The Dunwoody Homeowners Association is widely regarded as one of the most powerful associations of its kind in the United States. It traces its origins back to 1969-70, when large scale residential development in North Atlanta was just beginning. The upscale community now consists of approximately 40,000 homeowners, most of who look to the DHA to ensure their quality of life and protect their real estate investment. The community was not always the metro center it is today.
The unincorporated area called Dunwoody was pioneered in the early 1830's and is named for Major Charles Dunwoody (1828-1905). A significant part of the DeKalb County portion was owned by the Spruill family. Their homeplace on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, now the Spruill Historic Home and Gallery, was donated to DeKalb County and Dunwoody by Mrs. Ethel Spruill and Miss Onnie Mae Spruill.The first church, which also served as a private school, was Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church. Established in 1829, it is still an active church located at the intersection of Roberts Dr. and Spalding Dr.
The first public school was started in 1889 near the intersection of Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. and Mt. Vernon Rd. From 1911 to 1989 Dunwoody Elementary School operated on this site. In the early 1990’s the former school building was converted to house both the the Dunwoody branch of the DeKalb County Public Library and the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center. The community enjoys reading, the arts, and live theatre in this facility.
The first mass transit system was a rail line built in 1881 that ran from Chamblee to the Chattahoochee River, passing through Dunwoody along what is now Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The "Old Buck" train ran for 40 years and resulted in a campaign whistle stop visit in 1905 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Many of the founding families of Dunwoody are buried in historic cemeteries such as those at Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church and the old site of New Hope Presbyterian Church (near Roberts Drive-Chamblee-Dunwoody junction), as well as the Donaldson, Eidson and Spruill family cemeteries.