Gaddy’s Geese Refuge

Since 1934, thousands of Canadian geese have been flying south to Ansonville, N.C. to spend the winter at Lockhart Gaddy’s Wild Geese Refuge.

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Gaddy was born in Anson County, and worked as a naturalist.  He planted special grains and enlarged the lake on his property in order to attract more geese as they flew South.  Gaddy died of a heart attack in 1953 as he was feeding the geese.

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The refuge was a popular attraction for tourists and school field trips, and in a pamphlet dated at or after 1972, the admission fee was listed as 75 cents for adults and 50 cents for children.  Gaddy’s refuge was later folded into the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge in 1963.

16 thoughts on “Gaddy’s Geese Refuge”

  1. There is a marvelous book titled “Lockhart Gaddy with His Friends-The Wild Geese.” The book was published in 1954 by Mrs. Hazel Gaddy and contains hundreds of photographs…many of them taken by the couple.

    On page 52 of the book there is the following…I don’t recall ever having read anything like it:

    “In the early morning, between 7 and 8 o’clock on March 7, 1953 two weeks and two days after Lockhart Gaddy died, a very unusual thing happened among the 10,000 wild geese at the refuge. Normally, at this time they would be quite active–flying, honking and chatting among themselves. As we approached the refuge everything was quiet–all the geese had massed themselves around Lockhart Gaddy’s grave, and in a surrounding area. A ‘Holy Quietness’ prevailed for several minutes–as if they were breathing a farewell prayer–their Memorial Service for their master-friend. Then suddenly, the migratory call was given and many took off for Canada–the first of the season to migrate.”

  2. My parents took my Three. Sisters and I to Gaddys about 1948/49 I remember it like it was yesterday. The birds would come right up to you. What an experience. for an 8 year old boy. Thank you Mr Giddy and family

  3. Growing up in Anson Co., it was one of the thrills of my childhood to visit Gaddy’s Goose “Pond”, as we lovingly called it. The run to the coffee cans of corn was just the beginning of the reward. Tossing out the corn, feeling as tho I was feeding the hungriest of the birds there, for they had traveled far and furthest to still go. The geese stammered from one to another of us, seeming able to pick out the best corn pitcher or who’s coffee can was the fullest.
    This is a special memory for me, a proud product of North Carolina, and one surely shared with many from Anson Co. We take care of our own, and while they were at Gaddy’s, the geese were ours to nurture and protect.
    I wonder how many coffee cans of corn were fed to the geese collectively over all of those years? Thank you Mr Gaddy for a wonderful memory that I still cherish!

  4. I remember as a small child growing up right down the road from the refuge.My grandfather worked there.We were one road over from the road that took you to the refuge.I remember especially on Sunday’s hearing all the traffic going to the refuge.What memories I have.Met Mrs.Hazel several times.Really can’t remember too much about Mr.Lockhart.If his grave hasn’t been moved.He is buried at the refuge.

  5. I am Lockhart Gaddy’s niece Glendora. I remember visiting Aunt Hazel and Uncle Lockhart often as a child. I always remember them giving me a dollar when we visited. I lived close by off of US 52 on our own farm. Lockhart was my birth mother’s older brother. Louise Gaddy Boyce died in 1934, when I was 2 years old. Uncle Lockhart took a special interest in my 3 older brothers and I. We all had a great love of the outdoors. I took my own children back to visit the pond in 1965. My daughter Kathy remembers the goose pond. I attended the local Ansonville schools and then graduated from UNC. I taught at Anges Scott college for 4 years. Then married my husband Tem Taylor we moved around the country and settled in Denver CO. I have fond memories of my parents 1000 acre farm. After talking with my brother Steve he reminded me that our father Bill Boyce traveled to the Biltmore estate to buy cows. I haven’t been back for many decades but was delighted my daughter found this site.

  6. Is this place still there? I remember going there while in elementary school. I live in Lumberton NC. Please send me infirmation via email

  7. It is deserted as far as i know…..i rode back on the old road and found an old deserted-looking house and a small pond. No one appeared, but there is a historic plaque out on 52 hwy near one of the entrance roads. I have such great childhood memories from there around 1968.

  8. I was born and raised in Ansonville and I remember this place well. I will always cherish the memories. In all my travels now I see geese that never seem to fly back north and I wonder if Gaddy Goose pond still exist. I can remember hunting geese on a nearby farm owned by Mr Buck Wheless , oh the memories that I have.

  9. I just rode down to the old pond with my cousin Rodney Lee. The old store is still standing with Lockhart Gaddy Goose Refuge sign still hanging there. It been over 50 years since I went down to the pond; its all grown up in weeds now but memories will always exist with me going there.

  10. Loved going to Gaddy’s Geese Farm ( as we called it). It must of been around 1956 or so. Wish it was still available to visit.

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