May 9, 2023

Latimer Hall History, as of January, 2023

The Latimer Hall story begins with a look at the City of Woodstock in the early 1960s. As the southernmost municipality in Cherokee County, its population was increasing as Atlanta crept closer and closer. One aspect of the growth was the need for better communication systems. There were five separate and independent telephone companies in Cherokee County, the largest being General Telephone. It was time for Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company to expand its boundaries into Woodstock by constructing a building to house their modern equipment as technology changed. Woodstock became a part of the Metropolitan Atlanta Exchange, and dial phones became the norm. Residents could call toll-free all numbers in the exchange, but to call Canton was a long-distance call. Eventually, that would change. The phone company chose a location on what was then called Church Street, a narrow little street which had served for decades as the roadway leading off Main Street to parking lots for the Methodist and Baptist churches. A short distance westward, it merged with Mill Street. Today, it is Towne Lake Parkway.

The property had been the site of the Claude Chandler family home until the home was destroyed by fire sometime before 1918. To the west, just feet away, was the Woodstock Methodist Church which began holding services in 1889. Its neighbor on the east was a brick cotton warehouse, one of six such warehouses dating to Woodstock’s thriving cotton industry of the early decades of the 20th century. Various businesses have occupied the warehouse in modern times. It holds the distinction of being the only surviving such warehouse in Woodstock.

In 1982 the City of Woodstock moved its offices from the Woodstock Depot and purchased the building at 103 Church Street from Southern Bell. Its offices included the police department, and there was a holding cell for prisoners on the lower level. Residents could pay their water bills and tax bills there, and all elections were held there. It would be used as City Hall until 1997 when offices were moved to the new Municipal Complex at, ironically, 103 Arnold Mill Road. The new city hall location was not far away, and was on the same street, just eastward from Main Street and the railroad tracks. Old maps show the street we call Arnold Mill was once known as East Church Street. Church Street is no longer on any map. It is now Towne Lake Parkway, and it comes and goes to Towne Lake.

When the Methodist Church purchased the property from the City of Woodstock, they named it Latimer Hall in honor of the Latimer family whose members had been an integral part of the congregation throughout its history.

contributed by Juanita Hughes