The Garden Center's two-story Victorian home was built by the Newton House family between 1850 and 1852. It was constructed with hand-made square nails and wooden pegs. Fireplaces were built in every room to provide warmth and each room was underpinned with twenty-inch rock ensuring a solid structure against the elements.
The subsequent owner, Mrs. Myers, along with her children traveled to Marietta from Savannah after her husband's death in 1876 from yellow fever. (Dr. Myers was President of Wesleyan College from 1871 to 1874 and later located in Savannah to aid the sick and dying.) The family believed Marietta would be far enough away from Savannah to be out of the scourge zone.
It was Mrs. Myers who named the home "Fair Oaks" because of the two oak trees that once flanked the front steps. (The trees have since died and been cleared from the property.) Dr. Squires and family followed by Jesse Fowler's family were subsequent proprietors whom lived in the home for many years.
The last owners prior to deeding of the property to the Marietta Council of Garden Clubs were Clara and Howard Benson, along with their sons, Dr. Earl and Dr. W.H. Benson. The Benson's resided in the home for forty-three years (1919-1962). The house sat empty from 1962 to 1966.
In 1954, The Marietta Council of Garden Clubs began searching for a suitable location where members of the then twenty-two garden clubs of Marietta could convene on a regular basis. After twelve years of intense effort, partnerships and dedication, this dream became a reality.
In 1966, Anne Cannon, Garden Center Chairman, suggested to Mrs. Clara Benson that her vacated home on Kennesaw Avenue would be an ideal place for a Garden Center if only the money were available for its purchase. Vacant for four years and quite rundown as well as vandalized, this once beautiful and vibrant historic home now looked desolate and abandoned. The Benson family, not wanting the continued dilapidation decided to donate the home and its surrounding 3.5 acres to the Marietta Council of Garden Clubs, Inc. The home was officially offered in fee simple on November 4, 1966.
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