It is the eastern-most of the 238 neighborhoods in the City of Atlanta East Lake is bordered by Oakhurst, which falls within city limits of Decatur, to the north; Kirkwood to the west; and unincorporated DeKalb County to the east and south. East Lake lies mostly within the 30317 zip code.
East Lake is on part of a plantation owned by Civil War Col. Robert A. Alston, whose home, known as Meadow Nook, still stands across from the East Lake Golf Course. This antebellum home was built in 1856 for his South Carolina bride, and was occupied, but not destroyed, during the American Civil War. It is the second oldest home in Atlanta, and one of the few that Union General William T. Sherman and his troops did not burn.
In 1892, the East Lake Land Company was chartered and land was acquired and divided up into lots. A.C. Bruce was president of the East Lake Land Company and was instrumental in getting a street car line built down East Lake Drive, which started running cars every 20 minutes in 1893. This helped to increase the demand for the lots, many of which were being bought by Atlantans to build country homes to escape the city during the summer months.
The Atlanta Athletic Club began looking for land to build a country location, and in 1908, East Lake Country Club opened. Although there was a golf course, golf was not the primary recreation at that time. East Lake was the site of an amusement park with swimming pool, hot dog stands, penny arcades and even had a steamboat on the lake. The lake was an excellent spot for fishing and boating.
East Lake was incorporated as a town in 1908, with Thomas Paine as the first mayor.
In 1909, an auto road was constructed from Ponce de Leon Avenue to the gates of East Lake Country Club, making East Lake even more accessible. By 1916, a $10,000 school building had been erected on Fourth Avenue, making East Lake the perfect suburban neighborhood. According to an Atlanta Journal Constitution article in May, 1916, demand for East Lake homes was "almost to boom proportions".
In 1928, East Lake was annexed into the City of Atlanta.
Many famous people have been forefront in East Lake's history, including Asa Candler, golfers Bobby Jones and Alexa Stirling, and Johnny Weissmuller, winner of 5 Olympic gold medals and the first movie Tarzan, who swam at East Lake.
Civil Rights activist Hosea Williams was a resident of East Lake.
Sparked by young urbanites eager to renovate the charming homes and revitalize the area, East Lake is quickly becoming a very desirable Atlanta neighborhood.
The Charlie Yates Golf Course is adjacent to the East Lake Golf Club and is open to the public. It was designed by Rees Jones in 1998.
East Lake residents are zoned to Atlanta Public Schools (APS).
Charles R. Drew Charter School is a local APS-affiliated charter school.