Smith Farm tells the story of Georgia farm life and enslavement at Atlanta’s oldest surviving farmhouse, built in the 1840s for the family of Robert H. and Elizabeth Smith.
The Smith family moved from North Carolina to DeKalb County, Georgia, with their six children and took over the 800-acre farm of Robert’s brother, located near the contemporary intersections of North Druid Hills Road, Briarcliff Road and I-85. Today, the house and farm buildings present an opportunity for modern families, as well as individuals and school groups, to learn about life and work on a 19th century slaveholding farm in the antebellum and Civil War years of Atlanta.
In addition to the 1840s farmhouse, the detached kitchen out back, with an ample hearth, was part of the original Smith Farm that was moved to its current site at the Atlanta History Center and opened to the public in 1972.
Other buildings – enslaved people’s cabin, dairy, blacksmith shop, smokehouse, corncrib, chicken coop, barn, and outhouse – were brought from different parts of Georgia to represent aspects of the original farm.
Most of the men, women and children who worked the land, created community, lived, died and loved on the Smith Farm were enslaved people. This history is told around the property and centers on the enslaved people’s cabin behind the farmhouse and kitchen. Robert Hiram Smith may have owned between 11 and 19 enslaved people from the time the house was built to emancipation, based on census records and other research. Through the preservation of these buildings and this property a narrative comes to life about the enslaved families living on the farm.
The surrounding landscape represents Smith Farm in its early era, with historic varieties of crops in the fields, the enslaved people’s garden, the kitchen garden, and a swept yard by the house planted with heirloom flowers. Surrounding the farm’s outbuildings are naturalistic, native plantings. Heritage-breed sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys are representative of the types of livestock found on this type of farm.
Like all of us, our sheep and goats are on a quarantine schedule. Please check back between 8–11:00am to increase your chances of catching a glimpse of our beloved animals.