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Past Tense

Opinion: The Miles family of Lost Corner Preserve

Lost Corner Preserve

The old home place at Lost Corner Preserve, built by the Miles family in 1915, stands to this day at Dalrymple Road and Brandon Mill Road.

The home and property known today as Lost Corner Preserve at Dalrymple Road and Brandon Mill Road was previously owned by the Miles family. Margaret (Peggy) Miles shared the story of her family’s move to Sandy Springs and life on the property in “The Story of Dunwoody,” by Ethel W. Spruill and Elizabeth L. Davis.

Nancy Hill Miles and Fred Harrison Miles were feeling crowded in their neighborhood near Atlanta and wanted to move to the country. They purchased a farm from the McMurtrey family in north Fulton County in Sandy Springs.

Nancy and Fred, along with 7-year-old Edward and 5-year-old Alice (called Totsey), moved in April of 1915. Fred Miles, Jr. was born in 1916, Peggy in 1922, and Henry in 1929.

On the day of the move, Fred Miles worked half a day at his downtown job with Georgia Power, then rode the streetcar to meet his family in Buckhead. The family brought their possessions, including chickens, in a wagon pulled by a mule. They also brought their cow Betsy and her calf who walked behind the wagon. Betsy “had no time to chew her cud and meditate that day” as the family continued down Roswell Road.

When they arrived at their farm, they found a log home consisting of one large room, two lean-tos and a chimney made of red mud and sticks. By fall of 1915, a new home had been built on top of the old foundation.

Their neighbors included the Mayfields, who lived east on Dalrymple Road. They were descendants of John Dalrymple. Janice Self and her son James also lived on part of the old Dalrymple farm.

Another neighbor was Granny Mack McMurtrey and her granddaughter, part of the family that originally owned the Miles property. Granny Mack remembered the Creek and Cherokee living along the Chattahoochee River and across the creek behind the Dalrymple Place.

Fred Miles and Hugh Spalding brought electricity to the farm with a line from the power plant at Morgan Falls. Spalding also ran a line to his summer home on the river.

The children walked 3 miles through the woods to Morgan Falls School along Roswell Road. Camp meeting services at Sandy Springs Methodist Church were attended by the family. Later they became members of Dunwoody Methodist Church. They were instrumental in the organization of Sunday School programs at Dunwoody Methodist, and Edward Miles hand crafted furniture for the chapel.

The farm became known as Lost Corner because people who came from the city seldom found it on their first try.

Peggy Miles was living in the family home when she died in 2008. She had already made plans for the home and property to be preserved, and today Lost Corner Preserve is a Sandy Springs Park. The home place sits among nature trails and a community garden. The support of Friends of Lost Corner provides funding, community engagement, programming and volunteers.

As Nancy Miles grew older, Peggy recalled that her mother would remind her each year, “when the whippoorwill calls and the oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, it’s time to plant the corn and pay the taxes.”

You can email Valerie at or visit her website at