Raleigh couple donates land for new park

Posted November 14, 2011


A Raleigh couple has donated their home and four surrounding acres to the city of Raleigh for a new park, city leaders announced Monday.


Mary Coker Joslin and her husband, the late William Joslin, moved into their home on West Lake Drive – at the intersection of Lassiter Mill Road and Glenwood Avenue – in February 1950 and were passionate about nature and conservation.

The land includes a collection of camellia, an arboretum of unusual trees, a native woodland, a formal patio garden, naturalistic groupings of special native, cultivated and exotic plants, ridges, bottoms, thickets and a natural stream.

The Joslins' daughter, Nell Joslin, said both her parents believed strongly in the importance of connecting people and nature.

"For this garden, as part of the Raleigh park system, to now be used to nourish those connections in all citizens of our city and to give us a permanent place of serenity and beauty and to provide opportunities for environmental education, respite and repose, is the culmination of their dream," she said.

Under an agreement with the city, Mary Joslin, 88, will continue living in the home and caring for the property until she dies.

The property, valued at about $1.17 million, will then be transferred to the city, where it will be open free to the public.

The city does plan to open the garden several times a year for tours, as the Joslins have done for decades.


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  • xwife27609 Nov 17, 2011

    I think it's a wonderful thing but I'm confused how can they donate it to N.C State and the city of Raleigh? Someone is going to be very upset.

  • MarcoPolo Nov 15, 2011

    There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of tax loopholes and possibly memorializing your family name. In fact with the tax loopholes, it's viewed by some and including me as proper money management and especially when dealing with real estate and with "estates".

    Where the hypocrisy comes in is when the same folks want to raise every body else's taxes while taking tax shelters themselves. Most people that I know can't cut this type of deal with the City.

    Somebody in that family worked hard to build and accumulate wealth. The family has a right to spend it any way they choose and for any of their reasons.

    We just know nothing of the implications of what the City has accepted on tax payers behalf. We also don't know if this was a political favor or just a smart business deal for the family. We know a little of the relationships thanks to internet research and campaign finance laws.

    We know that there is a serious upkeep cost to the city. The question of "park" access was

  • superman Nov 15, 2011

    Four acres for a house is very good. However 4 acres for a park. My house is on a one acre lot and so are the other houses in our subdivision. I cant believe that the city would take 4 acres and promise to maintain it as a park. Where would people park when they go there? They going to provide restroom facilities? They would either have to continue to maintain the house or tear it down. Homeless people will break into the house and sleep there. I dont think the city has thought thru this. You could probably put the house and the 4 acres inside a super walmart. The city should have said thank you very much but no thank you.

  • dwntwnboy Nov 15, 2011

    Wow, some people sure have sour grapes to the point of calling people names and all kinds of crazy things. If you don't like a new park- don't go to it. Simple as that. This woman could have sold the land and cleared it for profit but decided to leave something for the people of this great city. To associate her with any sort of "crook" is an insult to this woman and her family. Some folks you just can't make happy- they want to sling names and insult people to make themselves feel better in their own pathetic little lives since they are unable or unwilling to be so generous.

  • MarcoPolo Nov 15, 2011

    This is going to the cost the city. I expect they will let the exotic garden go (keep the acreage not the plants)but leave the path. Did the Joslins give up the house too?

    If not, that raises questions too. Joslin's expect the City to keep it closed but taxpayers to pay for their lawn maintenance? The Joslin's do have maintenance issues and the wife wants to preserve as much of the husband's "work" as possible.

    The NCSU angle is interesting too. State would have the "expertise" to maintain the gardens but they may not have the interest.

    There's a tangible reason why the Joslins switched directions. Did State tee them off? Did the City promise them more?

    More to the story....

    WRAL drives me nuts with this junk. They'll do anything to paint democrooks in the best light without giving us the whole story.

  • MarcoPolo Nov 15, 2011

    Nancy, that was my 1st thought.

    The husband, his brother and the daughter were/are lawyers, who are in the very deep pockets of the democrook politicians.

    There's no doubt it's about money (tax implications) and/or appointment exchange (democrook lawyers look out for other democrook lawyers, ex. Meeker) as well as family status (name on park). There's a lot of deals going on as a result of this "gift".

    The daughter had married old money too. Given all their donations and fundraising efforts, they shouldn't have a shortage of money. Greed is a funny thing though.

  • Nancy Nov 15, 2011

    "This isn't about philanthropy. More to the story...."

    I was wondering if a deal had been struck, basically a "preserve" arrangement for many years, actually reducing or eliminating their tax obligation or perhaps giving money to them for future use of land?

  • MarcoPolo Nov 15, 2011

    She reminds me of Mr. Burns of the Simpsons with a wig.

    The daughter is a real estate title lawyer here in Raleigh. These folks are so tied up with the democrook machine it's ridiculous. Google, google, google.

    This isn't about philanthropy. More to the story....

  • superman Nov 14, 2011

    I didnt quite understand the double talk. "it will be open free to the public" and "the city plans to open the garden several times a year". If they in fact meant that it will only be open several times a year--it is a waste of tax payer dollars. The house would be good for the residence of the mayor.

  • zacksmill Nov 14, 2011

    God bless them. -anne53ozzy

    Sorry, but that won't happen. Both her and her husband are Atheists.