Family plans to bring museum, park to historic Dougherty Co. farm
Plans are now underway for a new museum and park on Albany's east side.
The museum, located at Titus Stephens Historic Farm on South County Line Road, checked the next item off its to-do list Monday, when Dougherty County commissioners approved a rezoning application to clear the way for work to begin.
"I'm just excited for the future and what we can do for our property," said Beverly Barlow-Williams, one of the property's owners.
The land originally belonged to its namesake and Barlow-Williams' ancestor, Titus Stephens.
"He originally was a slave, and then he was one of the first freed men in this area to actually acquire land," Barlow-Williams said.
Stephens' land has now been designated as a Centennial Farm, one that has been owned by the same family, Barlow-Williams' family, for more than 100 years.
The family said it is one of just 13 African-American-owned Centennial Farms in Georgia and the only one in Dougherty County.
Now, they're ready to share this history with everyone else.
"We decided we definitely wanted to figure out a way that the land would remain in the family and the younger generation would be interested in participating and continuing the legacy," Barlow-Williams said.
The family plans to create a "living history farm museum" on the 99-acre site, complete with an amphitheater, campground, bed and breakfast and even a miniature golf course.
Neighbor Harry Meadows said he will be glad to see this come to life.
"This would be the only park on this side of the county, not just the town," he said. "We don't have anything on the east side of Albany."
Meadows lives less than a mile away from the farm, and he said there isn't much to do in the area.
"it was exciting for me to have a place to be able to bring my grandkids to have picnics and just to have them go and run and have some fun without having to go drive all the way across town," he said.
If they learn something along the way, even better.
"They can learn this history and appreciate their history and celebrate their history," Barlow-Williams said.
The farm will hold its groundbreaking ceremony on July 19, followed by a play in the amphitheater on July 21. Both are open to the public.