Murphey Candler Park

Not far from where my grandmother lives just outside of Atlanta, there’s a public park with a lake that I have recently visited several times to go birding. On eBird, the park’s hotspot boasts one hundred and fifty-four species of birds, so it was a natural place for me to check out, especially given that the park’s lake might attract some water birds I haven’t seen yet.

In addition to the thirty-eight species I saw myself during three morning walks around the lake–several of which will become Bird of the Day photos over the following months–I also enjoyed the forest scenery in this suburban oasis, and got to see bunches of turtles (which I still haven’t taken the time to identify) and even a snake slipping through the reeds in a marshy area.

It was also fun to see these sewer covers painted like birds on the loop trail, and watch several families of ducklings forage in the shallow parts of the water surrounded by forest (videos to come). Here’s some history about the park, from its website:

Murphey Candler Park was originally planned in 1950 with the prospective donation of 100 acres of land by Mr. Fred Wilson and 35 acres by Mr. & Mrs. M. A. Long. The idea of the park was championed by the North DeKalb Planning Council (formerly the Brookhaven Planning Council) with the support of many area civic/service groups and religious/fraternal organizations. In 1952, DeKalb County acquired the 135 acres of real estate located between Ashford Dunwoody Road and Chamblee Dunwoody Road with the intention to build a park for the communities of North DeKalb. The sole commissioner for DeKalb County (serving 1939-1955) at that time was Scott Candler. At the request of Fred Wilson, the park was named in honor of Mr. Candler’s late father, Charles Murphey Candler, a highly respected state Representative and state Senator, and good friend of Fred Wilson. On Sunday, January 31, 1954, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Murphey Candler Park. Since no road existed at the time to the future park land, the ceremony was held at the point on Ashford Dunwoody Road where the park access road was to be built, now known as West Nancy Creek Drive. East Nancy Creek Drive and Candler Lake East were completed a short time later, giving people a way to get to the new park from either Chamblee Dunwoody or Ashford Dunwoody Roads. Right of way to the park from Ashford Dunwoody Road was granted by Jim Cowart Sr. with the understanding he would develop the land surrounding the park north of Nancy Creek. In the 1950’s Murphey Candler Park was located in the City of North Atlanta. It was the only major park in the area servicing Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Chamblee and Doraville for decades. It still remains the largest park in all of North Dekalb.

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