About Our Neighborhood
Even in its infancy, Killearn Estates was destined to be a premier neighborhood. You will find natural beauty within 4,000+ acres of rolling hills, lakes and green space that surround the homes, parks and other properties within Killearn.
Killearn was the first planned community in Tallahassee with underground utilities to preserve the beauty of the land. Killearns’ lakes and the wildlife that inhabit them is a perfect backdrop for relaxation on a warm sunny day. Look around and you will find the people of Killearn sitting on benches or blankets reading, watching canoeists on the lake, sunning, napping or just taking in the beauty of it all.
It all started in 1964 when J.T. Williams, along with his partners, attorney Mallory Horne and Bill Cartee, purchased 3,800 acres of the then Velda Dairy Farm property and started what would become the county’s largest subdivisions, Killearn Estates, Killearn Acres and, later, Killearn Lakes. This was a bold move in 1964 because almost no one thought housing that far out of town would sell. As development of the community began, so did the construction of I-10. Excellent planning, good land values, along with a golf course, gave the new development a country club feel that was very new at the time. Prior to the development, the only reasons people traveled the two lane road five miles north of town was to visit the Velda Dairy Farm or Killearn Gardens. Now, that old country road is eight-laned Thomasville Road.
Maclay Gardens was, at that time, named "Killearn Gardens" which was started in 1923. The name "Killearn" came from a village in Scotland where Mr. Maclay’s great-grandfather, the Reverend Archibald Maclay was born. At the time of his death in 1944, Killearn Gardens had become widely known as one of the most outstanding and beautiful locations in the United States. In 1946 Mrs. Maclay opened the Gardens to the public, and in 1953, the Maclay family gave Killearn Gardens to the state of Florida as a memorial to Alfred Barmore Maclay.
At the time the entrance to the new subdivision was built, it lined up with the entrance to Killearn Gardens. This made it a logical choice to name the subdivision after Killearn Gardens. The developer, Bill Cartee, who was part Irish chose to use an Irish theme for the subdivision. The State Parks Department was not as happy about the use of the name, and in 1965 renamed the gardens to the, Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens, or Maclay Gardens as it is known today.
Throughout the years, uniquely characterized units have been developed within Killearn so that folks have choices in the way they live — large yards for the gardeners, no yards for those that don’t want the upkeep, condos, apartments, townhomes, on the lakes, on the golf course, or not.
Choices! Eleven parks or playgrounds, complete with picnic tables or benches, are scattered throughout the neighborhood and used by the youngest to the oldest residents. Miles of bridle trails meander throughout the neighborhood for walkers and joggers to enjoy.
This neighborhood was designed with family in mind, as well as convenience as there are many commercial properties within its borders including eateries, salons, swimming pools, tennis courts, churches, synagoges and shops. There is something for everyone in Killearn.