pressing question isn’t “where is Tucker.” The question is what will become of Tucker in the near future and who will determine that future?
For most, the boarders of Tucker fade out in various directions and there hasn’t been a need to draw lines. Like it or not, Tucker has never been exclusive. The us against them mentality doesn’t work well in DeKalb County and it finds no comfort in Tucker. Signs in support of the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA) along Henderson read “Don’t get left out,” seemingly unaware they are already in Tucker.
Will the LCA and their sister organization, convince those within their proposed city boundaries that a new community is the right solution? Can they convince residents in parts of Tucker to join them?
Change is essential to healthy growth and Tucker welcomes sassy fliers from every direction but when the signal goes up to slow down and stop, it’s time to stop. Like hundreds of rural and suburban communities across the state, Tucker will likely define its own future.
In the meantime “if by some bare chance you” still don’t know, unincorporated Tucker, with over 1,700 employers and an annual payroll of more than $1.3 billion, continues to flourish on both sides of I-285.
(Originally posted in the Tucker Patch, October 21, 2013.)