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Trail Description Continued


LONG DESCRIPTION OF THE TRAIL

2013 United States Department of the Interior, National Recreation Trails Application for Designation

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, Park & Recreation Project Administrative Division
McDaniel Farm Park Trail System
McDaniel Farm Park, 3251 McDaniel Road, Duluth, GA 30096
84 7’ 41.88”W 33 58’ 5.42”N

McDaniel Farm Park is located between Old Norcross Road and GA Hwy 120, just northeast of Gwinnett Place Mall. The 133 acre park consists of the northern half of land lot 233 in the 6th district. The original 125 acre parcel remained relatively unchanged from the 1820 land lottery drawing to the mid 2000’s when Gwinnett County developed it into a passive park. The land was owned by Samuel Scott from 1825 to 1859 when it was sold on Gwinnett County’s courthouse steps to the highest bidder, Eli McDaniel, for $450.00. Eli McDaniel immediately sold the property to his two sons, Daniel McDaniel and A.W. McDaniel for a profit of $32.00. In 1863 Daniel McDaniel died in the Civil War and his half of the property was purchased for $300.00 by his brother A.W. McDaniel. The existing farmhouse was constructed circa 1874. In 1887 when A.W. McDaniel died he left interest in the farm to his wife and their four daughters and a son named John. By 1903, John McDaniel had purchased his sisters’ property interest for $89.00 each and was left his mother’s interest at her death in 1923. John McDaniel married, but died in 1933, leaving the farm to his wife and their two daughters and a son named Archie. At the age of twelve, Archie took over the duties of maintaining the farm. Archie McDaniel kept this site a working family farm for 66 years, until his death in 1999. As did many farmers, the McDaniel’s housed tenant farmers on their land to help with many of the farm duties. The earliest documented sharecropper is 1913 and the most recent is 1941. Records indicate at one time there were two tenant farmer houses built in the very early 1900s. Only one of these structures still exists today. The McDaniel Farm Park property is made up of rolling pastureland and forested areas. The open pastures were used to raise cattle and farm crops such as cotton, corn, and soybeans. Cotton was a main crop until the mid-1900s. The smaller fields on the farm were used to cultivate okra, butter beans, and other vegetables. The McDaniel’s also raised hogs and chickens, both of which were housed in the barnyard area. The fields were plowed with the family’s three mules, and the first tractor was not purchased until after World War II. Other structures on the property include a transverse-crib barn located behind the house. The first floor was used for stabling animals and the second level was used to store hay. The style of the barn indicates it was constructed after the turn of the 20th century, which replaced the original barn that was contemporaneous to the main house. In addition to the barn, there is a chicken house, a corncrib, a wood shed, a well house, and a wagon shed. There are remnants of a blacksmith shop on the site as well. The property remained a working family farm until the death of Archie McDaniel in 1999. Preservation is important to Gwinnett County and McDaniel Farm Park is an example of such efforts.

The trails offer a scenic tranquil environment in the midst of the modern day “mall sprawl”. The park is located near high density retail and corporate building zones. Immediately adjacent to the park are single family residential and multi-family apartment dwellings occupied by residents with diverse cultural origins. Nearby residents walk and run the trails on a daily basis and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle of health and fitness. The park and trails were master planned and designed for minimum impact on the historic buildings and or elements, and the natural environmental features of the site. There is a kiosk at the park entrance and interpretive signage along the trails and throughout the park. The kiosk contains a park map and the park rules. (A copy is included in this application.) In addition to the historic buildings on site, the park also has a restroom building, a pavilion, an office, and a maintenance building and compound. There are three (3) maintenance staff assigned to McDaniel Farm Park who perform routine maintenance tasks and prepare for special events. The trails are inspected quarterly by a Park Inspection Team. Necessary major repairs and improvements are then requested in the next formal budget process.

Special events are held throughout the year, visitors can walk a self-guided tour or guided tours can be scheduled with staff. During the summer, camps are offered with a “Civil War” or military themes. Schools, scout troops, and daycare centers take advantage of scheduled tours and special events throughout the academic year. McDaniel Farm Park trails have a lot to offer now and for future generations.


 

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