Dunwoody, GA, March 8, 2023 – Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) is announcing an exciting piece of public art that is coming to the Dunwoody community this spring— a 19-foot-long sculpture of our city’s history that has been carved in relief from the trunk of a 100-year-old red oak tree. Sculpted by Chamblee, GA artist Tom Williams, The Dunwoody Diorama, will depict the history of the Dunwoody area from 8,000 B.C. to the present day and will be used as an educational tool for DPT’s visitors and the community at large. 


Long-time Dunwoody residents Jim and Melanie Williams, past presidents of DPT, have led the concept and funding of this project since its unexpected start in 2018. That year, during the rehabilitation of the Donaldson-Bannister Farm, it was discovered that one of the property’s red oak trees had died. The City of Dunwoody (which owns the Donaldson-Bannister Farm) removed the top of the tree, leaving a standing 20-foot trunk.  Initially, the plan was to carve the upright trunk in place, but after an arborist’s inspection and boring, it was determined that the tree was not stable enough and had to be cut down.  Sculptor Williams advised DPT to have the trunk cut into thick slabs which could be cured and used to create a linear carving.


In January 2020 the tree was removed, taken away and cut into slabs to dry outdoors until it was time for the drying kiln. The pandemic slowed the process considerably; however, it allowed time to prepare the conceptual sketch for The Dunwoody Diorama.  The sketch went through multiple iterations as it was reviewed by historians, local non-profits, the City of Dunwoody, and others with expertise. The final sketch was approved in early 2022 and carving began a few months later in August.


When completed, The Dunwoody Diorama will be mounted under the side porch roof of the newer barn at the Donaldson-Bannister Farm, facing Chamblee Dunwoody Road.  It will be lighted, secured and will measure approximately 19’L x 3’H.  It will be available for viewing by the public during the park hours of 7AM until sundown. Self-guided tours will be available via QR codes and brochures as well as pre-scheduled DPT-guided tours.  Several children’s books will be published in the next year about various elements of The Dunwoody Diorama to pique their interest in history, along with the use of augmented reality software to bring parts of the sculpture to life.


Dunwoody Preservation Trust is working on plans for a regional history museum to be located in Dunwoody and hopes to use The Dunwoody Diorama as a foundation of that endeavor.  “This extraordinary and unique work of art will be an important educational tool and will be enjoyed by all for generations,” said Jim and Melanie Williams.


The Dunwoody Diorama is being funded privately with the generous donations of many members of our community and some of our local non-profits.  If you would like to make a tax- deductible donation for The Dunwoody Diorama, large or small, please contact Noelle Ross, Executive Director of DPT, at 770-668-0401, email to noelle@dunwoodypt.org, or visit https://dunwoodypreservationtrust.org/dunwoody-diorama/ and follow the links to donate.



About DPT: Founded in 1995, the Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to the preservation of the history, heritage and quality of life of the Dunwoody community. A non-profit organization, the DPT owns and manages the circa 1906 Cheek-Spruill House, Dunwoody’s signature building at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody roads. DPT also operates and manages the circa 1870 Donaldson-Bannister Farm, a special events venue and public park owned by the City of Dunwoody. More information is at https://dunwoodypreservationtrust.org.