Strictly speaking, Brookhaven isn't an Atlanta neighborhood any more; it became a city in DeKalb County in late 2012. But it still operates like an upscale, intown community that flows into Buckhead.
Brookhaven's roots go back to the Creeks, who occupied this area before they were marched off their land. In the 1800s, it was home to a prosperous plantation owned by just two families. As the 20th century began, prominent citizens of Atlanta, which was still not within commuting distance, headed to Brookhaven to build their summer cottages. They incorporated the Brookhaven Country Club in 1910, and the nine-hole course opened the following year. Following East Lake's golf course in 1906, it was the second golf course in Atlanta. It was expanded to 18 holes in 1915.
The neighborhood that developed in this area, the oldest planned golf course and country club community in Georgia, was recognized as a historic district by the National Park Service's U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Brookhaven Historic District is bounded by Peachtree Road on the south and east, Peachtree-Dunwoody Road on the west, and Windsor Parkway on the north.
Today, the Capital City Club owns the country club.
Brookhaven's homes represent the work of some of Atlanta's well-known architects – Neel Reid, A.F.N. Everett, Hal Wentz, Cyril B. Smith, W.N.W. Griffin, Pringle and Smith, W. Montgomery Anderson, Henry D. Norris and Edwards and Goodwyne. Most of the homes built around the country club were built before 1942.
The National Park Service describes Brookhaven's homes as "one and two-story buildings finished in wood, brick, stucco and stone. Most of the houses are designed in Colonial or Georgian Revival styles. They typically have three or five bays, gable hipped roofs, weatherboard or brick exteriors, and front entrances highlighted by a frontispiece doorway, a small portico, or a doorway trimmed with sidelights or over lights. Each lot is richly landscaped with pines and other shade trees, shrubs, ground covers and grass lawns."
The Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association (HBNA) makes beautification of common greenspace one of their goals. The HBNA contracts out lawn care, mowing, trimming and pruning of trees and shrubs, blowing leaves and picking up litter.
The group is hard at work on many planned improvements, including the redevelopment and/or redesign of some parks. The best-known park is Brookhaven Park, behind the DeKalb Training Center. This 17-acre county park includes a multiuse field, basketball court, playground, picnic pavilion and walking trails.
The association also administers the Historic Brookhaven Foundation, which raises money for neighborhood beautification projects and maintenance of plantings around monuments, memorial benches and plaques and the time capsule buried in the Lakehaven/Davidson triangle.
In addition, the HBNA presides over a candlelight tour of homes that serves as a fundraiser for a local charity, an annual street party, a kids' summer camp, a family holiday party, an Easter egg hunt, a Moms Club and a community service project.
Among the area schools are Smith Elementary School (K-5), Ashford Park Elementary School (PK-5), St. Martin's Episcopal School (PK-8), Montclair Elementary School
(PK-5), Sutton Middle School and Our Lady of the Assumption School (PK-8).