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Q: Origin of "Beaver Ruin" in Atlanta, Georgia ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Origin of "Beaver Ruin" in Atlanta, Georgia
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: bkft-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 13 Jul 2003 22:04 PDT
Expires: 12 Aug 2003 22:04 PDT
Question ID: 229679
There is a road in North Atlanta called "Beaver Ruin Road".

My brother and I love that street name.  We have long imagined a past
historic disaster where beaver dams had flooded a town, or something
otherwise dramatic.

We've been curious about the precise origin of the name, but really
don't have the slightest idea how to research it.  We haven't started to
search libraries yet, but we did try basic web searches and struck out.  We
figured we'd give the smart folks of Google Answers a try!

QUESTION: What is the historic background of "Beaver Ruin Road" and
the nearby "Beaver Ruin Creek"?  Does "ruin" mean the modern sense of
the word, or does it have some other meaning that might make more

Note, I'm not looking for "they named Beaver Ruin Road after the
nearby creek of the same name"... I'm interested in the actual meaning
and origin of the term "Beaver Ruin".
Subject: Re: Origin of "Beaver Ruin" in Atlanta, Georgia
Answered By: markj-ga on 14 Jul 2003 12:09 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
bkft --

You have asked a fascinating question, and I believe I have found the
most authoritative information on the subject that is available
online.  Primary sources for the information are not available online
but are referenced in an online compilation of Georgia place-name
information that was compiled by a professional photographer and
amateur historian, Ken Krakow.

It turns out that there are two streams in Georgia named  "Beaver Ruin
Creek." The one in Gwinnett County (near Atlanta) shares its name with
a nearby road and is presumably the in which you are interested.  The
other "Beaver Ruin Creek" is in Clarke County.

The origin of the name of the Gwinnett County creek (and, it may be
assumed, the road) is described by Krakow as follows:

"Another Beaver Ruin Creek is in Gwinnett County. Brinkley says this
stream was named for a Cherokee, Beaver Toter, whose house and ferry
were washed away in a flash flood."
Ken Krakow: Georgia Places-Names: Their History and Origins (at page 4
of the PDF document)

[You need Acrobat Reader to access PDF documents.  If you do not have
it installed on your computer, it can be downloaded at no cost from
this linked page:
Adobe Reader ]

There are several online references to Cherokees with the name of
"Beaver Toter" in  Georgia history. For example:
The Joel Joseph Pierce Mystery and Nolan's Expedition (almost 1/2 down
the page) 

Krakow's source for this information is Hal E. Brinkley.  According to
Krakow's exhaustive introduction to his work, which describes in great
detail the Georgia historical resources that he used in his
compilation, Brinkley is the author of a booklet called "How Georgia
Got Her Names," which was published in 1967:
Ken Krakow: Georgia Places-Names: Introduction (page 11 of PDF

If you are interested in reviewing primary sources, the Brinkley book
is available in at least some public libraries in Georgia:
South Georgia Regional Library System (about 1/5 down the page)

Additional Information:

According to Krakow, the name of the other "Beaver Ruin Creek" in
Georgia (in Clarke County) "refers to an extensive area which a colony
of beavers had flooded and devastated with a network of dams."
Ken Krakow: Georgia Places-Names: Their History and Origins (at page 4
of the PDF document)

The primary source for this information is the late John Goff, a
professor at Atlanta's Emory University and a noted Georgia historian,
whose "publications and notes are deposited in the State's Department
of Archives and History":
Ken Krakow: Georgia Places-Names: Introduction (page 4 of PDF

Here is a link to Ken Krakow's home page:
Ken Krakow: Georgia Photographer

Search Strategy

I used several Google searches.  The first revealed the link to the
Krakow local history compilation and its reference to "Beaver Ruin
Creek" as its sixth "hit":
"beaver ruin" derived

Although Krakow's thorough introduction to his compilation (cited
above) convinced me that his research was as thorough and
authoritative as humanly possible, I conducted some subsequent
searches aimed at further establishing the reliability of the
"hal e brinkley"
"john goff" emory

"ken krakow"

"beaver toter"

This was an interesting quest, and I hope you find the answer to be
completely satisfactory.  If anything is unclear, please ask for
clarification before rating this answer.

bkft-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thanks very much for the fast and detailed answer, well organized,
with supporting material.  I asked an obscure question, and got a
relevant answer.  In the ideal world I would have liked to see some of
the original source material, but as the researcher indicated, that is
probably not available online.  Good job.

Subject: Re: Origin of "Beaver Ruin" in Atlanta, Georgia
From: markj-ga on 14 Jul 2003 17:04 PDT
bkft --

Thanks much for your kind words, five-star rating and generous tip.  


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