Sunday, November 4 at 2pm
Beech Haven is a hardwood forest bordered by the Middle Oconee River where it intersects the Atlanta Highway. Charles Rowland II and Effie Hampton Rowland purchased the property in 1909 from Thomas Epps, the father of Ben Epps, Georgia’s aviation pioneer. The Rowlands constructed an impressive Arts & Crafts house and landscape beginning in 1910 from found stone and timber milled on the property. Charles Rowland’s landscape was influenced by his 1914 trip through Asia as an observer for U.S. Presbyterian Missions, and includes Arts & Crafts influenced stone work, ponds, and the iconic camelback bridge. In 2005, Athens-Clarke County made its first purchase of riverfront property from Rowland descendants, and later, using grants and greenspace acquisition funding, added more land. Approximately 90 acres, including the Arts and Crafts summer house, is now held by Athens-Clarke County’s greenspace program and greenway network Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation began private fundraising in 2014 to preserve the 100 year-old house and other structures. The house and camelback bridge have been stabilized as restoration funding is being sought. Berry College and Beech Haven are considered the two best examples of the Arts and Crafts style in Georgia, and Beech Haven is considered to have national significance. This tour will last approximately two hours. Note: attendees must be able to walk up to two miles on unpaved paths. This tour will be rescheduled in the event of rain. There is no charge for this tour, although a suggested donation of $15 to ACHF is gratefully accepted for the continued stabilization of the home and structures.
Lucy Rowland is a Washington, D.C. native, but has spent most of her adult life in Athens. She is a member of the ACC Planning Commission and has participated nationally and internationally in organizations that promote quality architecture and compact urban design, including the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Council of European Urbanism. Rowland is a graduate of Leadership Athens and has held several positions at the University of Georgia: as a research microbiologist, as a department head for 30 years at UGA Libraries and the College of Veterinary Medicine, and as the volunteer director of the Louis T. Griffith Library at the Georgia Museum of Art from 2010-2015. She received the 2014 M. Smitty Griffith Award for Volunteer of the Year from the Georgia Museum of Art. She actively participated in the fundraising to stabilize the summer house and the camel back bridge and has served as the Rowland family’s historian of the many Beech Haven stories.
Nat Kuykendall and his wife Helen moved to Athens in 2008 after both had careers in park planning and conservation. Nat retired after 32 years with the National Park Service, beginning as a seasonal ranger in the early 1970s at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ending as chief of the Planning Division of the Denver Service Center, the NPS central office for planning and design. He is actively involved in conservation efforts in Athens, serves as chair of the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission for Athens-Clarke County and is on the board of the Oconee River Land Trust. Nat first saw Beech Haven in 2013 and was awed by the natural beauty and fascinating history of the place. For the past four years he has been collaborating with Lucy Rowland to lead tours of the site to raise public awareness of this special resource.
To register for the tour, go to “Athens Heritage Walks” via the order link below. To donate to the restoration fund, choose “Historic Beech Haven Fundraiser.”