Opinion: Q.A. Wills was an Alpharetta pioneer in many ways | Opinion

by Fulton Watch News Feed

Quillian Asbury Wills (1900-1986), commonly known as Q.A., or more informally as Quillie, was a human dynamo who was a businessman, politician, cattleman, manufacturer, merchant and real estate developer.

Q.A.’s family came from Midway, a community in Forsyth County a few miles north of downtown Alpharetta. In 1905 when Q.A. was 5 years old, his family moved to a house on Marietta Street, now Old Milton Parkway, in Alpharetta. The house still stands next to the Mansell House.

Q.A. went to school in Alpharetta, then away to either Berry College or Reinhardt University. He married Ollie Mosteller (1903-1990) circa 1920.

As a young man his first job was as a barber, but he soon took advantage of his natural entrepreneurial skills and began to acquire land. He eventually owned most of the acreage from above the Mansell House on Old Milton Parkway down to Main Street in Alpharetta and south to Wills Road. He also owned property on the opposite side of Old Milton Parkway. In 1968 he sold 99 acres to Fulton County at a deep discount with the proviso that it would be used as a park. In 1995 the county sold the property to the City of Alpharetta. The huge Wills Park includes a modern equestrian show facility, baseball fields, several playgrounds, tennis courts, a community pool and many acres of lush greenspace.

In the 1930s, Q.A. operated a cotton brokerage and warehouse in The Cotton House built in 1901 on Milton Avenue in downtown Alpharetta. The building changed hands and names several times, and Q.A. owned the building for a number of years beginning in the late 1920s. He operated a factory there making men’s jeans. He also had an office on 5th Avenue in New York City where he sold cotton “house dresses” he made in the Cotton House.

Around the corner on Main Street, Q.A. owned The Wills Merchandise Store and another building where he…

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