The ARC announced grants awards and program assistance for governments across metro Atlanta this past week. Lawrenceville is getting a $80,000 Livable Centers Initiative grant for work on Honest Alley while Suwanee will get staff assistance from the ARC through the Community Development Assistance Program to look at an activity node at the Buford Highway at Russell Street roundabout.
History Of Honest Alley
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Gwinnett County’s economy depended on cotton. Local farmers required quality mules and horses. And so Honest Alley, a row of stables and blacksmith barns behind Crogan Street, became an important trading spot. Livestock traders would travel to the West, purchase mules and horses, and ship them back to Honest Alley on the train. Mr. Jim Bob Oakes was one of the most prominent traders. To tout his success, Jim Bob constructed a large white plantation-style mansion at the opening to the alley, where it still stands today. Honest Alley was also notorious for medicine shows. Slick salesmen would tout the benefits of miracle elixirs from their covered wagons. Parents forbade their children to visit Honest Alley, warning of the shady characters that inhabited the place. This only added to the intrigue. Many long-time residents tell of sneaking down to the Alley to discover its mysteries. The original barns and stables of Honest Alley were destroyed in a fire in 1939.