Tarva is a 4,515± acre wild quail plantation located in the Albany, Georgia quail belt adjacent to or in the immediate neighborhood of dozens of other highly coveted and similarly-managed properties. The diversity of habitat and wildlife makes this an exciting, all-season recreational hunting retreat. And, when not in the field, the circa 1850 historic main house, set among sprawling live oaks, is a showplace, meticulously preserved and outfitted in a comfortable southern style.
Just the Facts
- 4,515± acre quail plantation in the Albany quail belt in Baker & Dougherty Counties, Georgia.
- Adjacent to or in the immediate neighborhood of other large recreational properties such as Pinebloom, Nilo, Pineland, Wildfair, Blue Springs, and Nonami.
- Thousands of acres of quail hunting habitat have undergone an intense management and restoration plan over the last several years yielding strong quail counts. In the 2022 and 2021 seasons, Tarva moved 6.8 and 6.1 coveys per hour hunted.
- Phenomenal 30± and 7± acre dove fields. 150 to 160 class whitetail deer, abundant turkeys, and wood ducks galore. Tarva’s wildlife-rich diversity stretches the annual use of this property out across all hunting seasons.
- This will only be the fourth sale since it was established by the Tarver family over 185 years ago.
- Beautifully maintained and recently restored 7,300± square foot Greek Revival antebellum house circa 1850, offered furnished and featuring three bedrooms and three full and two half bathrooms.
- Parklike grounds around the main house were also recently improved to create a fantastic outdoor entertaining area and showcase the beautiful and sprawling live oaks that frame the entrance drive and house.
- Additional improvements around the main campus include a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guest cabin, three-bedroom guest house with kitchen, and a modest horse stable.
- Other improvements include a manager’s house, an assistant manager’s house, and guest house, seven small concrete block tenant houses (only one is occupied), a farm shop, new grain bins, and equipment barn.
- Entire eastern property line, shared with Nilo, is game-rich Cooleewahee Creek, a tributary to the Flint River.
- 11± acre Hunter Lake, shallow water
- Dozens of unique cypress-filled ponds scattered throughout the property that range in size between one and 125 acres.
- Just 17 minutes to the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.
- Less than an hour’s drive north from Thomasville and three hours south of Atlanta.
- Tarva is protected with a conversation easement held by Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
- Tarva is offered furnished and with all of its operating equipment and tools.
I refer to Tarva as a “trigger pulling” property. I’ve always been impressed with its DIVERSITY of QUALITY hunting. Tarva is a tremendous resource for the hunting enthusiast, and it offers the quintessential southern main home setting for gathering with family and friends.
Tarva is located twenty minutes southwest of Albany, Georgia, in both Baker and Dougherty Counties, in a neighborhood of other large, world-class recreational properties. Southwest Georgia, and the Albany area in particular, has been labeled the “Quail Hunting Capital of the World” due to the exemplary habitat and the sheer number of properties managed for quail. There are 295,000± acres of exceptional quail properties in the greater Albany area.
Tarva has nearly two miles of frontage along one or both sides of Tarva Road. It is bordered on the east by Nilo and to the south and west by Pinebloom.
The property is less than an hour’s drive to Thomasville and three hours south of Atlanta. The Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is just 17 minutes from Tarva and offers several commercial flights each day to and from Atlanta as well as a 6,601-foot runway for private aviation.
Southwest Georgia has a humid subtropical climate and offers long warm summers and the most pleasant and mild of winters. Between November and March, the daily high temperatures in Albany average 65 degrees and low temperatures on average are 39 degrees. Rainfall usually peaks in March and during the summer months, with an average annual rainfall of 51 inches.
For hundreds of years, the lands at and around Tarva have been sought-after. First, by Creek Indians who came for the water resources and highly productive soils, then by American settlers in the early 1800s.
Tarva was originally established as a working farm by Henry Hartwell Tarver in 1836 and at that time was named “Buzzard Roost.” It is said that Tarver came to the area with Nelson Tift that year to establish the trading station that started the town of Albany.
Tarva and its sister plantation, Pinebloom, were wedding gifts from Henry Hartwell respectively to his son, Henry Andrew, and daughter, Dorothy. Dorothy was married to Alfred Holt Colquitt, the 49th Governor of Georgia and two-term U.S. Senator.
For years, Henry ran the operations at Tarva, and in 1870, he moved his family to Atlanta and served one term in the Georgia State Legislature. They stayed in Atlanta, using Tarva seasonally until Henry’s death in 1897. The property passed to Henry A., Jr., who continued to use the property seasonally, serving as mayor of Albany for three terms.
After Henry Jr.’s death in 1935, his brother Fort Tarver took ownership of the property and eventually sold to Russell A. Alger of Michigan in 1940. The Algers were a prominent family in Michigan; Alger’s grandfather served as its governor, was the Secretary of War under McKinley, and was a U.S. Senator. His father was an investor in the Packard Motor Car Company. Alger reassembled the property through several purchases in the 1940s, amounting to about 4,500 acres. He named the property “Placida” and restored the main house under the guidance of Edward Vason Jones, an esteemed local architect who was well-known for completing three interior restoration designs for the White House over a period of three presidencies.
In 1947, Don and Mary Hunter of Cleveland purchased the property. Mary was the granddaughter of Howard Melville Hanna, an early member of the Standard Oil Trust who owned Pebble Hill and Melrose Plantations in Thomasville. They, and their daughter, Barbara, were passionate horse breeders with a farm in Kentucky and a ranch in Montana.
A testament to the quality and timeless design of the house, as well as the restrain of the architects, nothing drastic was done to renovate the house aside from enclosing the veranda, connecting the kitchen to the rest of the main house, and re-doing the north and south steps. Mary continued to work with Jones and brought in Frank McCall of Moultrie to redesign the kitchen. She renamed the property “Tarva,” a better reflection to her of what it sounded like when the locals pronounced Tarver.
The house and surrounding acreage were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. In 2013, after Barbara passed, her estate sold the property to the current owners who have made great investments to improve the house and grounds, as well as the quail habitat.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Tarva is 4,515± acres. The majority of the upland area is managed for quail. It features dozens of unique cypress ponds, ranging in size between one and over 125 acres. Tarva’s eastern property line is the Cooleewahee Creek, a tributary to the Flint River, and shared with Nilo. These water features are rare ecotonal treasures for wildlife habitat and offer a greatly-untouched recharge into the Floridan aquafer. Like many other properties in the area, Tarva is protected from development by a conservation easement.
The Tarva home and grounds are truly exceptional in history, beauty, and architecture. One bad decision by a previous owner over the past 172 years could have ruined this heirloom, but under their careful stewardship, only the best consultants were retained to make small but significant improvements over the years, mainly to preserve and modernize the house.
Historic Main House: The 7,300± square foot Greek Revival raised cottage was built as a wedding gift for Henry A. and Elizabeth Tarver from Henry’s father in 1850. The house is architecturally timeless, greatly intact, and has recently undergone upgrades.
The house is one-story with front and side porticos and features two 24-foot square parlors at the front of the house, formal dining room, three bedrooms with three full and two half baths, chef’s kitchen, and breakfast room.
A unique design feature of the house is the two 16-foot-wide center hallways laid out in a Greek cross plan, each end opening up to porches. The hall on the west wing of this east-to-west portion of the corridor creates a veranda that has now been glassed in and overlooks a magnificent live oak and a brick courtyard. The symmetry and scale of the house is visually appealing and done so effortlessly—from the 16-foot ceilings to the triple-hung veranda windows.
Some of the finest architects of their time have been enlisted over the years for restorations. In the 1940s, Russell A. Alger, Jr. recruited local Edward Vason Jones, well-known for interior restoration designs of the White House. He helped to enclose the veranda and connect the detached kitchen. Later, Mary Hunter enlisted Frank McCall to help with the kitchen design and, most recently, Atlanta’s Spitzmiller and Norris oversaw updates to the house and supporting improvements.
Guest Cabin & Guest House: Tucked alongside the main house and facing the bricked courtyard is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guest cabin, approximately 650± square feet.
A three-bedroom guest house is a short walk from the main house with a full kitchen and two baths and is 1,315± square feet.
Other Improvements: Additional improvements include a garage behind the main house and a modest four-stall horse stable with half bath and kitchen area, wagon room, tack room, hay storage, and nearby fire pit. There is also a four-bedroom manager’s house, a three-bedroom assistant manager’s house, a two-bedroom guest house, seven small concrete block tenant houses (only one is occupied), a farm shop, new grain bins, and equipment barn.
Based upon recent years, the annual property taxes for Tarva are estimated at $37,000.
Tarva is a wildlife-rich property with an abundance of diversity, and these lands provide some of the south’s most prolific bird hunting opportunities. Having undergone a habitat revitalization project in recent years, Tarva’s wild quail numbers have exploded to impressive levels. There are a total of nine quail courses.
- 2022 6.8 coveys seen per hour 243 quail harvested
- 2021 6.1 coveys seen per hour ~250 quail harvested (data lost)
- 2020 5.4 coveys seen per hour 285 quail harvested
Arguably some of the south’s best dove fields, Tarva has two barnburner fields that are 30± acres and 7± acres in size, equipped with faux powerlines.
This area of Georgia is known to produce strong whitetail deer genetics, and an owner can expect to routinely harvest 150 to 160 class whitetail deer.
Turkeys are abundant, and the Cooleewahee Creek and many natural cypress ponds provide sporty wood duck shooting.
Tarva’s wildlife-rich diversity creates fun and dynamic days in the field that stretches the annual use of this property out across all hunting seasons.
This story has a happy ending for everyone involved. Both buyer and seller can rest assured that the Diamond S is in good hands moving forward.
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