Though the city's name derives from a misspelling, Dunwoody honors Major Charles Dunwody, a Confederate solider. Though the city still depends on DeKalb County for some basic services, its recent incorporation in December 2008 has allowed residents more say in the area's growth and zoning.
One of Dunwoody's most historic buildings dates from 1829. The Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church, at the corner of Roberts Drive and Spalding Drive, is still active to this date and is also the home to one of the city's oldest cemeteries, where many the city's founding fathers rest.
In 1881, the Roswell Railroad opened and ran along what is now Chamblee-Dunwoody Road north to the Chattahoochee River. It operated for 40 years, and in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt made a campaign whistle stop in the city along his way to Roswell.