The Williams-Payne House

In keeping with the sense of civic-mindedness shared by the members of the club, the SSGC president approached the Portman-Barry Developers in 1984 about obtaining an old house near the present intersection of Mount Vernon Highway and GA 400. The garden club wanted to convert the house into a Community Garden Center and meeting rooms, as well as a permanent home for the Fulton County Federation of Garden Clubs. The club members raised $35,000 dollars for the project, and Portman-Barry agreed to gift the house to the county and also pledged $15,000 to cover the cost to move the farm house to the new location. The land around the springs for which Sandy Springs was named had been acquired by Fulton County, and this became the perfect setting for the historic house. It was moved to the area near the springs on October 9, 1985. The areas around the house were planted in keeping with its historical background, and the park grounds continue to be maintained by members of the garden club and others. Research soon confirmed that this suburban cottage was in fact a remodeled farmhouse, circa 1869, one of eight known 19th-century structures remaining in the Sandy Springs area.

Walter Jerome Williams and Harriet Austin Williams, his second wife, lived in the farmhouse from 1894 to 1936 when both died. Mr. Williams' first wife was named Susan, and this couple filled the house with their six children. Research indicates that Jerome Williams and his first family lived on this land and in this same house, establishing its original date of construction about 1869.

Major and Marie Payne bought the farmhouse in 1939. They moved it back eight feet from the newly-widened Mt. Vernon Highway and completely remodeled it. The Payne's sold the house and land to Portman-Barry for commercial development in 1982.

The Sandy Springs Garden Club leadership soon realized that their house-moving project would have to be a community effort. The search for a chairman led to Frances Glenn Mayson, a member of the garden club, and her husband Joey. Frances Glenn's mother was a founding member of the Sandy Springs Garden Club and served several terms as president. Frances and Joey Mayson had finished the renovation of the 1929 Glenn home, Glenridge Hall, and they were well-known in the area for their interest in preserving historic structures. They accepted the challenge, and soon the farm house was moved and efforts began to ready the house for use. Joey Mayson headed up an organizational meeting of interested citizens in January 1985 to create a community group to oversee the development of the house and other possible historic sites. Officers were elected and the Sandy Springs Historic Community Foundation was formed -now known as Heritage Sandy Springs.The historic farmhouse is located at 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs, GA 30330, Telephone: 404-851-9101.

Picture of the Williams-Payne House

The historic farmhouse offers a museum open to visitors; special showings of historical arts and crafts; meeting room for small groups; activities for children and young people; historical gardens and walks; holiday events; and a gazebo available for special events such as weddings and family reunions.