DeKalb County officials have approved funding to restore The Lyon Farm, part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. The project, budgeted at $225,000, will restore the structural integrity of the farmhouse and smokehouse, repair the roof, and provide much needed weather proofing.
The historic farm, located in the city of Stonecrest, is believed to be the oldest homestead in DeKalb.
Joseph Emmanuel Lyon, a former British soldier who was awarded 100 acres for taking the Oath of Allegiance after being captured and serving with the patriots during the American Revolution, built a log cabin on the property in the 1820s.
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners unanimously authorized DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond to execute an agreement to stabilize the historic farm on March 13.
The Lyon Farm, which encompasses over 100 acres, was purchased by the DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (DWM) in 2006 as part of the Pole Bridge Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant and Sprayfields. In 2016, the historic structures were placed on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Places in Peril” list due to excessive damage to the roof and other structural elements.
The Lyon Farm has been identified as a future site for tourism and youth education. It will eventually tie directly into Atlanta’s Beltline through the Arabia Mountain PATH, a multi-use trail more than 33 miles long.
The Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance will coordinate the restoration of the farm’s structures and look for opportunities to add “sweat equity” to bring them to a reusable level. The public-private partnership will help control project costs and ensure that the restoration meets the requirements for historic preservation, officials said.
“The Arabia Alliance looks forward to actively working with DeKalb County to stabilize the historic house and find an adaptive reuse that will engage the community with its vibrant past,” said Executive Director Mera Cardenas.
The dedication of financial resources to preserve and stabilize the Lyon House by DeKalb’s CEO and the Board of Commissioners will create a legacy protecting this cultural treasure and preserving it for future generations, officials said.
About the Lyon Farmhouse:
One of the oldest houses in DeKalb County, the Lyon Farmhouse was built by Joseph Emmanuel Lyon, a former British soldier who was awarded 100 acres for taking the Oath of Allegiance after being captured and serving with the patriots during the American Revolution. Lyon originally built a log cabin on the property in the 1820s. It was expanded in 1853 and again in 1893, creating the structure that stands today. Built in a vernacular architecture style, the house and various outbuildings reflect a self-sustaining farm where cultivating cotton, apples, muscadines, pears, lemons, sorghum, and bees were a part of life. The homestead is the last remaining intact farm of what once made up the agricultural area called Flat Rock.