Monday, October 25, 2010

Georgia Tourism Division Launches GACivilWar.org

The Tourism Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) launched the state’s official Civil War website Ocotber 21 in commemoration of the upcoming Sesquicentennial. The event took place at a book signing for Crossroads of Conflict: A Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia at the Gordon Lee Mansion in Chickamauga.

“We created this site so that it serves as an online portal for communities and Civil War organizations in Georgia to promote their Civil War commemoration activities and events on one comprehensive site,” said Kevin Langston, Deputy Commissioner for Tourism for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “GaCivilWar.org will make it easier for visitors to plan their vacation by having access to all of our Civil War sites, stories and commemoration events.”

GaCivilWar.org is one of the state’s key marketing initiatives encouraging locals and visitors to explore and experience all facets of Georgia’s Civil War history. Features of the site include an interactive map of museums, battlefields, landmarks, historic homes and other significant locations; calendar of events; a timeline of events that took place in Georgia between 1861 and 1865; a news section; links to educational resources and related Civil War sites, and more. The second phase of the site will include Civil War driving trails; stories and written observations from Georgians during the Civil War; a multimedia section for video and images and more.

The state also developed a guide book, Crossroads of Conflict, a driving map and recently introduced an official sesquicentennial logo. The Sesquicentennial anniversary is expected to generate a significant increase in heritage travelers to Georgia. According to the U.S. Travel Association, heritage travelers encompass 78% of all leisure travelers. In 2009, heritage travel had an economic impact of $192.3 billion in the United States.

The Georgia Tourism division is partnering with the Georgia Civil War Commission, Georgia Humanities Council, Georgia Historical Society, the Tri-State Civil War 150th Association, and many other entities in Georgia to maximize exposure and increase the number of heritage travelers during this five-year commemoration and beyond.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

3rd Annual Cemetery Spirit Walk in Fayetteville October 23

Join in the spirit of learning about Fayetteville's history at the 3rd Annual Cemetery Spirit Walk in the Historic Fayetteville Cemetery on October 23.  Ten "residents" of the cemetery will speak to the guests about their lives.  Stories will be heard from the likes of Margaret Mitchell, Capt. Redwine and Doc Holliday.

Spirit Guides will lead groups of 8-10 guests from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  Presale tickets are available at The Depot in downtown Fayetteville.  On the night of the event, tickets will be available at the Holliday Dorsey Fife House Museuem and the Fayetteville Cemetery.

Come on out and learn about the history from those who lived it.

Tickets are $5 per person.

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Mourning Rites at the Holliday Dorsey Fife House Museum

The Holliday Dorsey Fife House Museum in Fayetteville recently showcased a special presentation on mourning rites from the mid 1800s. 

Speakers Carolyn Balog and Betty English displayed several articles of clothing and mourning accessories which were used by our ancestors as they mourned the loss of a loved one.

The Holliday Dorsey Fife House Museum is one of Fayetteville's finest historical attractions and is open to the public Thursday thru Saturday.


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Seven Islands Artifacts Day

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at The Indian Spring Hotel, Indian Springs, Ga. 30216
Sponsored by the Butts County Historical Society

The Public is invited to bring their artifacts to be identified and dated by members of The Ocmulgee Archaeological Society. Archaeologist Stephen Hammack and other members of the Ocmulgee Archaeological Society will be on hand to identify Indian Artifacts from all periods and historic artifacts from the earliest days of settlement. Of special note, Georgia Paleoindian Recordation Project Coordinator Jerald Ledbetter and John Whatley, author of “An Overview of Georgia Projectile Points and Selected Cutting Tools,” will be on hand to identify and record Clovis, Dalton, and other early projectile points. There will be several collections on display, flintknapping demonstrations by Dave Swetmon and atl-atl, primitive weapons and friction fire demonstrations by Ken Ruff. Also this year we will have “PICKING ON THE PORCH”, so come out, and join in the acoustic jam on the back porch.

Seven Islands Artifacts Day is sponsored by the Butts County Historical Society, The Village at Indian Springs and Generations Gallery. For more information contact W.J. Shannon at wjshanon123@bellsouth.net or call 770-361-7185.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Announces its 2011 List of State's 10 'Places in Peril'

/PRNewswire/ -- The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation released today its 2011 list of 10 Places in Peril in the state.

Sites on the list include: Zion Church in Talbotton; Rex Village in Clayton County; Craigie House (DAR Building) in Atlanta; John Ross House in Rossville; Harrington School in St. Simons Island; Medical Arts Building in Atlanta; Fairview Colored School in Cave Spring; Martin House in Columbus; historic buildings of Sparta in Hancock County; and, Berrien County Courthouse in Nashville.

"This is the Trust's sixth annual Places in Peril list," said Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Trust. "We hope the list will continue to bring preservation action to Georgia's imperiled historic resources by highlighting ten representative sites," McDonald said.

Places in Peril is designed to raise awareness about Georgia's significant historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that are threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.

Through Places in Peril, the Trust will encourage owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ proven preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reclaim, restore and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.

The Trust will provide on-site preservation assistance to each of the 2011 Places in Peril through its Partners in the Field program, funded by grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a number of charitable organizations in Georgia.

Sites that have been placed on previous years' lists have included: the Wren's Nest, home of folklore writer Joel Chandler House in Atlanta, which has undergone extensive restoration since its 2007 listing; Paradise Gardens, an internationally acclaimed folk art site in Chattooga County; Gilmer County Courthouse, a historic hotel building demolished in 2008; and the Crum and Forster Building in Atlanta. Updates on these sites and others can be found at www.georgiatrust.org.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country's largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. Committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia's communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all, The Georgia Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund; provides design assistance to 102 Georgia Main Street cities and encourages neighborhood revitalization; trains teachers in 63 Georgia school systems to engage students to discover state and national history through their local historic resources; and, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts.

Summary Information on each Places in Peril Site

Zion Church, Talbotton, Talbot County

Built in 1848 by Talbotton master carpenter James D. Cottingham and master brick mason Miranda Fort, Zion Episcopal Church features many fine details from the crenellated parapets on the roof to the triple-arched entrance. The church's gallery was used regularly for religious instruction of slaves, which was encouraged by the bishop of the diocese and Zion parishioners. Family box pews are as originally installed.

Major threats to the site are neglect, lack of maintenance and lack of funding for maintenance. The structure has significant wood rot on the exterior along with the need for typical weathering repairs. Additionally there is a diseased mature oak tree directly adjacent to the church, which would crush the building if it fell.

Rex Village, Clayton County

Historic Rex Village has recently experienced national attention because of its ancestral lineage to First Lady Michelle Obama. Rex Village is a 90-acre community featuring unique 19th century structures such as Rex Mill, Rex Bridge, and several period homes and mercantile buildings.

The new bypass has caused virtually all pedestrian and vehicular traffic to be diverted from the main storefronts. The resulting lowered property values have created the potential for Rex Village to be purchased by developers who may seek to inappropriately redevelop or even demolish the site. Rex is unincorporated, has no design codes for new construction and uses septic tank water systems.

Craigie House (DAR Building), Atlanta, Fulton County

Also known as the DAR Building, the 1911 Craigie House was the first chapter house of the Daughters of the American Revolution established in Georgia, which was only the second chapter of the DAR established in the country. Reportedly parts of the original Craigie House were moved to this site from the 1895 Cotton States Exposition in Piedmont Park, where it was the Massachusetts Commonwealth Building.

The building was used by the DAR until 1985 when it was damaged by a fallen tree. Inman Park Properties purchased the property in 2001, but as a result of the downturn in the real estate market, the building was foreclosed upon. Neglect and apparent squatters, compounded by a price tag of approximately $500,000 make the parcel more appealing as a buildable lot to many potential buyers.

John Ross House, Rossville, Walker County

The John Ross House is the oldest surviving structure in northwest Georgia and the metropolitan Chattanooga area. Built in 1797 by trader John McDonald, the building was a major stop for traders and settlers. McDonald's grandson, Chief John Ross, grew up in the house and later became the leader of the Cherokee Nation until his death in 1866.

Settling of the building has been compromising the construction of the late 18th century building. The Chief John Ross House Association maintains the structure and recently re-roofed the building with historically appropriate wood shingles. The association has an aging membership, and due to its location, has no local preservation support.

Harrington School, St. Simons Island, Glynn County

The last African American school on St. Simons Island, the Harrington School represents the most viable and valuable venue to interpret the Gullah-Geechee heritage of St. Simons Island. The building formerly served as the Harrington Grade School from the 1920s until its desegregation in the 1960s, when it was converted to a daycare facility and served as such until the 1970s.

The school building has incurred significant deterioration through the years despite being purchased by Glynn County and the St. Simons Land Trust as part of a 12-acre park. Last fall, after a grant request was denied, Glynn County declared the building beyond repair and placed its demolition on their 2010 agenda. Supporters of the school rallied. Plans for demolition were tabled, and supporters obtained a second opinion by preservationists that the building's foundations were solid and restoration was possible.

Medical Arts Building, Atlanta, Fulton County

Designated as a local landmark in 2005, the 1927 Medical Arts Building is closely associated with the growth and development of Atlanta as a major medical center for Georgia and the Southeast. Designed by G. Lloyd Preacher, the Medical Arts Building was Atlanta's first high-rise office building constructed specifically for medical professionals.

The building was affected severely by GDOT's "Freeing the Freeways" program in the mid-1980s that widened Atlanta's Downtown Connector. With the Peachtree Street bridge closed for a year and the permanent loss of the Alexander Street bridge, many medical practices in the building had difficulty remaining open.

Numerous real estate deals have fallen through. Although there are multiple liens against the building, the current owners have it listed for $11 million.

Fairview Colored School, Cave Spring, Floyd County

The circa 1924 Fairview Colored School is one of the few remaining educational structures which provided education to African American children in Georgia. It provides a glimpse of segregated education and the impact it had on the children of the period.

After the school closed in the 1950s, it was used as rental property and a storage unit. Since that time, upkeep and repairs have not been maintained. Immediate steps are needed to address structural issues. Access to the building is hampered by deep brush and kudzu. The floors and roof are unstable and the building is uninsured.

Martin House, Columbus, Muscogee County

Designed in 1954 by the architectural firm of Finch, Barnes and Paschal, the International style Martin House anchors the northeast corner of Midtown Columbus' Peacock Woods-Dimon Circle National Register Historic District. Its gardens were designed by noted and prolific landscape architect Thomas D. Church.

The structure is currently vacant and owned by a property management company that is cited by preservation groups in Columbus as not performing adequate maintenance, consequently resulting in rapid deterioration.

Historic Buildings of Sparta, Hancock County

The town of Sparta contains a large number of architecturally significant buildings. Before the Civil War, Hancock County was a leading cotton producer, and the wealth created by the plantation system is evident in Sparta, its county seat. By 1803 Sparta was one of only five towns in the state to have a newspaper, and the town had begun a substantial library.

Today, vacancy and neglect of many historic resources are hindering the economic revitalization of the small town. The historic Baker House was lost to demolition; many others are threatened by a new demolition ordinance. The Georgia Trust has been involved in Sparta for many years; most notably, its Revolving Fund program helped to save the Terrell-Stone and the Rossiter-Little Houses. The Sparta-Hancock Historical Society is also active, and the City of Sparta has created a historic district commission. However the City has not yet designated a historic district for the commission to administer.

Berrien County Courthouse, Nashville

A local landmark protected by a local preservation ordinance, the Berrien County Courthouse was built in 1898 and designed by W. Chamberlin and Company of Knoxville, Tennessee. The building incorporates steel and reinforced concrete; its fireproof structure has survived several fires with no significant damage. Marked by a prominent bell tower still ringing on the hour, the courthouse currently serves as office space for the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Authority/Better Hometown Office, and Berrien County Historical Foundation.

The Berrien County Courthouse receives inadequate funding for needed maintenance and suffers from a leaking roof, termite damage and failing plaster. The accrual of this neglect is causing significant damages to the structure.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exhibit of Newly Discovered Civil War Artifacts Now Open at Georgia Southern University Museum

Artifacts uncovered earlier this year at Camp Lawton, the site of the Civil War’s largest prisoner camp, is now on display at the Georgia Southern University Museum.

The artifacts, which include many priceless and unique finds, were discovered by a Georgia Southern University archaeology team excavating at Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, Ga. The team, led by University anthropology professor Sue Moore, Ph.D. and graduate student Kevin Chapman, was working to locate the stockade wall that surrounded Camp Lawton during the Civil War. In addition to locating parts of the wall, the team uncovered numerous personal artifacts left behind by soldiers who were imprisoned there or were stationed there as part of the Confederate Army.  News of the discovery made headlines around the world when it was announced in August.

The artifacts, which include a tobacco pipe, tourniquet buckle, and photo frame, are very personal in nature. Researchers believe many of the artifacts may have been left behind when Union prisoners of war were awakened in the middle of the night by Confederate soldiers as the camp was evacuated in advance of Sherman’s approaching army during his “March to the Sea.” Researchers were stunned by the numerous finds at the Camp Lawton site, because artifacts from most Civil War prison camps have been lost due to farming, development and looting.

In addition to the artifacts, museum displays will also educate visitors on the harsh realities of life at Camp Lawton, including a display that shows the meager amount of food allotted to each person at the camp.

The exhibit will be on display during regular Georgia Southern University Museum hours until May 1, 2011. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. The museum is closed Monday and on University holidays. Museum admission is $2 per person. Georgia Southern students with a valid I.D., museum members, and children under 3 years of age are admitted free of charge.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Margaret Mitchell documentary draws heavily from UGA library collection; airs Oct. 10

Change in the Wind, a documentary about famed author Margaret Mitchell’s quest to improve conditions for African Americans in her home state, will air Oct. 10 from 4-6 p.m. on WSB-TV.

Drawn largelyfrom research in an unexplored collection of Mitchell correspondence at the UGA Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the documentary—produced by civil rights veteran Andrew Young—traces Mitchell’s evolution from debutante to someone determined to improve the educational opportunities and ultimately the lives of Atlanta’s African-American citizens.

Mitchell’s patronage of private, all-male, historically black Morehouse College parallels her friendship with Benjamin E. Mays, president of Morehouse from 1940 to 1967. It was this relationship that Young and director CB Hackworth sought to explore with the documentary. Hackworth’s research at UGA with Mary Ellen Brooks, director emerita of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, led to a much fuller portrait of the author.

Mitchell was able to see the world through her family’s black servants, Brooks believes. Mitchell became particularly disturbed when a beloved maid, Carrie, became ill and a hospital bed for her could not be found. After Carrie’s death, Mitchell sought to establish a scholarship in her name at Morehouse. Mays wanted the funds to cover students from the Southeast, but Mitchell held firm that it should be limited to Georgia in the hopes of helping her state.

“She often wrote respectful but endearing letters to the family’s employees, even when they were in the same house together,” Brooks said. “I think it shows Margaret Mitchell as a person who was sensitive and generous. It was as if they were her family, and they responded to her with letters as well. These materials do a great job of showing that side of her.”

Mitchell’s support of the Morehouse was kept secret for decades until Mays revealed to Georgia’s first African-American pediatrician that it was Mitchell who paid for his scholarship.

The friendship between Mays and Mitchell “grew increasingly warm and shows evidence of great mutual respect, but is based entirely on a mutual concern for the lack of adequate educational and medical resources for Atlanta’s growing African-American population,” Hackworth said.

Brooks notes the affection between Mitchell and the African Americans to whom she became close. Included in the correspondence is a telegraph in Mitchell’s handwriting to be sent to Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy in Gone with the Wind, at 5 a.m. the day after the premiere telling her that Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield called for a “big round of applause” for McDaniel. Their correspondence continued for years.

“The (entire collection of) letters shed a lot of light, especially when you read what (African Americans) have to say,” Brooks said. “It showed how they viewed whites. So at last we have two sides.”

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Macon's Hay House Celebrates 150 Years

HAY DAY 1860
Saturday, October 9, 2010
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Hay House
Macon


The Hay House is 150 years old.  Come join in the fun on October 9 in Macon.

This free event is for the whole family.

No reservations required.
For more information, call 478-742-8155.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

African-American Soldiers Honored By New Historical Marker

Historical Marker Dedication honoring African-American Soldiers in Combat
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.  

Fort Hill School, 104 Fort Hill Terrace, downtown Dalton, GA
No Charge


The dedication ceremony will take place outdoors at the marker site, steps away from Fort Hill School building.
 

The Georgia Historical Society, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Battlefields Association, will unveil a new historical marker to recognize African-American soldiers in combat during the Civil War. The dedication ceremony will take place Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. on the grounds of Fort Hill School in downtown Dalton, GA.

The keynote address will be delivered by Ambassador Andrew Young, founder and co-Chairman of GoodWorks International and former U.S. Congressman and mayor of Atlanta.

The event will feature the Blue Ridge Elementary School Chorus and historical interpretation projects by Fort Hill School students. The reception following will be hosted by the Dalton High School Culinary Arts Program.

This event is part of a statewide commemoration of the upcoming Civil War 150 anniversary event in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Battlefields Association. GHS is conducting a program across the state to unveil new and recently replaced historical markers that explore the stories of Georgia's Civil War history as lived and experienced by all of its people during those tumultuous and transformative years. The marker text is as following:
African-American Soldiers in Combat

Near Dalton on August 15, 1864, during the Civil War, the 14th United States Colored Troops (USCT), whose enlisted men were mostly former slaves, helped drive off a Confederate cavalry attack on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, U.S. General William T. Sherman's main supply line during the Atlanta Campaign.  Later, on October 13, 1864, the 44th USCT was in a fort protecting the railroad through Dalton when the garrison commander surrendered to Confederate General John B. Hood.  In accordance with Confederate policy, many of the 600 captured black troops were returned to slavery.  Black troops rarely saw combat in Georgia, though nearly 200,000 African Americans served in the U.S. armed forces during the war. 

Erected for the Civil War 150 commemoration by the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Battlefields Association and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.



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