Little River Farms, an Ivey family-owned property, started originally as the hobby that became a business for entrepreneur, George Ivey. A fifth generation Georgian and construction businessman, George began acquiring land in the late 1940s. Beautiful land that had once been an Indian trading post caught his eye. George eventually purchased seven farms in the area, naming them Little River Farms. Not long after the purchase of the land George’s cattle farming and then dairy farming “hobby” became one of the largest industries in the North Fulton County of Georgia.
Over the years, George’s dairy farming operation grew to one that milked 200 cows per shift for three shifts a day. At the height of operation milk was sold to the public in the Southeast region from Warner Robbins, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee through fifty-seven drive-through stores called “The Milk Jug.” The egg side of business produced 8,000 eggs per day from 10,000 laying hens. And eggs were sold as far north as New York City with A&P grocery chain being one of George’s best customers. During this time it wasn’t uncommon for five to ten busloads of school children to visit Little River Farms each day during the school year. They came for tours and to ride the twenty-five ponies that George kept for that purpose. On weekends, people would visit Little River Farms from all-over the Southeast to participate in nighttime hay rides and group singing along the river.
In the 1980s however, George shut down most of the farming operations and sold 500 acres for golf course and residential development. George and his wife, Julia, continued to raise a small herd of Black Baldy cattle – which you will still see on Little River Farms today. The historic focal point on the property now is a barn that once was the French’s Ice Cream factory in downtown Atlanta. In 1964 it was scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new Atlanta Braves baseball stadium. True to form, George had other ideas. He purchased the building, dismantled 6,000 square foot of steel frame structure, moved it to Old Milton County and there it was welded back together, covered with wood and painted red. In 2013, nearly 40 years from purchase, the Little River Farms barn was fully renovated. And in 2014 it was painted white in anticipation of becoming a nostalgic backdrop for wedding events to come.
Through entrepreneurship and devotion to the community George Ivey was an integral part of the development of the Crabapple area, once called Old Milton County. Sadly, in 2014 both George and Julia Ivey passed away. Through private events on the Little River Farms property the Ivey family now look to preserving George’s vision of sharing the serene and history-rich charm of Little River Farms with generations of visitors to come.
Fact and photography resources for this blog came from:
Bygone Treasures and Timeless Beauties Barns of Old Milton County
Author: Robert Meyers
Publisher: Deed Publishing, Marietta, GA www.deedspublishing.com
Copyright 2011 – Robert Myers
First Edition, November 2011