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Historic Johns Homestead Gets Some Attention

Close to 100 volunteers spent last Saturday fixing the old homestead and cleaning up the surrounding property.

The Tucker community came out in full force last weekend to support the revitalization of historic Johns Homestead Park.

DeKalb County’s Natural Resources Management Office brought heavy equipment, and Friends of Johns Homestead, Tucker Civic Association, and Tucker Historical Society brought volunteers and tools.

The 50 acre park, which includes the historic 1828 homestead and Twin Brothers Lakes nature preserve, now falls in Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton's District Four. She was given a tour of the homestead itself on Saturday, and the surrounding land and out-buildings.

“It’s amazing to see a structure still standing from that era, right on Lawrenceville Highway,” Commissioner Sutton said, “It’s a valuable piece of our history, and needs to be preserved. I really like what you guys are doing here.”

None of this would be possible without the help of our sponsors and supporters. Rehoboth Baptist Church let us use their parking lot and brought volunteers, coffee and homemade sweets to the cleanup.

Two different Sherwin-Williams stores, one on Bancroft Circle in Tucker and the other on North Druid Hills Road in Decatur, donated exterior paint and painting supplies for the Homestead itself.

Sams Club on Mountain Industrial Boulevard and Kroger on LaVista Road both supplied us breakfast treats to keep us all going.

The Tucker High School Beta Club brought in close to 60 kids to help with the cleanup, removing massive amounts of Chinese privet, an invasive plant that’s all around the homestead. County staff used a chipper to turn the privet into mulch to be used at a later cleanup.

The homestead itself was cleared out and swept, weeds and debris removed from the edge and then a fresh coat of gray paint was used to even out the exterior color.

Commissioner Sutton felt strongly that the community’s involvement is vital to the future of the park itself.

“I would like to hear what the community thinks and make sure it’s what people want,” Sutton said. “It’s all fairly new to me, but the future plans seem fantastic. It’d be great to restore the home for tours, but keep the rest close to its natural state…we have to be very careful to protect our green space.”

The 50-acre Tucker park has two lakes and wetlands teeming with wildlife. The lakes were originally built sixty years ago as a pay fishing lake, and about seven years ago DeKalb County bought up the property all around the old Johns Homestead with the intention of establishing a nature preserve, hiking trails, and county historic education center.

Dave Butler with the Natural Resources Management Office held a public Community Meeting about the future of Johns Homestead last month. Over 100 people attended with thoughts and ideas on what to do with the land and house. Dam reconstruction is happening first, before any park development.

“With the plans for the dam renovations and trail construction moving forward and a lot of interest generated in the work at the homestead, we have a lot going on that will take most of our time and energy,” said Butler.

Commissioner Sutton added, “we’ll be creative, and this is a priority for the district now. I give the project full support, as much as I’m able to be involved and support, I’m happy to do that. I’m excited Johns Homestead is here in my district and I want it to be preserved.”

Commissioner Sutton also toured the Twin Brothers Lakes Nature Preserve area.

“It’s like a painting, it’s that beautiful here,” Sutton said, addressing the picturesque lakes and fall colors.

Please email friendsoftuckerparks@gmail.com if you’re interested in helping the Friends of Johns Homestead group.

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Cat Conceirge November 23, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Can you tell me what the guy was doing tilling up that lovely old tree's roots? Is it to be taken down?
Debbie Namer November 26, 2012 at 08:19 PM
The man doing the tilling was not tilling up any of that wonderful old tree's roots! That video did not show you the mound of dirt & limbs that had been dumped there! It was about 4 feet high & the gentleman was tilling it down to be raked out and leveled. The branches you are seeing are from the dumping, not the existing tree! He worked very hard on that spot & his hard work is very appreciated!! Thank you for your comment & looking out for our beautiful old trees! And to answer your question, no, the tree is not to be taken down : )
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