Myrtlewood Plantation has a most interesting history: In 1883 Mr. John Masury from New York City came to Thomasville and purchased the Hanna-McKinley House at 830 North Dawson Street. Mr. Masury was the owner of Masury Paint which was reportedly the first paint manufacturer to sell paint put up in a can. Mr. Masury’s wealth was estimated to be worth approximately eight million dollars. While living in the Hanna-McKinley house, Mr. Masury purchased what is now Myrtlewood Plantation. During this time he was also building the luxury hotel on the corner of Broad and Jefferson streets for wintering the influx of wealthy northern visitors who preferred the luxurious climate of the south in the winter rather than the harsh cold they were accustomed to.
Mr. Masury was also having his 32-room “winter cottage” built on his newly acquired land which he called “Cleveland Park” supposedly after our first Democratic president.
In 1930 the Cleveland Park mansion burned to the ground. The only remains which can be seen today are a slight evidence – although overtaken by forest – of what were once formal gardens 75 to 100 yards from the site of one of the present hunting lodges.
It was in the 1930’s that the property was acquired by R. C. Balfour, Jr. (the father of R. C. Balfour, III) who turned it into an exclusive natural hunting preserve for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and bob-white quail.
The name Myrtlewood comes from the numerous wax myrtle shrubs that grow wild throughout the plantation.