The History of McFarlane Nature Park

The first project of The Cobb Land Trust was the establishment of the McFarlane Nature Park, an 11.5-acre site in east Cobb County.

the history of mcfarlane nature park

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The McFarlanes

Florence McFarlane died in October 1990. She and her husband, William, had purchased the property in 1958. Both had their ashes scattered there when they died. During their lives, they boarded polo ponies and raised lineage dogs. In Florence's will, she stated that the property should be kept in a natural state and used as a neighborhood green space, maintaining the serenity of the property.

McFarlane Nature Park Spalding Family Photo
Hughes Spalding McFarlane Nature Park

The Cobb Land Trust

The Cobb Land Trust came to hold the property in 1992 and became responsible for protecting the land which was named McFarlane Nature Park.

The McFarlane Nature Park property and home

The property and home have connections to many family names well known in the development of the metro Atlanta area. The farm was the centerpiece of extensive agricultural acreage owned by the late Atlanta attorney Hughes Spalding Sr. The property adjoined farmland of noted attorney and Judge John A. Sibley.

After Florence's death, there were several years before legalities were resolved. During this time the house and property fell into a state of disrepair. Thousands of contributed dollars and hours were required to make the house habitable and the grounds attractive again. Neighbors and friends cut ivy off the house and repaired plumbing. Buildings were cleaned and painted. Overgrown plants were pruned or removed. Individuals and organizations have come forward to handle the task.

the mcfarlane nature park home
Spalding commissioned the design of the house in 1941 for his farm manager Floyd Spruill. The architect he chose was Henry Toombs, who also designed the Little White House in Warm Springs, GA for President Roosevelt. The house has chimneys on either end made of stone from the Sope Creek quarry and a slate roof moved from the Spalding's home called Deerland which stood where Piedmont Hospital now is in Midtown Atlanta.

The Chattahoochee Plantation Community Association

The local Chattahoochee Plantation Community Association donated funding for the initial expensive and extensive repairs required and has remained the primary contributing organization. Workdays were scheduled during which adjacent homeowners came to accomplish the work required. A slate sidewalk was uncovered leading to the front door.

Chattahoochee Plantation Women's Club

The Chattahoochee Plantation Women's Club has been a major supporter of the park, providing funds for the construction of a permanent restroom facility, and most recently adopting McFarlane as their charity in both 2009 and 2010, raising funds for the restoration of the original stable. In 2013, the club held a major fund raiser, Art For The Park, featuring over 40 fine artists in a two day sale.

Boy Scout Troops

Boy Scouts from local Boy Scout Troops cut paths through the woods to neighboring residential areas and built pedestrian entrances and benches. They have continued to contribute to the park through Eagle Scout projects to enhance the property.