Two local farms, J.C. Dunn Properties at Cobbham and Alexandria Establishment, both owned by William Dunn Wansley, were among 10 farms to be recognized Oct. 3 by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and other organizations at the Georgia National Fair in Perry.
This is the first time in the history of the Georgia Centennial Farm Program that two farms owned by the same person have been recognized. Before, only one farm had been recognized in Columbia County and only one in McDuffie County.
A statement from the Historic Preservation Division said: "Because self-sustaining farms were the very basis our state was founded upon, our farms have written much of Georgia's history and continue to be a major factor in our state's economic growth.
"Georgia's Centennial Farm Program was developed in 1992 to distinguish those farms and farm families who have contributed to preserving Georgia's agricultural resources and to encourage the continued use of these farms for future generations. By honoring centennial farms, our goal is to not only promote agricultural awareness, but to gain a deeper understanding of our state's unique agricultural heritage."
J.C. Dunn Properties at Cobbham received a Centennial Family Farm Award, which honors farms that have continuous ownership by one family for at least 100 years. J.C. Dunn Properties, which is in both Columbia and McDuffie counties, has been owned by the same family for nearly 150 years.
In 1860, Dr. William Anderson Dunn bought a plantation that forms the core property of the family farm. Born in 1821 in Columbia County, Dunn graduated from the University of Georgia in 1844 and from America's first medical school, the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, in 1847.
Dunn's direct descendents, who have owned the property and adjoining land, are Judge J.C. Dunn, Louise Dunn Gibson, Louise Dunn Gibson Wansley, and now, William Dunn Wansley, the eighth generation to live in the area.
Wansley, the president and CEO of J.C. Dunn Properties, lives at Cobbham with his wife, Stevi, and their 2-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Louise Wansley, the owner's mother, established the family farm as a certified tree farm in 1961, growing timber where primarily cotton and corn were once grown.
In 2007, William Wansley permanently protected a significant portion of the farm from future development through the donation of a conservation easement to the CSRA Land Trust.
Alexandria Establishment received a Centennial Farm Award, which honors farms that are at least a century old and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The house, Alexandria, is the oldest surviving documented brick house in Georgia and is the keystone house of the Thomas Carr National Historic District, which was established in 1975 as the first rural historic district in the state.
The land has been farmed since before the construction of Alexandria, which was started in 1803 by Col. Thomas Carr. Alexandria Establishment is made up of forestland and open meadows.
Trees, including oaks, hickories, poplar, longleaf pines and loblolly pines, are being grown at Alexandria Establishment. This year, the National Wildlife Federation designated this property as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and the American Forest Foundation named it as a Georgia Forested Flyways Wildlife Conservation Area.
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