History of D'Youville

A lovely piece of land lived on and loved by generations of Georgians, handed down to us and now a very special place to people in these parts. Find out for yourself. Walk a garden path. Touch a wildflower. Smell the season. Or ask the old folks to tell you about D'Youville.

For centuries the Creek Indians ruled this part of the country from Nancy Creek to the Chattahoochee and beyond. In the early 1800's the government acquired the Creek territory, divided it into counties, and opened the land for settlers. In 1824, the D'Youville property and much of the surrounding land was granted to John Barrette of Hall County. Little is known about John Barrette or his immediate successor, but both were homesteaders who farmed the land for several years, sold it at public auction and moved on.

In the 1880's William R. Wallace farmed most of its 1100 acres but cut a small portion of timber acreage for a saw mill. There he crafted the finest furniture in the region. One can still find traces of the old mill near where the dam stands today. Nancy Creek was a fast, flowing stream in those days, full of perch and catfish. The Wallace estate was divided among the seven children. John, the eldest, received the homestead site and held onto it until 1925 when Dr. Luther Fischer, a prominent physician and co-founder of Atlanta's Crawford W. Long Hospital, made him a handsome offer.

Dr. Fischer was married to a semi-invalid, a gentle woman known to everyone as 'Miss Lucy'. Dr. Fischer was devoted to her. It is said he planted the six acres of gardens and built the big house overlooking them entirely out of his love for her. They called their estate 'Flowerland' and it was extraordinary. Thousand of plant and flower varieties were imported from all over the world. The beauty of Miss Lucy's roses were known throughout the region. At the height of the rose season, the Fischers opened the gates to their little kingdom for literally hundreds of visitors.

With the death of Miss Lucy, the big house grew dark and the gardens were rained away. In time Dr. Fischer married again and the house was put up for sale. During World War II the Lee family fell in love with the place, purchased it and restored the big house and gardens. When the children had grown and Mrs. Lee was alone she fulfilled her dream of establishing a Catholic school for girls in the community. In 1957 she sold the property to the Catholic Church for a minimal sum. D'Youville Academy was established on the 48 acres and supervised by the Order of the Grey Nuns. Even as D'Youville was gaining recognition as a fine, private school, rising costs forced it to close its doors.

D'Youville was virtually untouched for almost three years. Cousins Properties purchased it in 1971 and after much study and consideration decided to build 141 town homes on the property as well as restore several acres of gardens and memories for all to enjoy.