The Dunwoody Nature Center held a special 90th birthday party Tuesday for Ross Lane, who once owned the home that now houses the Dunwoody Nature Center.
Mr. Lane said he is proud of what the Dunwoody Nature Center has become but admits it wasn’t easy to sell the property in 1974. That was the year DeKalb County approached Mr. Lane with plans to buy his home and land for a park through eminent domain, which gives government the power to take private property for public use by offering fair market value.
Mr. Lane moved to the home in 1962 with his wife and two children. They had a third child while living there and stayed for 12 years. The paneling is the same as when he lived in the home, and the master bedroom is now the office of Executive Director Michael Cowan, who recently had a chance to walk the property with Mr. Lane.
“However reluctant that initial ‘donation’ by eminent domain was, we know he’s looking forward to celebrating his part in preserving our little slice of nature in Dunwoody,” Cowan said.
The home was built by a previous owner in 1946. Many parts of the home and property have changed since then, but Mr. Lane was glad to see his “thinking rock” on the creek is still there.
DeKalb County owned the property until 2011, when the City of Dunwoody took over the deed as part of a parks ownership agreement.