Not far from “downtown” Sandy Springs (that cluster of shopping centers where the recently formed city is working to create a town center) lie over 70 acres of private greenspace that are currently for sale and in the middle of the northern portion lies the exquisite, serene, Glenridge Hall.
I need not tell any metro-Atlantan that property at the intersection of 400 and Abernathy Rd is a prime real estate in the corporate world, in fact UPS and Newell Rubbermaid headquarters sit on former Glenn family (now Mayson) property adjacent to the acreage now for sale.
TK GLENN, the builder
Thomas Kearney (TK) Glenn was one of those bootstrap fellows like so many early Atlantans such as Asa Griggs Candler, Amos Rhodes, and Joel Hurt. From Vernon, Mississippi, he came to Atlanta in 1887 and before you knew it he had his fingers in half the pots in the city, from the nascent Atlanta Consolidated Street Railway Co (later Georgia Power) to aiding the development of Atlantic Steel, Grady Hospital, and Sun Trust Bank. (read more about him in relation to the Glenn Building on Marietta)
In 1915 TK Glenn purchased 400 acres for a farm and upon marrying his second wife, in 1927, built Glenridge Hall on the property, which was completed in 1929. It was an English Tudor Revival manor house for an English country estate, just north of Atlanta.
In the 1980s, Frances Glenn and Joey Mayson expressed their desire to restore Glenridge Hall for “preservation beyond our own lifetime and into perpetuity.” They were spurred by the sale of a huge portion (around 150 acres) of the property to developers, which would become office parks and Ga-400.
They enlisted the help of preservationists and the community of Sandy Springs rallied behind them. Glenridge Hall was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and the restoration was completed to the trumpet call of local papers and earned accolades from The Georgia Trust.
Unfortunately Frances (granddaughter of TK Glenn) died of complications in childbirth in 1987. Joey Mayson continued to care for and restore the property as a memorial to her while he lived there with his daughter, Caroline. It is touching to read the correspondence and clippings of that era that are contained in the National Register file at the State Historic Preservation Office.
He fought hard to keep encroaching development at bay though in the end, offices towers for UPS, Kaiser Permanente, Rubbermaid and others rose on the eastern flank of the property. The house though, through Mr. Mayson’s efforts remained secluded in the midst of a thickly forested 37-acre parcel north of Abernathy Rd. As for it’s service to the public and the community, while the grandest ideals he and his wife shared in the 1980s were never fully realized (public access, and a tie-in to Marta for starters it sounds like), Glenridge Hall has served the community over the years, hosting balls, fundraisers and other charitable events at little or no cost to the charity.
But times change, and people come and go. Ideals are forgotten and unfortunately Mr. Mayson never had Glenridge Hall placed in that land trust he dreamed of when he saw the first office towers rising. Today the family, with the almost exclusive aid of their financial manager Mike Rabalais, are selling the remainder of the property, some 76 acres in total, including Glenridge Hall, and no protections are in place.
Would a corporation see the value in this pristine property? enough to stay the hand of execution (of forest and hall) and let the property continue to serve this world? It is possible, but unlikely in the booming bustling office-park road-happy Atlanta.
The people of Sandy Springs should be raising a ruckus!
but only a handful seem to be aware of it at all.
The preservation of this beautiful property along with some land conservation could be an exceptional boon to the city. There are 76 acres at stake! Surely there is room in there for everyone to be happy.