By most accounts, Margaret “Peggy" Miles was a determined woman when she made up her mind to do something.
An example, harkens back to 2006 when Cheryl Barlow and Trisha Thompson visited Miles at her home tucked away on a 26-acre wooded tract of land at Dalrymple and Brandon Mill Roads.
“We were sitting on the porch” Barlow said. Peggy held her three-month-old while Barlow’s toddler played in the leaves below.
“She said, ‘I really don’t think I want this place to ever change. I want it to stay the way it is and I want everyone to be able to enjoy it, and especially children,’ “Barlow recalled.
Peggy Miles wish for her property, known as Lost Corner, is coming true. She died at age 86 in 2008, and had arranged for her property to be acquired for the City of Sandy Springs. Earlier this month City Council agreed to acquire the final two acres of land for $10,000.
The tranquil property, so close and yet so far away from hurried motorists along Dalrymple Road, is another reminder of the wooded gems that make up Sandy Springs.
“Her father referred to it is as Lost Corner because people couldn’t find their way out here,” Thompson said. “This entire place has got a very special feeling.”
She and Barlow formed Friends of Lost Corner, a 501c3, to make the property a preserve for the community.
The two spent many afternoons with Miles over the years. “We’d come over and sit on her porch and just chat with her,” Barlow said.
Miles was born and died on Lost Corner. Her father sold electricity for Morgan Falls Dam, Barlow said. As a child, Miles would walk from Lost Corner to a schoolhouse where the Morgan Falls ballpark is now located, she added.
Miles never married or had children. She retired as a researcher for the Veteran’s Administration and was one of the longest serving members of Dunwoody United Methodist Church.
“She was an extremely learned person. Very educated. She knew all the Latin names of these plants,” Thompson said.
As do, Barlow and Thompson. They can name practically all of the sprawling trees, plants and wildlife on the property.
“This is actually a preserve for the wildlife and for the plant species here,” Thompson said.
Public use of the property will be rolled out in stages. Plans to open a community garden are tentatively set for spring 2013.
After Miles decided to donate her land, she had ongoing conversations with the Sandy Springs Conservancy, who brought in the Trust for Public Land to hold a deed to the property when it was purchased for city use. Plans were made to raise money to purchase 24 of the 26 acres, to provide a life estate for Miles.
At total of $833,334 was raised to acquire the property. Barlow said the funding came from the City of Sandy Springs, which contributed $416,000 and a Georgia Land Conservation Program grant of $250,000. The Trust for Public Land, Sandy Springs Conservancy, and Friends of Lost Corner with the help of Ralph Daniels with Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe’s office raised $167,334.
“Sadly she passed way shortly after the deed was transferred to the Trust for Public Land temporarily,” said Linda Bain, executive director for the Sandy Springs Conservancy.
Barlow and Thompson say they are excited about children discovering Lost Corner.
“We want to make it accessible for children because we have a population in Sandy Springs that doesn’t have an opportunity to explore the woods,” Barlow said.