Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta: Beginnings
In 2002, as part of the celebration of 90 years of Girl Scouting, the former Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia [now part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta] published a council history, intended to “inspire the reader to lead Girl Scouting to even greater heights in the future.” [Thomas, Mary Booth. The Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia, Inc.: A History of Service. Atlanta: Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia, Inc., 2002]
As soon as the Atlanta Girl Scout Council was organized in 1921, Girl Scouting grew by leaps and bounds. Within a year, the council had grown from five troops to 27 troops with a membership of 562 registered Girl Scouts. All of the troops were organized at the request of the girls themselves.
In 1915, the first Girl Scout troop in Atlanta was organized at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, then in suburban Atlanta [now in the Piedmont Heights neighborhood of Atlanta between Monroe Drive and Cheshire Bridge Road]. The troop of 18 girls was led by the pastor’s wife Mrs. A. Linton Johnson who organized the South’s second Girl Scout Camp in 1915. The troop disbanded when Mrs. Johnson left Atlanta after her husband enlisted as a U.S. Army chaplain at the beginning of World War I.
By the time the Atlanta Council was founded in 1921, there were five troops in the city: at Fort McPherson, Girls High School, North Avenue Presbyterian School (Bolton, GA), and St. Luke’s Church. They were “lone” troops with no connection with one another. They conducted their program through correspondence with national headquarters, then in Washington, DC.
The Atlanta Girl Scout Council began on the morning of July 12, 1921 at 611 Peachtree Street, home of Mrs. Albert Thornton, who called together a group of women to organize Girl Scouting in the Atlanta area. The group elected officers and made a formal application to the national council for a charter. The original council included Fulton and DeKalb counties. The charter was granted on August 5, 1921 and signed by Juliette Gordon Low herself.
[The home is no longer there, but is close to the current site of North Avenue Presbyterian Church. The church is also the creator of the North Avenue Presbyterian Schools, now renamed The Westminster Schools of Atlanta.]