Earlier this year I began sharing the history of each family who lived at Donaldson-Bannister Farm, beginning with the original owner William J. Donaldson, followed by Lois Pattillo Bannister and the Charles Roberts family. The fourth family to own the farm was Henry and Leila Harris Ogden, between the years 1946 and 1956.
During World War II, Henry, Leila and their children, Hank and Meredith, lived with Henry’s parents at 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, where Ponce de Leon meets Lullwater Road. This home still stands today as part of the Paideia School.
When the war ended, Henry Ogden wanted to find a farm and move to the country. He found that farm at the corner of Vermack Road and Chamblee Dunwoody Road. Leila Ogden was not as enthused about this new adventure.
The farm was known as Boxwood Farms at that time, a name that began with Lois Pattillo Bannister. She added a garden of boxwoods and peonies to the property, with a large brick wall and fountain at one end.
Henry Ogden was vice president of Atlanta Paper Company and Leila Harris Ogden, was daughter of Arthur I. Harris, president of Atlanta Paper Company. Leila Harris’ brother, Arthur L. Harris, would later become president of the company.
Hank Ogden and Meredith Ogden Conklin returned to the Dunwoody farm in 2018 to share their memories of growing up there. There were very few houses around when they lived at the farm. Hank Ogden says there were about six houses between their house and Chamblee.
Meredith and Hank both remember swimming in the pool built into the creek along Vermack Road. This is in the area where Vermack Swim and Tennis Club is located today. The pool was built by Lois Pattillo Bannister in the 1930s and included a changing house and picnic tables. They also remember a rock quarry being in the area just north of the swimming pool.
The property included 26 acres where they could roam and explore. The family kept horses, cows, chickens, pigs and a goat on the farm. They also had dogs and cats. Hank Ogden remembers riding in a wagon pulled by a goat. Meredith enjoyed exploring the farm and playing in the leaves and dirt.
Hank recalls taking the streetcar from Oglethorpe University to go downtown and see a movie with friends. They could catch a movie at the Fox, Rialto or Roxy Theatre, plus have popcorn and a Coca-Cola all for one dollar.
Hank and Meredith Ogden agree that they enjoyed their years on what would become known as Donaldson-Bannister Farm. When the family decided to move to Buckhead, they were both sad to leave their country home.