History of the Woolford Estate

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history3Cator Woolford and his brother, Guy, were the founders of The Retail Credit Company in 1898. Today the company is known as Equifax. Mr. Cator (as he was called) was a very generous man and helped found Warm Springs with President Roosevelt as well as many local charities. The home became AHHH in 1981. Mr. Cator would be so very happy to know his home is being used to help others.

Mr. Cator married Charlotte Boyd in 1919. She was 19 and he was 50! They honeymooned around the world for one year and then settled in Atlanta and built their dream home here in Druid Hills and filled it with the treasures they bought overseas. They had two daughters, Charlotte and Isabelle. In June 1989, Charlotte’s grandson interviewed her about growing up in this beautiful home.

Where did the name Jacqueland come from?
After World War I, Mister Cator supported two orphans in France. One of their names was Jacqueline.

How many acres did the property originally have?
42 and it now has 4.

When did you move out of the house?
When I was 13 in 1935.

When was it sold and for how much?
My parents divorced and it was sold in 1943 for $45,000 during WWII.

Who bought it?
The McRae’s. The couple was not wealthy and couldn’t keep up the estate.

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How many people worked on the estate?
We had 6 indoor staff and 14 gardeners.

What were the parties like at the house?
They were so elegant! There was wonderful catered food (loads of tea sandwiches!)and lots of punch. There were butlers in white coats and servers in black dresses with fancy caps and white aprons. The outside parties were held on the dancing terrace with a full orchestra. When we had indoor parties there were fresh flowers from the garden everywhere and the grand piano furnished the music.

What did you do in your free time?
I mostly played in the dollhouse with my sister. It was built when I was 11 and she was 8. We also rode bikes on the paths through the woods. We loved playing in the gardens and streams. I can’t believe we never got bitten by a snake! But our favorite thing to do was to help take care of the animals with Aunt Belle. She was Mr. Cator’s sister and lived with us. We had chickens, rabbits, guinea hens and ducks. We also had two dogs – a Great Dane who had many litters of pups and a Scottish Terrier.

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Tell us about the inside of the house.
The bay window was our playroom. To the left was my bedroom as well as my sister’s. My parents had separate bedrooms and there was a bedroom for Aunt Belle and a guest room. Downstairs the room to the left of the front door was our sunroom. I remember we had a fish bowl suspended from the ceiling with large goldfish swimming playfully. Behind that was the library with its beautiful oak paneled walls. The room on the right was the dining room. The chairs were so high and heavy we had to have help pulling them out at dinner. I loved spending time in the kitchen watching and smelling the cooking!

Tell us about the cars.
Mr. Cator didn’t know how to drive (he was 36 when the first car debuted) and he was driven around in a Cadillac limousine. My mother had a 1926 Packard. The garage was down the driveway on the left where there is a parking lot now.

Finally, tell us one of your favorite stories?
I was sitting in the window looking at the fountain and it suddenly turned red and I screamed and thought the gardens were on fire. Mr. Cator laughed at me – he had put colored lights in the fountain as a surprise!

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