Birds chirping, water rippling and wildlife scurrying about: all sounds that overwhelm your ears as soon as you step onto the property of Lockerly. Entering this arboretum feels like you’re leaving Milledgeville and entering into a tranquil paradise. Lockerly is one of the best kept secrets of Milledgeville, but is definitely not a place that needs to be passed by.
Celebrating fifty years of serving the community as a public garden and also an educational place for children and adults, Lockerly Arboretum is a hot spot in the Milledgeville community. Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds at their leisure. Gravel paths, wooden bridges and plant markers allow for self-paced, educational afternoon. The Lockerly Arboretum foundation was funded in 1965 by Mr. EJ Grassmann, and started off as 23 acres of land. In 1999, Col. and Mrs. Oliver Worley donated an additional 193 acres of land in Putnam Co. to the arboretum, which was developed into a nature center. Currently, the Oliver N. Worley Outdoor Education Center is used for Boy Scout programs, educational programs throughout the year and the annual summer camp program. Every first and third Wednesday of the month, year-round, volunteers are encouraged to help work in the gardens and learn more about what this expansive property has to offer. The Arboretum and area surrounding has 50 acres of walking trails, a pond and gardens galore. ISA Certified Aborist, Jana Otis, works as the Horticulture director and helps with everything from landscaping to identifying and recording plants. She leads gardening programs to the public year-round and is available to answer questions about the grounds at any time.
Another boast worth factor of this beautiful arboretum is Rose Hill. The original estate was built on the property in 1839 by Richard Nichols. Nichols a native of the area, a merchant, and a prominent citizen and built the home for his family. The name Rose Hill was chosen because of the abundance of Cherokee Roses that grew on the site. Nichols died in 1849 and his estate was meticulously inventoried.
Daniel R. Tucker grew up in nearby Deepstep, in Washington County. He moved to the Midway community, the area between Scottsboro and Milledgeville, about 1830, and married Martha Goode, who also grew up in Washington County. In 1850 Tucker was one of the appraisers of R.J. Nichols’ estate. In January, 1851, he purchased the home known as Rose Hill from Nichols’ estate. In February of that year Tucker’s recently purchased house was “entirely consumed” by fire. Tucker built a new home in Greek Revival style on the site in 1852. Tucker’s house is recorded in deed records on March 8, 1853, and is still known today as Rose Hill. After Tucker’s death in 1879, the property passed through several hands and was the home of the Hollinshed family until 1928, when it was purchased by Reginald R. Hatcher.
Rose Hill has just recently been placed on the Georgia Registrar of Historic Places, with hopes of soon being placed on the National Registrar of Historic Places. Famous for its photographic gardens surrounding, it’s not unlikely that you’ll catch wedding parties, families or models taking photos around this estate. Guided tours of the estate are available during normal operating hours, and cost $3.00 for adults, $1.00 for children and students, and $12 for families of four. The Milledgeville CVB also offers Rose Hill as one of the spots in our daily trolley tour. For more information, times of operation and trolley tour times and costs, click here.
So what are you waiting for? Go explore this beautiful hideaway and share your photos and memories with us using #summerinmilly!