Dr. & Mrs. Chet Morse moved to this 7 acre site in 1946. The built their home and began clearing the wild vines which had covered it, but left most of the pine trees and began adding hemlocks, beech and magnolias as well as azaleas and rhododendron, hydrangeas, hostas and Japanese maples. Dr. Morse went to where they were building a dam just north of Atlanta and got plants that would have later been covered by the water. He also began his "camilla patch" and today it contains over 50 varieties, many of which he grafted himself. Last year the Morses and their children decided that, rather than the children inheriting and probably having to sell the property for development, they would give it to Decatur as permanent green space. For more info see my travelogue, "Woodlands."
THE WOODLANDS IS NOT YET OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AS IT IS STILL THE MORSE'S HOME. THERE ARE OCCASIONS WHEN IT IS OPEN SUCH AS GARDEN TOURS, ETC.
The County's Namesake
Decatur is the county seat of DeKalb County. This bust is tucked away at a lesser used end of the square and depicts Baron de Kalb whom one writer describes as having been a soldier of fortune. He volunteered to serve in the American Army and, after being commissioned as a major general in Paris, his commission was ratified by Congress and he served under Washington in the American Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He actually came to the colonies with a group of volunteer officers which included Lafayette. From what little I know, he was not terribly successful in his 2-3 year career and was killed in South Carolina after 11 wounds. He is regarded as something of a hero of the American Revolution and I suppose that is why our county was named after him.
- Historical Travel
Even I was surprised when I learned that our neighbor, Agnes Scott College, has a full-fledged observatory and in recent years has added a planetarium as well. The Bradley Observatory has open houses each month and the public is welcome. You can see a calendar, directions and other info on their website. Even if you don't go inside, the plaza in front of the observatory is amazing. It is shown in the photo and is an artistic representation of the solar system and our galaxy. It includes scale representations of the planets and their orbits. It measures 365.25 inches in diameter which corresponds to the number of days in the year. I think it is a wonderful sight.
- Arts and Culture
Oakhurst Community Garden Project
This project was formed by a grass-roots coalition of Decatur residents to preserve green space and give kids a chance to connect to the earth through engaging them in experiential learning and service of real importance.
Includes 1 1/2 acres of organic herb, vegetable and native plant gardens, restored woodland and wetland habitat and a stream. It is also home to a variety of domesticated farm animals such as goats, rabbits, chickens and honeybees.
It is located at the corner of McDonough and Oakview Drive in south Decatur.