Mason Mill Park (Decatur Waterworks)

The Old Decatur Water Works and more to come Map

From Mason Mill Park

I read every email I get and respond to all of them—eventually. The subject of this post was first suggested to be by Chris F via email in 2007. It was also listed as a regret in an email to me by Dave K. of urban outdoors back in 2009. So in characteristic Baboon fashion, I made my jaunt to this location in the Spring of 2011. Better late than never someone once said. The best reason I can give for the delay is that it is really a small park, better suited I had thought for a stop by than an excursion on its own. Mason Mill Park in Decatur, Georgia packs a lot of interesting stuff in a small package, just 20 minutes outside of Atlanta.

Probably, the most famous thing about this park is that it houses the old Decatur Waterworks ruins. Built in 1906, this site provided water to Decatur utilizing South and Burnt Fork Creeks until the 1940’s. Since then the structure has fallen into decay and ruin, but I say that in a good way. They are known by locals simply as “The Ruins,” and like many structures off the beaten path they have also fallen prey to vandalism or graffiti, depending on your perspective. I found the graffiti fascinating, something about the entirety of the work or the irony of a man made structure placed in nature, getting overrun by nature’s entropy, being covered with man-made attempts at communication. I digress, let’s leave it as it is a good place for photos.

The second thing is the Park itself, or rather the Park inside the Park. Apparently, when the waterworks were an operating facility, the company had built a little park out of the greenspaces nearby. As the Mason Mill Park expands it is encompassing parts of the old park. The finest feature of this old Mason Mill Park is the stone bridge that crosses Burnt Fork Creek. The creek is quiet, babbles in places, and has some ruins of a dam structure just a little way North of the Bridge.

The final thing is the Hiking and Biking. I’m not going to write this up as a hiking blog, because the trail is strange, short, and undefined. This is more of the type of place you simply explore around for a while, rather than try to accomplish any one thing. I spent about 2 hours there, and may have spent more, if I didn’t have to meet someone for dinner. On the Bicycling side, this area is nearby and easily explored on Mountain Bike. Also, it appears the PATH Foundation is building a paved connector that will eventually link North Druid Hills to Emory University. There are some that oppose this, and I admit that I like a dirt path more than paved personally, but I understand the average bicyclist wants easy paved roads. And the added interest in the area brings preservation.

Well, there you have it. Mason Mill Park contains the remnants of the Decatur Waterworks, a pretty little creek, and a future bicycle path. That’s packing a lot into a small space. To get to these places within the park, you have to travel to a dirt road at the far end of McConnell Drive past the Tennis Courts, just so you know.


  1. Thanks to your article, we visited this park last weekend. I really enjoyed our tramp through the woods and took a lot of great photos.

    Love your site--keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks to your posting, we visited this park last weekend. We really enjoyed it and took a lot of great photos.

    Love your blog! Keep the posts coming!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...