Olmstead Series  LbNA # 15138

Placed DateMay 16 2005
LocationAtlanta/Decatur, GA
Found By Sweet n Sassy
Last Found Sep 15 2007
Hike Distance?

Frederick Law Olmstead is considered the father of American Landscape Architecture. He designed parks in many US cities, most notably Central Park in New York City and the grounds around the US Capitol. His master plans created idealized and naturalistic landscapes within urban areas. They usually include water features, hills, trails, forests, woodlands and open meadows or lawns. Atlanta has a chain of six graceful parks created by Olmstead that cut a swath through Druid Hills along busy Ponce de Leon Ave.

[During summer I suggest spritzing with insect repellent before beginning your hunt.]

Box #1: Dellwood Lady (Placed 5/19/05) Replanted 7/27/06

Begin by locating Cator Woolford Gardens. Park in the first parking lot on the left inside the gate. If the gates are closed, park on the gravel shoulder across from the gate. With the gate to Cator Woolford to your back, turn right onto the paved road. Though the road is peaceful and forested, cars and buses do pass through so be careful. All too soon you'll reach a pair of intricate iron gates that lead out to Dellwood Park. Behind the east gate post you'll find eight hidden steps leading to a secluded footpath.(It might be a bit marshy at the bottom for a few yards.) Take the footpath to the first fallen poplar that you spot on left. Midway along its length, you'll find the Dellwood Lady. [There is also a geocaching site about 20 ft away, opposite.] Stamp up, rehide exactly as found, then double back to search for box #2.

Box #2: Shadyside Bee-Bopper (Placed 5/16/05) Missing for the second time... (7/27/06)

Take the paved path through Dellwood Park heading NW. Cross over Clifton and continue through Shadyside Park. You'll pass a lovely tudor mansion called "Pinebloom", now home to The Christian Index which was founded in 1822 and is the nation's oldest continuously published religious newspaper. At the the three black posts turn South and look for the PATH--a green sign will show you the way. Winding along, you’ll come to an arrangement of benches. The way now is at 270 degrees. Another bridge to cross, but stop at the end to find an unmarked trail on the right. Follow it until you spot a graffiti tree (tag 188) on the creek bank atop an old stone wall. At its base, beneath a shard of terra cotta, the bee waits.

!!Please be cautious and aware of your surroundings. This foot-trail is secluded and woodsy. It is also used as an outdoor classroom. Please rehid well, and be stealthy.

Continue on the leafy path around the fallen tree beside a log circle. You should find a path leading up to Fairview Road. The path through Oak Grove Park is in front of you.

Box #3: Oak Grove Goliath (Placed 6/11/05)

Follow the path through the park until you find the large Oak Grove historical plaque. (If you choose to stand and read it, beware of fire ants!)Across Ponce de Leon Ave you'll spot the former mansion of Coca-Cola magnate Asa Chandler. It's now home to the St. John Melkite Catholic Church which hosts a Middle Eastern Festival every year. Facing west, with the plaque at 200 degrees and the mansion at 45 degrees, find your prize beneath a black pot at the base of the tree that completes the triangle.

!!Oak Grove Park runs beside a busy private school, so you must take great care not to be seen by curious students. Weekends are best.

Box #4: Virgilee Gypsy (Placed 6/11/05)

This park was named for developer John Hurt's daughter, who died when she was young. Walk along the winding path until you find the heart-scarred oak. Now turn south into primitive territory. Follow the stacked stones past Boston Ivy. (On weekdays you might hear the sound of children playing.) At the fourth black post, count 30 more steps. The gypsy is beneath two triangular stones shaded by a redbud tree.


Springdale is the last park in the chain if you're traveling from Decatur, or the first from downtown. !As of 6/25/05 Springdale is under renovation. The box is still in place, but there are barriers around trees. Clues may be revised following park renovation!
To find the soloist:

Begin where tender boys sing like angels,
so long as cheeks stay downy-soft.
Across the blacktop, then face the place where the sun awakes.
Now count six trees along the way
as you travel from Devonshire to Krishna--
those closest, not away.
At six turn north to spot a mason's wall,
flanked behind by oaks, both white and red.
Sit atop the capstone, feet in leafy duff.
See? The base reveals a lowly arch.
Here the soloist waits beneath his stone.

You must be VERY stealthy--this park can be busy. Make certain no one is watching you remove or rehide the box.

Box #6: Deepdene Dragon (Placed 5/26/05) NOTE: The nature trail is under renovation as of 10-05 but the box is in place. Silt fences make clues a bit wonky. Once you find the trail to the creek behind the black silt fence past large new bridge and before small one, you'll be ok.

Deepdene is the largest of the Olmstead Parks and the most heavily wooded, with a nice nature trail winding through it. Leashed dogs are welcomed. There's a large grassy field and picnic table at the trailhead. (This walk will take aprox. 45 min.) To begin, park along the street beside the soccer field, or on the shoulder near the stop sign at Ponce de Leon Ave. Stroll across the field to the third unpaved trail leading off at 280 degrees--first two trails lead back to the street. Stay on the main trail past several trails on the left. Soon you will decend into a deep gully and back up again. The trail turns to the SW. Continue to junction where two large oaks stand. Take the trail down to the creek and cross the water on mossy stones.

At the double-tree junction take the trail NW. Then stay right at the next juction you come to and continue past the wooden rails. You will arrive at several downed trees stretching across the creek. Stop at the largest rootball beside the trail. Over your left shoulder is a magnificent old poplar on the hill and a rotted tree trunk bisecting your path to it. At the apex of the rotted tree you will find a rock ledge hidden beneath vines. The dragon's lair is behind four stones lodged in a crevice.

Return to the trail in a westerly direction. Eventually you will emerge near Ponce de Leon. For a look at some handsome homes from the early 1900s, turn right and take the sidewalk through the bordering neighborhood to return to your car. Or turn left and walk along the grassy shoulder beside busy Ponce de Leon. There is a historic Trolley Wait Station along the way that has been renovated. It's a reminder of the electric trolley lines that linked Atlanta's garden neighborhoods to downtown commerce in the late 1800s.