Restoration of the Rock Garden at Jacqueland

Today I feel beyond grateful to see a project that I started working on with my grandmother back in the 90s, finally come to a finish.

                                              My grandmother posing in the rock garden 1928

The rock garden at Jacqueland, the home my great-grandfather and namesake, Cator Woolford, built in Atlanta, has been overgrown for decades and the fountain hasn't worked in my lifetime.  My grandmother, through my encouragement, paid for a new motor for the fountain back in 1990 but the gentleman who promised to install it moved suddenly, and there it sat for 20 years rusting away. 

Through the amazing diligence of the director of Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House (AHHH), Melissa Connor, the rock garden is once again an oasis at the home. 

Here is a video she just sent me explaining the renovation with an amusing time lapse of the construction. I am so thankful to Cooper Sanchez, head gardener at Oakland Cemetery and Jim Higgenbotham from The Atlanta Botanical Gardens for all of their hard work on this wonderful project. I can't wait to meet you both.

I visited the rock garden on my last trip to Atlanta and it was a moving moment to see something I have loved for so long finally be reborn. I assumed most of the stones that created the paths were new, but Melissa told me that they were just resting under all the dirt and weeds, ready to be tread on again.

The fountain originally sprayed upwards and had colored lights swirling underneath, a very 20s effect I think! My grandmother always told me the story that Mr. Cator never mentioned the lights in the fountain, so the first night it was working she looked out the window and screamed in terror. The gardens were awash in red and orange light and she assumed they were on fire. Mr. Cator laughed and explained his magical addition to the estate.

Today the lights are gone and the grand water spray was replaced with a quiet, calming, gurgling movement, more in keeping with the meditative purpose of the garden.

While this is a huge accomplishment, there is more work to be done to the house and property!
We are striving to raise $1 million to get the elevator working again, restore the wood paneling in the library and get the house all the attention it desperately needs to keep humming. So if you have any loose change, send it their way!

Here is another wonderful piece on the house that aired this week on the Atlanta's Channel 2 News.

Atlanta's best kept secret indeed.

Welcome to the Dollhouse Redux

As most of my friend and family know, my Great Grandfather's home is one of my favorite places. I grew up going there with my grandmother learning about my namesake and hearing her tales of living in the home in the 20's and 30's with fresh cut flowers from the 12 acres of gardens and the tea dances and debutant balls she enjoyed. Today it is home to the Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House (click on title for a link).

I have been passionate about keeping the house up since I was a teenager, raising money to replace windows and lending old pictures to decorate the house and to show restorers how the house originally looked.

About a year ago, the dollhouse that Mr. Cator built for his two daughters finally succumbed to termites. It is unimaginable how the little house built as a play place for two young girl's in the 1920's has stood this long since it was built with no foundation, just on the dirt. The little house (which I have a silver pattern from and several pieces of miniature furniture) was used as extra bedrooms for AHHH and was great for handicapped guests who couldn't climb the staircase in the main house.

After much fundraising and great donations from Home Depot the Dollhouse is being rebuilt bigger and better! Thanks to some pictures I sent them AHHH is trying to build it as close to the original as possible but of course they had to make it bigger for more rooms and an apartment for Kay who is the true heart of the house and has managed the place for years.

Looking forward to the opening hopefully in February!