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We’d outgrown an Inman Park condo and couldn’t afford a bigger place in that neighborhood.In Kirkwood, though, we found a 2,400-square-foot home that was twice the size of our condo, solidly within our budget, and squarely in the middle of a vibrant, diverse, and walkable community .Anna watched over her beloved Warren Street like a one-woman police force and benevolent monarch.Her kids say she liked to cut loose during Saturday night parties, watching children imitate James Brown on the living room floors she kept gleaming like mirrors, her eyes peeled for mischief outside. “It’s another girl.” Our second child had just been born, and I joked about being outnumbered by women.
The truth is that I, like many, had also been part of Atlanta’s ongoing cycle of displacement, though it left my family in more a state of discomfort than dire need.Her feebleness kept her inside, and I never took the initiative to walk next door and chat. The moving truck showed up a few nights before Christmas. Across the fence, she wept while recalling her wedding in the backyard, her mom’s glorious rose bushes, and how her dad used to drink coffee in his shed—his sanctuary—all year long.One day as I was rushing to an appointment, she was sitting outside in her wheelchair. And then she mentioned, for the first time, that my land—a lot that used to belong to Anna and her husband—had once been a bountiful urban farm.In a neighborhood derided as “Crackwood” just a few years ago, demand is so strong that one in three Kirkwood properties sold for asking price or more in the third quarter of 2015.Compare that with the late 1990s, when urban pioneers could snatch a Kirkwood house for ,500.