The Goat Farm- The Haywood Years
In 1972, Robert S. Haywood purchased Murrays Mill from the Trust Company of Georgia. Haywood had purchased this property to provide a home for his company Southeastern Metal Products. Initially, Haywood leased the additional space in the Mill Complex to other industrial companies, like a car repair shop and another metal production company,
During the 1970’s Haywood found more and more artists and arts organizations approaching him about renting in the complex. A driving reasons for this was the fact that the rent was inexpensive, in 1983 a monthly studio rent hovered between $100 and $400. Artists began to use their studios as living space during this time, much in the same manner artists in New York City used the old industrial loft spaces of Manhattan. During this time an artists’ community began around these homes and studio spaces.
Haywood was protective of his residents. A former Army Ranger, he was known to run off developers and trespassers with gunfire. It was Haywood who brought in goats to deal with the kudzu overgrowth that was taking over the 12 acre property. While multiple developers approached Haywood about acquiring the property, he refused to sell. It was only upon his death in 2009 that the property became available. When it was purchased many wondered what would happen to this accidental artist commune hidden on the Westside of Atlanta.