Beech Haven is a historic family estate and summer retreat first purchased by Charles A. Rowland II over 100 years ago. Beech Haven is now surrounded by suburban and commercial development but remains a secluded natural sanctuary, essentially unchanged since the 1930s, convenient to thousands of Athens-Clarke County (A-CC) residents.
The property 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 green space acquisition funding, added more land. Approximately 90 acres, including the Arts and Crafts summer house, is now held by Athens-Clarke County’s green space program and greenway network.
In 2014-2015, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation raised over $60,000 that was used to repair and stabilize the extremely historic and significant 100 year-old summer house and stone camelback bridge. 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.
Now, ACHF is working to partner with Athens-Clarke County to plan for the future use of this property and to continue to support the preservation, protection and documentation of Beech Haven as an important historic and natural retreat for the benefit of the public.