Historic Markers Across Georgia

Checkers Alley

Marker ID:  
Location: On the side of the building at 19 Jones Street, Norcross, GA.
County: Gwinnett
Coordinates: N 33° 56.540    W 084° 12.778
  33.942333    -84.212967
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: WM522H
Checkers Alley Marker  


On this site, through the early teens of the last century, there was an alley used to access businesses off of main street, including Arthur Maloney´s corn mill which was located in the area directly behind these buildings. It also led to one of the two public outhouses that flanked each end of South Peachtree Street.

In the early 1900´s local dry goods merchant Abe Johnson, who owned the ally and the building next door, and banker Gus McDaniel, frequently engaged in a sprinted game of checker in the ally. One day, a mule drawing a large wagon being driven by teenage Reps Miller became spooked and sprinted through the ally, knocking over the two checker playing combatants. Ole Abe was so incensed "with having to dodge wagons on his own property" that he enclosed the alley and built a building that became #19 Jones St. and was used as an annex to Johnson´s store. The closing of this narrow thoroughfare was met with stiff opposition from the public as they were forced to take a more circuitous route to seek access to needed facilities.

As time wore on, many townspeople laughed about the incident and called the alley by many graphic names including the most common and acceptable name of this blocked access "Checkers Alley".