CIRCUS TRAIN WRECK
This bridge is the only real landmark I had to determine the vicinity of the wreck. It happend just beyond it.
On November 22, 1915 a horrible train accident occured about 6 1/2 miles from Columbus. It involved a circus train from the Con T. Kennedy Shows and a Central of Georgia passenger train. The circus train was headed toward Columbus from Macon. The passenger train was to have stayed at the Muscogee Junction station (near the Buena Vista Rd area, the old spider web as we called it) until the Circus train arrived. The passenger train left before the arrival of the crcus train, causing them to meet head on. Both engines were badly damaged. The most damage was to the circus train. No deaths, only injuries were reported for the Passenger train.
The circus train lost at least 6 lives. Among them were a married couple who worked for the circus. Their small daughter was rescued by her uncle who also worked for the circus. At least twelve people were reported missing, assumed to have been burned to ashes. A strange story came out concerning a torso that was discovered. At first it was thought to have been a man. Upon examination it was found to be a woman. All women with the carnival had been accounted for. There was speculation that the woman had been masquerading as a man.
I have tried to find the exact location of the wreck. Judging from what I have read, the accident occured Near the Bull Creek bridge. I think I have found this bridge. It can be seen from what is now Macon Rd. It is near where the crime lab and driver's license office is. It appears to be ornate and mostly white. It is a pretty, old looking structure.
There is a monument in Riverdale cemetery in Columbus to this tragedy. It was put there by the Kennedy Circus. It is box shaped from a distance,and looks to be made of white marble. When you view it close up you can see that it is also made to resemble a circus tent. If there is any good side to this tragedy it is the fact that no animals were harmed.
This is the Memorial at Riverdale Cemetery that was put up by the Kennedy circus.
Of course there is no such thing as Mount Muscogee, but the first time I saw this large mound I thought there was. It belongs to a quarry near Fortson and is beautiful. The first time I saw it was 3 0r 4 years ago. It was just a large mound of dirt. I had not seen it for some time when I took this picture. Trees have covered it and make it look like a real mountain or very large hill. Anyway, it is very distracting when you round the curve and see it for the first time. I thought it was worth photographing and mentioning because like so many other things, it may not always be there.
Did you know that in the years before 1940 Columbus and Phenix City had a favorite locally made Candy? Alexis Mahalakakes was born in 1872 in Sparta Greece. He changed his name to Alex Mitchell when he immigrated to the United States. Mr. Mitchell owned a candy store on Lower Broad. He produced a pink candy with small raw peanuts. It was called the Dixie Chip. He was also known for his roasted peanuts, he had a small glass roaster that he would turn by hand. Mr. Mitchell died in 1940 and his son Evans, ran the store until 1958. It was called Mitchell's Fruit Stand and was located on Broad Street between 11th and 12th.
When you enter the Old Pools Historic Site at Warm Springs Institute you will find on the counter a picture of a 4 year old girl. The caption says Suzie 1935. Suzie was born with two clubfeet and was the first non polio patient to be admitted to Warm Springs institue. She did not learn to stand until she was 4 years old. Suzie and her family lived in Warm Springs, but had to travel to Atlanta to see Doctors and seek treatment. Not an easy task in those days I'm sure. When President Roosevelt heard about Suzie and her family. He said she could get the same treatment at Warm Springs and not have to leave town. He saw to it that she received her treatment at Warm Springs. The children loved President Roosevelt and nicknamed him "Rosie". If you visit or have visited the Little White House, there is a film in the museum section. There is a short docmentary, Suzie is also in that. She is the last little girl in the film, she is shown holding a turkey leg. Suzie was greatly helped by the institute and learned to walk. Suzie grew up and is still in the area. I am proud to tell her story. By the way, the woman holding the picture is Little Suzie, all grown up.
DR THOMAS BREWER SR GRAVE MARKER
Leebo (my husband) and I were driving down Schatulga RD last week and all of a sudden he almost came to a stop to point out a large marker sitting on the top of a high hill. He asked me if I knew what that was and I told him no. It didn't matter, he was pulling into the cemetery already. We drove up to the marker and I got the surprise of my life, well, one of them anyway. Just that week I had told Leebo about a story I read in the Ledger years ago about a Civil rights worker or leader who was shot outside his office building in downtown Columbus in the Fifties. When we pulled up to the marker and I saw the name on it, it was like fate. I started screaming at poor Leebo, this is it, this is the man I was talking about. Anyway here are the pictures of DR Brewers marker.
FLAT ROCK PARK
Many of us locals have been going to This Park for years. It is a beautiful place. But, did you know that in 1909 it was a quarry? The city held a lease on it until 1914. Many of the streets in Columbus were made of rock that was quarried here.
COLUMBUS TIME CAPSULE
I just found this down on the Riverwalk. Right across the street from the Bay Ave Convention and Visitors Bureau. I never knew this was there and thought it was interesting.
OLD WRITING ON OLD BUILDINGS
Can you read the words on the brick wall of this old building? I found this old building in downtown Columbus, not far from the old train depot. It is an old Coca Cola advertisement.It reads delicious and refreshing. Did I use the word old enough times?
This is the back side of the Old W C Bradley building. Across the top it says Fetilizer Department. Arched over the door it says Shipping.
This is the old City Mills Building. It is located on First ave. the writing says Flour, Meal, Feed and ???I could not read the rest.
When I first saw or noticed this building, I thought I had died and gone to Savannah.This deserted old building is located almost under the new Second Ave bridge. Palm trees line the street. Can you read the writing? It says : Julius Friedlander MFRS Jute Bagging...
It's funny how you just take some things for granted. Having lived in Columbus all my life, we visited Callaway Gardens frequently through the years. Back in September my Inlaws visited and we, Mom, Leebo and I, took them to Callaway Gardens. It was almost like I was really seeing it for the first time. Photos do not begin to do this place justice. It is absolutely amazing. I guess I thought it just sprung up out of no where. It is so hard to believe this was originally a worn out cotton field. Going back this time brought back so many memories and has created new ones. The highlight of the trip had to be when we went to the Ida Cason Callaway Chapel. They have an organist that plays requests. Of course everyone wanted to hear Religious songs. But it was fun keeping Mom in line by threatening to request Roll Out the Barrell!
Boogerville was an area of columbus bordered by 13th St. on the South, 15th St. on the North, 10th Av. on the West and 13th Av. on the East. Many people have grown up in Boogerville and have had reunions through the years. Boogerville was a small area, but there were many houses there. Not much is left of Boogerville, it looks to be mostly industrial now. There are a lot of vacant lots, but I don't know for sure if the foundations are from houses or businesses that later moved in. I appreciate Mr. Bill Gilbert for reminding me that the Soap Box Derby was ran off 13th. Near the WRBL TV building.
I found these on Grey Rock Road while searching for a cemetery. There are several of these sitting near the road. They are across the street from the entrance of Three Lakes, the one with the porch,second picture, is on the same side of the road as Three Lakes. For some reason the name Three Lakes is familiar to me. It sounds like somewhere I went as a teenager on a Church Youth group retreat. I could of course be wrong. At first I thought they might be a part of Three Lakes but they are outside the fence. Jimbo, who knows the area, told me they were sharecroppers houses. They look quite old.If Anyone knows about these deserted shacks or Three Lakes please let me know.
CHATTAHOOCHEE FLOOD MAY 2003
Today, May 10,2003, the Chattahoochee River reached flood levels. I went out this evening, and so did half of Columbus, to take some pictures. One person near the Total Systems area said the water was even higher at lunch time. When we stepped out of the Jeep in the Total Systems area of the River it was just like being on Tybee Island (I WISH). The River looked like it was coming in, in waves and it sounded just like the beach. Parts of the River Walk were flooded. At one point the steps leading down to the Walk were partially underwater.
Lake Juniper is located in Talbot County. In the late 1800's Lummus Industries was located there. In the late 1930's people started to use this area as a resort. There were cabins, places to camp, a store that sold food and other supplies. I heard that at one time there was a dance pavilion there too. There was also a beach and boy scout camp. Not a whole lot remains of the resort, just a few cabins. The area is beautiful. The nearby Chapel was built by Mr Lummus in 1890. This was once a popular vacation destination.
MOUNTAIN HILL SCHOOL
Montain Hill School is located in Harris County. It was built in 1930. The musical celebrity Chet Atkins once attended this this school.
OLD PILLAR ON MOYE ROAD
It always pays for me to have my camera in the car with me. Even if I have no plans to look for things for the site. This is a great example of that. One day Leebo and I were riding around and I saw this old pillar on the side of the road. I believe it was Moye Road. Anyway for some reason I told him I wanted a picture of it. I had no idea why, I just had a feeling that pillar meant something or marked something at one time. I kept the image and a year later while talking to a friend the pillar came up. He told me that the pillar marked the entrance or driveway to a house that was behind the trees. He said the house belonged to a couple that once lived in the Eelbeck Community. The Eelbeck community was once an area with a mill and store and houses. It is now a part of Fort Benning. The community broke up and the people moved to different areas. He said the couple built this house by hand using rocks that were in the area. The house has been long gone. This pillar is a lonely reminder of someone's home. The love and pride that went into it must have been something!
THE WINECOFF HOTEL FIRE
At around 3:00 AM on December 7, 1946, the deadliest hotel fire in North American history took place. It was at the Winecoff Hotel on the corner of Peachtree Street and Ellis Street in downtown Atlanta. The Winecoff was 15 stories tall and billed as the tallest hotel in Atlanta. The Winecoff was also billed as firepfroof becasue of its brick construction. The fire killed 119 of the 280 people staying in the hotel. Many were High School students that were there for some kind of convention. My Mom told me many times that there were students from Jordan there. Some of the girls could only be identified by their class rings. The victims were burned to death, died from smoke inhalation or jumped from the windows.
My Great Aunt Tillie was working for Southern Bell (Bell South) At the time of the fire. She was also a resident of the Winecoff. It just so happened, that night an employee did not report to work and my Great Aunt worked a double shift. If that employee had come to work, My Aunt Tillie would have been there, asleep, at the time of the disaster. My Grandmother was frantic until she heard from her sister.
There were no fire escapes, sprinklers or fire doors when the fire took place. Because of the Winecoff disaster Many fire codes were improved or updated. The fire was at first thought to be an accident.But,there is a strong possibility it could have been arson . The Winecoff still stands today. It has been vacant for many years. There has been interest in developing it into a boutique/hotel.
Last year I nearly broke my neck trying to photograph the marker that tells about the tragedy. I thought the marker was on the site of the old hotel, not next to it! When I got home and researched the hotel, and found out it was not destroyed or demolished, but right where it had always been, I was sick! I wish I could have taken better pictures, but it was not an easy building to photograph. If you have any personal or family stories about the Winecoff, I will be glad to post them here.
Ma Rainey was born Gertrude Pridgett on April 26, 1886, in Columbus, GA. Both her parents had careers on the stage in Misntrel shows. Ma began performing when she was 14. She married a fellow entertaniner named Will Rainey,known as "Pa", in 1904. They toured the Southeastern United States as "The assassinators Of the Blues".
Ma released over 100 songs in 6 years. Her last recording was in 1928. She continued to perform for another 7 years. She performed with many famous people of her time including Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Thomas Dorsey. Some of her hits were Boll weevil Blues, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and C C Rider and can't Prove it on Me. She was considered a pioneer in her field. She is also known as the Mother of the Blues.
Ma Rainey retired to Columbus in 1935. She lived at the house shown below located at 805 Fifth Avenue. She owned and managed two theaters. Ma died December 22, 1939 from heart disease. Her obituary listed her as a housekeeper. She was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1994 a stamp was issued honoring her.
Ma Rainey's home is now open to the public as a museum. It is open Monday through Saturday. There is no charge , but donations are gladly accepted. Keisha of the Columbus parks and Recreation Department was our guide. She made us feel welcome and was more than happy to answer questions. She made us really enjoy our visit! Many of the furnishing in the house belonged to Ma. Of special note is the piano. It stayed in the house even when the home was abandoned and falling apart. All of the piano except for the keys has been restored.
THE LIBERTY THEATER
The Liberty Theater is located on eigth avenue in Columbus. It was built for the black citizens of Columbus in 1924. It showed movies and had live shows. Many well known acts appeared there through the years. Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway and Ella Fitzgerald were just a few. It was part of the entertainment trail followed by many black performers called the Chittlin Circuit. The Liberty Theater is used today and is on the National Historic Register.
THE COVERED BRIDGE AT IMLAC
This covered bridge was built by well known bridge builder Horace King. Horace King was a former slave who was freed by his master John Godwin and taught a trade that he would use for the rest of his life. This bridge is the oldest and longest covered bridge in Georgia. it is located in the community of Imlac, outside Gay Georgia.
This poem was inspired by the relationship between John Godwin and Horace King. I thought it was too special to not post here. It was written by a very special man, Robert Paul Sax.
More Than a Bridge
This is not just a story 'bout a bridge but more than that-a bridge which built a life more than wood toil and sweat it's a bridge between two hearts a bridge of freedom
For in the winter of eighteen hundred-twenty-nine one man white-one a slave-their lives would intertwine for Horace King-his life would change not just his-but his master's too
Now the property of John Godwin King's life would take on meaning in 1832-having won a contract Godwin and King would build the first public bridge over the Chattahoochee River
That spring amidst the arrival of new life a friendship was born for these two men-working together while striving towards one goal discovered a bond of love and respect
And then in the year 1846 while working side by side tough times fell upon John Godwin and for whatever reason he loosed King from his bondage
Though he was now free to strike out on his own King's love for his friend was too strong to separate them now
Together they labored to bridge the gaps and shorten the steps that separate people it was Godwin and King side by side until fifty-nine-when Godwin died
Horace King-Georgia's master bridge builder was legally emancipated in 1846 though proud of his achievements-he never forgot for he erected a marker in the Phenix City graveyard and dedicated it to his teacher and friend-John Godwin
And so it is when I study this bridge and appreciate its simple beauty though someday it will be gone I'm reminded that whoever we are whatever our roots we can leave a lasting legacy
JOHN WALLACE AND THE KINGDOM
Many of us have read the book or seen the movie Murder in Coweta County. I knew the incident took place in Georgia, but I figured it was probably closer to Atlanta than Columbus. I did not realize just how close to us the it was. I decided to do some research and find where some of the places were that were part of this story.Before I explain the pictures i will highlight the story.
John Wallace owned land in Meriwether County, just past the town of Pine Mountain. He referred to his area as the Kingdom. He thought of himself as a king. He kept up a good name with the townspeople by Church donations and helping out in the community when there was a need. Many thought highly of him. There were many others that knew his darker side. He was also known to have a violent nature. One of the lines of business in his kingdom was the operation of a moonshine still.
In 1948 Wilson Turner was a sharecropper who lived and farmed on Wallace's land and also took part int the moonshine operations. In time Turner was able to afford some things for his family like storebought clothes medical attention for his baby and a new truck purchased from Lagrange Motor company. Wallace thought Turner was getting too big for his britches and also saw him as taking too many chances. Turner was running shine even when warned not to by Wallace. Wallace paid attention to the tips he was given and did not make deliveries when he was told Revenuers were in the area. He believed no single run was worth bringing down the whole operation. Turner was confident he could outrun the law and made runs anyway. This infuriated Wallace and he ordered Turner off his land. Turner left, and feeling Wallace owed him money returned and stole one of Wallace's prized cows.
Turner was caught in another county but returned to Meriwether county where he sat in the jail in Greenville for several days. He was released. When he left the jail Wallace and his men were waiting for him, the gas had been drained from Turner's truck ensuring that he would not get far. Turner tried to make an escape and headed out of town toward Coweta County. He was chased by Wallace and one man in one car and two other men in a second car. Turner ran out of gas at the Sunset Tourist camp in Coweta County. Witnesses reported seeing Wallace and his men struggle trying to get Turner into one of the cars. Wallace was said to have pulled out a gun and hit Turner over the head with it so hard that the gun discharged. Turner was reported to have gone limp and stuffed into the car.
Turner was taken back to Meriwether County. Sheriff Lamar Potts of Coweta County was called in and took over the investigation. Since there was no body it had to be proved that the murder took place in Coweta County, otherwise jurisdiction would have gone to Meriwether County, almost certainly ensuring a different outcome to the whole affair for Wallace. The trial did take place in Coweta County. It was found out Turner's body had been put into a well on Turners property and later retrieved by Wallace and 2 hired hands. The 2 men helped Wallace burn the body at the still and the ashes were placed in a nearby creek.
Wallace was tried and found guilty of the murder of Wilson Turner. He was executed by electrocution November 2, 1950. An important thing to note about this trial is that the 2 helpers were black. This was one of the first trials where the word or testimony of a black man was used to help convict a white man. His land was sold. His house no longer stands. His widow Josephine went to work for Mansours in Lagrange and rented a room in the house showed below. The three men with him on the day Turner was killed each went to prison but were released in 1955. John Wallace is buried in the Pine Mountain Cemetery in Pine Mountain Georgia. The sunset tourist camp shown below is an empty lot now(surprise,surprise) it is located in Moreland Georgia. Margaret Anne Barnes wrote the book Murder in Coweta County, It is probably the best one source for info on this story. Also, more in depth info can be found through old Ledger enquirer articles and the movie . I owe so many thanks to people in the Pine Mountain area, The visitors center and Kimbrough's. Also to the Moreland EMS dept. We recieved so many emails from people who sent in info, it was all really appreciated.
explanation of pictures
ROW 1: This is what is left of the Sunset Tourist Camp. It once had motel cabins, gas station and restaurant. It is located across from the Tasty Foods store/gas station in Moreland.
ROW 2: The first picture is the Greenville jail where Turner was held. The second picture is the House Josephine, Wallace's widow, lived in while she worked as a sales clerk at Mansour's in Lagrange.
ROW 3: These are pictures of Wallace's Grave in the Pine Mountain Cemetery in Pine Mountain. The small stone reads "I have kept the pleasant memory just rest in peace JLW".
ROW 4: The first is the Coweta County Courthouse in Newnan. The second is the Meriwether County Courthouse in Greenville.
ROW 5: The movie Murder in Coweta County was filmed in Pike County. This is a picture of the Pike County Courthouse that was used in the movie. It is in Zebulon, Georgia.
MYSTERY HOTEL OUTSIDE WARM SPRINGS
There are many of us who remember making the trip to Atlanta from Columbus the old way. Through Waverly Hall, Shiloh, Warm Springs, Greenville, and so on. Many of us also remember those cinder block shells that were on top of Pine Mountain they looked like ruins. These shells sat there for many years. I remember them being there in the seventies. They are no longer there, a newer hotel and assisted living or nursing home type place are there now.
Through the years I have heard two stories of why those cinder blocks were there. Both versions agree that the partially completed shells were to have been a hotel or motel. One source told me that each room was to have been dedicated to or modeled after different Presidents. Past that the stories take off in different directions.
The first thing I heard about the deserted hotel was that years ago several poeple in the area put up money for the hotel and the builder skipped town, leaving the residents stuck with no money or motel. A local law authority said that a body was found in the rubble. The body was found years later maybe in the 1980's or 1990's. Another story I heard was that before 185 was built there was the possibility of the link up to the interstate running through that area instead of where it goes through now. When those plans fell through so did the plans for the hotel. If anyone knows what really happened with this project please let me know.
THE OLD FIRE BELL TOWER
Many of us have seen the pictures of Columbus around the turn of the century. In several of the pictures the old fire bell tower is visible. The tower was purhased in 1882. It rose 90 feet into the air. The bell would ring a certain amount of times to let each district or ward know what area the fire was in. One ring for ward one two rings for ward 2 and so on. The tower was in the median of Broadway at 11th street. In 1905 the tower was dismantled, But parts of it were kept. Some of the steel was bought by Arthur Bussey and Alex Reid. Edward Massey purchased the fence around it and placed it around his home at 820 3rd avenue. The bell went to the fire department at 2nd Avenue and 10th Street. I ran across an article that stated that in 1940 part of the tower, 40 or 50 feet of it had been moved to a farm out Pierce Chapel Road that belonged to a family by the name of Campbell. They were using it to put their water tank on. The pictures below show the vicinty in which the old bell tower would have been. The house where the fence was moved to still stands. There is a black metal or wrought iron fence in front of it. It also appears there is similar fencing on the houses to either side of this house. I do not know if this could be the fence or part of it or not. I would have liked a better picture of the house. I thought I had a perfect picture of it. Right as I snapped the house some one came out and was wondering what I was doing I guess I got spooked and my arm jumped. That reb blob to the left is my sleeve. I told them about the bell tower and the fence. They had no idea, that someting historical just might be in front of that house! See, it just goes to show you never know what is or may be around you! We could all be within feet of something historical or significant and not even know it!
Today Lakebottom Park is a nice place to go. It has a walking/running trail, tennis courts, and playground. It has not always looked the way it does today. The park began around 1888. It had a dummy train or trolley that carried passengers to it. Lakebottom Park was originally known as Wildwood Park. I have also heard it called Weracoba Park. It had a man made lke that was fed by Weracoba creek. This lake had islands with arched bridges connecting them. Boating was a popular pasttime at the park. There was also picknicking, swimming, fishing, dancing, a small zoo ball fields and possibly other attractions. Attendance dwindled in the late Nineteen teens and the early nineteen twenties, movies , cars and an influenza epidemic causing people to avoid crowded places all helped to lead to the parks demise. In 1925 The lake was drained and Columbus High was built near the site of the ball fields. The park is now where the lake once was. Houses were built on the remaining acreage. There is a small park called Wildwood Park a couple of streets over from Lakebottom. I have often wondered if this could have been part of the original park, it is just beyond the boudaries of the park that are listed below. Thanks to Vic for sending me on this quest, and to Donna for the e mail with her Grandmothers memories of the park which will be posted on the Do You Remember link.
The boundaries are North/Garrard East/Forest Ave South/17th West/18th.
This small park is located one street over from Weracoba/Lakebottom park's original boundaries. I always thought it might have been part of the original Wildwood Park but am not so sure now. This park is next to the Synagogue on Wildwood.
MYSTERY RUINS AT WILDWOOD PARK
These next six pictures were made and sent to me by Vic B, a lifelong resident who is familiar with the Wildwood/Lakebottom area. He, Debi Crockett and I have been having a bit of a discussion going on this weekend about the original Wildwook Park. Here it is Sunday evening and we are probably more confused than we were before! The ruins shown in 5 of these pictures appear to be round, or in a ring like shape. Something was here once, and if anyone knows please share it with us. Vic's best guess and mine, is that it was some sort of pool. Maybe even a fountain. I would also love to know if this could have been part of the original park. I doubt there is anyone still around who would remember this park firsthand, but if anyone has heard sotries has pictures or could provide us with any points of reference for the original park, we would love to hear from them.
FINDING MISS DAISY
The award winning movied Driving Miss Daisy was written by Alfred Uhry. Many of the characters were based on memories of people he knew. Miss Daisy was patterened after his Grandmother and her sisters. The movie was shot at least partially in Atlanta. The first house shown below is the house used in the movie. The second house is the one that belonged to his Grandmother. Both houses are located in the Druid Hills section of Atlanta. The third picture is of the "real life Miss Daisy's" grave in Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta.
THE WARM SPRINGS INSTITUTE
The Georgia Warm Springs Foundation was established in 1927. Many suffering from polio received help and relief here. Much of the therapy revolved around the pools. The warm water from the springs greatly relieved the effects of polio. The water from the springs is at 88 degrees fahrenheit year round. President Franklin Roosevelt was well known in the area because of his work with and visits to the springs. A resort called the Merriwether Inn once stood in about the same location. It was a popular resort destination from 1869 until the twenties. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine that eliminated polio for the most part in 1954. The Institute now treats polio patients along with sufferers of strokes, spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.
THE OLD POOLS
CAMP MCKENZIE/CAMP CALLAWAY
Camp McKenzie/Camp Callaway was an old Boy Scout Camp. It was located out Whitesville Road. Almost where the paved Road runs out. I want to say this is another of the camps we went to for Youth Group retreats at Church. It seemed so much forther out then! The area is now a beautiful subdivision called Callaway Woods. The old lodge is still there. I could not get close enough to photograph it well. Debi, who is a repeat offender to this site and the mystery picture I do for Columbus Georgia On Line says her husband Randy went here as a Boy Scout. He told her the story of how a man crawled in a cave here and was surrounded by 300 snakes. I would not be alive to tell that tale, I would have died on the spot at the site of one snake! I think I have mentioned my fear/hatred of these creatures before. Anyway, given all the woods and the water in this area, it should be no surprise that they might find this a haven! Randy also told her about how his Mom was worried he might freze half to death out there and was going to take him home. He begged her to let him stay. You can best believe she didn't know about them snakes!!!
JESSIE PEARL WOOLDRIDGE
On August 2, 1905 a terrible accident happened at the Pierce Chapel Cemetery. The Wooldridge and Fortson families and friends had been visiting with each other. On the way back to the Fortson home in Gentian (Gentian Road area in Coumbus?)the group decided to stop at the cemetery since it was on the way, to place flowers on the graves. After talking and placing flowers on the graves the group headed for their buggies. The adults were walking a little ahead of the children heard a noise and turned just in time to see a marble shaft 3 or 4 feet high fall over crushing 5 or 6 year old Jessie Pearl to death. It was discovered that the screws holding the marker had rusted. It was said the evening breeze was what caused the unstable marker to fall over. Jessie Pearl is buried in this same cemetery. Below are pictures of her grave and the cemetery itself. Pierce Chapel Road runs between Warm Springs Road and Veterans Parkway(Hamilton Road).
LINWOOD CEMETERY COLUMBUS
Linwood Cemetery is a beautiful and historic cemetery in Columbus. It was named for a residential area that was named after a book written by a woman who was living or visiting here for a while. Below is a list of some of the more well known graves and just some pictures of the cemetery.
1 and 2 . Tabitha Lamar, wife of Mirabeau Lamar. Founder of the Ledger Enquirer and 2nd President of the Republic of Texas. It was said at one time that her monument leaned.
3 and 4. The Confederate section
5 and 6. The grave of Lizzie Rutherford. Founder of Confederate Memorial Day.
7. The grave of Nunally Johnson's mother. She was the first local leader of the PTA. Johnson Elementery is named after her.
8. The grave of Henry Benning, Fort Benning was named after him.
The rest are pictures from around the Cememtery.
THE PINE MOUNTAIN VALLEY PROJECT
In 1934 Dranklin D Roosevelt's New Deal program created Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia. It was formed as a community to aid victims of the great depression. People resettled here in a farming community atmosphere. There was industry here too. The building below was the administration building. Franklin Roosevelt was here many times and sat in the chair that is shown below. Houses were built along with Churches a school and cannery and other businesses needed to run the community.
INSIDE ONE OF THE PINE MOUNTAIN VALLEY PROJECT HOMES
ROUND OR POLYGONAL SHAPED BARN
This beautiful old round or polygonal shaped barn is located on Highway 116 near Hamilton Georgia. This is right near or on the land my Great Great Great Grandaddy won or bought in the 1827 land lottery.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT'S LURKING BEHIND THE KUDZU
The following pictures are of an 1830's or 1840's house in Whitesville, Georgia. All my life I have passed clumps of Kudzu and being from Georgia, never paid much attention to it. I do now though! Beneath all the vegetation there is this old farm house. It has a secret too. If you look at where the wooden boards are peeled back or off you will notice a different kind of wood and more boards. There is an old log cabin within this house. Ron Rollins of Whitesville, our good friend and tour guide guide said that it was fairly common for people to build their houses over the old log cabins. Many of these houses are built onto over the years. Notice in one of the pictures how the window of the house is lined up with the window of the cabin. I don't know about anyone else, but I found this to be so interesting!
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS
White Sulphur Springs is located near Pine Mountain. It was once a resort area. John Wallace (Murder in Coweta County) spent his Honeymoon with Josephine here. In the pictures below you can see where one of the springs were enclosed and at one time was used as a barbecue restaurant. The springs were originally open and there were benches built of granite surrounding the spring. People would sit on these benches and bathe or soak in the water. You can still see the water on the floor.
ET in GA???
These very large satellite dishes can be found in what is called the cove, outside Woodbury, Georgia. These things are really big and impressive. They were originally used by AT&T and the United States Navy. They were then used by a group called SETI and Georgia Tech. This group used the Woodbury facility as part of their Phoenix Project. One of the dishes were refurbished for use as a radio telescope. It was used as a follow up detection device for the facility in Green Bank, WV. The project was to search for solar signals that were not natural in origin. In other words used to search for extraterrestrial activity. They are 100 feet in diameter and dwarf the 2 or 3 story building next to them. On a similar note...There is an area not far from Woodbury called Booger Bottom, near Warm Springs. Last year 3 people were riding in an SUV in this area and said a red swirling object appeared outside the car. The people inside all claimed that red lights the size of half dollars hovered inside the SUV with them. The incident was reported to the police and to at least one paranormal group. If you don't believe me or want to read a little more on it just type Booger Bottom Georgia in your search box!
THE OTHER VICTIMS OF THE MARY PHAGAN/LEO FRANK TRAGEDY
The tragedy of Mary Phagan and Leo Frank are widespread on the internet. Many books, articles, a mini series and even a musical have been written about the story. I will tell this story in a nutshell. My main purpose is to tell the story of the other victims of this tragedy. The ones who did not die in a factory or hanging from a tree. The ones who lived out this tragedy until their deaths many years later.
Mary Phagan was a 13 year old girl working at the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta. Leo Frank was a Jewish man born in Texas and raised in New York. He was the manager of the factory. On a Saturday in 1913, Mary left her home and went to pick up her pay at the factory and stay and see a parade. Mary' s body was found hours later in the basement of the factory. She had been murdered and possibly raped. The 2 main suspects were Jim Conley, a black man who also worked at the factory, and Leo Frank the manager. The trial gained quite a bit of noteriety for the fact the trial used the word of a black man to convict a white man. Leo Frank was found guilty and sentenced to be executed. Frank's widow worked as hard as she could to help prove her husband's innocence. Eventually Governor John Slaton read and studied the case and as he was leaving the office of Governor decided to commute Frank's sentence to life in Prison. He was not convinced of Frank's guilt. While in Milledgeville Prison a group of men from Marietta, Mary's home town, stormed the prison, kidnapped Frank , and took him to Frey's Gin in Marietta and hung him. In the 1980's Frank was given a posthumous pardon.
Leo Frank's widow was named Lucille. Lucille was from Atlanta and part of the Selig family. Her parents were Emil and Josephine Selig. Lucille's cousin Simon founded the Selig Chemical Company in Atlanta. This Company was sold to National Service Company which was once National Linen service, and is still around today. Lucille moved from Atlanta after the Lynching and returned about 6 years later, in around 1922. She went to work in the J P Allen Dept store as a sales person. Her Brother In Law was a manager there. When Lucille returned to Atlanta she lived with her Sister and Brother In law. She never remarried. I read where the famous writer, Alfred Uhry remembers Lucille as being one of the older women who was friends with his Grandmother. He is the writer of Driving Miss Daisy and is from Atlanta himself. I doubt Lucille ever got over the violent loss of her husband. She died in 1957. She was cremated and her ashes were carried around in the trunk of a relatives car until 1964. Even at the time of her death in 1957, they were afraid to give her a public funeral. Her ashes are buried in an unmarked space btween her parents headstones in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.
Another victim in this tragedy was Governor John Slaton. After Commuting Leo's sentence he left Georgia in disgrace, never to be in politics again. Gov Slaton died in 1955 and was interred in the Grant Mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery. Even forty years later the safety and security of his final resting place was a concern.
A third victim was Alonzo Mann. He worked in the pencil factory and saw Mary the day she was killed. He also saw Jim Conley carrying Mary's body. Alonzo was about 13 or 14 when this happened. He did not tell anyone what he had seen because Conley had threatened to kill him. He did tell his Mom. In the 1980's Alonzo came forward and told what he had seen on that day many years ago. He took and passed a lie detector test. I consider him a victim too because of the fear and guilt he must have carried for all those years.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
I looked up the addresses of Mary, Leo Frank and Alonzo Mann by using the 1913 Atlanta City Directory. However, in 1927 the Street numbers of many houses were changed, and possibly again after that. In 1913 Leo Frank lived with his inlaws the Seligs at 68 E Georgia Avenue. I cross referenced that adress and found what it was changed to . The above picture shows the lot that has that changed number. I have recently been in contact with the Atlanta History Center and was told that this may not be correct. They looked up the Selig residence in 1913 and found where it was on a map. Not just by the number alone. The map indicated that the Selig residence was on E Georgia Avenue between Washington and Pulliam Streets. This area is now under or in very close vicinity of the I-75/I-85 Connector, in the Turner Field area. The same pretty much applies to Mary's house. Her house was shown on the map to be on Lindsay Street, at the corner of Lindsay and Pelham Streets.
THESE PICTURES ARE OF THE MORE EXACT LOCATION OF WHERE MARY'S HOUSE ONCE WAS
THESE PICTURES ARE OF THE AREA WHERE LEO FRANK ONCE LIVED
MARY PHAGAN'S GRAVE
OAKLAND CEMETERY ATLANTA
Oakland Cemetery is a big beautiful old Cemetery dating back to the 1850's. There are several well known Georgians buried there. It is full of beautiful monuments and mausoleums.
WESTVIEW CEMETERY ATLANTA
Westview Cemetery is located in Atlanta, in the West End section. It dates back to the 1880's. The most impressive thing about Westview is the Abbey. It is the largest Mausoleum in the South East. This building is HUGE. It is also beautiful. It is 3 stories and has a Chapel and many people buried inside. It is really something to see! There are several Atlanta notables buried in Westview. Asa Candler (Coc Cola), Joel Chandler Harris (Unlce Remus) and Hugh Dorsey (former Governor and Prosecutor of Leo Frank) are just a few. There is also a Confederate Breastwork on the grounds.
SOME ATLANTA AREA FIRSTS
The first Chic-Fil-A Restaurant strted out in 1946 as the Dwarf Grill. It was started by Truett Cathy. The restaurant later became known as the Dwarf House. The original Dwarf House now Chic-Fil A is located in Hapeville.
I OWE A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO MIKE IN AVONDALE ESTATES FOR HIS HELP IN FINDING THESE NEXT TWO PLACES. HE HAS GONE ABOVE AND BEYOND IN HELPING ME WITH THIS AND PROVIDING ME WITH INFO ON MARY PHAGAN AND LEO FRANK!
THE WAFFLE HOUSE
The Waffle house was founded on Labor Day in 1955. The founders were Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner. The first Waffle House was opened in Avondale Estates, a small town right outside Atlanta. There are now 1,400 Waffle Houses in 25 states. The First WAffle House is now an Oriental or Chinese restaurant. Some of the very friendly locals told me that the Company is talking about buying the original location and turning it into a museum. I hope they do. Very close to the original location is the 1000th Waffle House. It has plaques both inside and outside with historical information.
THE HUDDLE HOUSE
Another Gerogia First . This is also located in Avondale Estates, in fact just down the street from the first Waffle House. The Huddle House was founded in 1964 by John Sparks. The first Huddle House is now a Pizza or Italian restaurant.
Longhorn Steakhouse was also founded in Georgia. The first location was on Peachtree Street. This building has been recently closed and a new Longhorn is being built. Longhorn started out in the early to mid Eighties.
This old house or building that stands in the middle of Turner Broadcasts site, was once home to a Jewish Orginization called the Progressive Club. This was sort of like a Country Club. There were pools, tennis courts, a ball room and other features here. I read where Ted Turner once live here also when he first started TBS.
LESTER MADDOX AND THE PICRICK
The Pickrick was a restaurant owned by former Governor Lester Maddox. It was well known for it's fried chicken and reasonable prices. The Pickrick was opened in 1947. It had a drive in area. Lester Maddox closed The Pickrick in October of 1965 rather than intergrate it under Judge's orders. The restaurant was located on Hemphil near downtown Atlanta.I was told that Georgia Tech housing now stands in it's place. I was told this by someone inside a capus security building next door to the GA Tech housing building. This campus security building was called the Ajax building. After putting pictures of the Tech housing on the site I found out the Ajax building WAS the old Pickrick. They didn't know they were in the old restaurant. The Ajax building has been recently torn down. Greenspace, the PC (politically correct)or modern day term for nothing now stands in it's place. In other words it's just grass now y'all. A sad end to what could have been a great civil rights museum.
TECHWOOD HOMES ATLANTA
Techwood Homes were the first public housing complex in the country. They were dedicated in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt and completed in 1936. The original Techwood Homes were demolished around the time of the 1996 Olympics and a new mixed income housing area was built. This new housing area is called Centennial Place. It is off Techwood Drive near Downtown Atlanta and Georgia Tech.
The Temple is a Synagogue in Downtown Atlanta on Peachtree Street.It was built in 1931. It is home to Atlanta's oldest Jewish Congregation, the Hebrew Benevolent Society. It was bombed October 12, 1958, by white supremacists because of the Rabbi's support of the civil rights movement. It was quickly rebuilt. This incident is mentioned in the movie Driving Miss Daisy.
SOME SCENES OF COLUMBUS
These pictures are taken from the Alabam side of the River Walk
ONE OF ATLANTA'S MOST FAMOUS UNSOLVED MYSTERIES , MARY SHOTWELL LITTLE
Mary Shotwell Litlte was a twenty five year old bank secretary. She worked at the Citizen's and Southern Bank in Downtown Atlanta. What happened to Mary Shotwell Little on October 14, 1965 would shock and unsettle the citizens of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department for many years.
North Carolina native Mary had only been married for 6 weeks at the time of her disappearance. Her Husband Roy, was a Bank Examiner. He had been out of town on business the night of her disappearance. On the evening of Thursday October 14, 1965 Mary went to Lenox Mall. She bought groceries at the Colonial store located at the mall. Her Husband was to return on Friday, the next day, and they were going to entertain some friends at their apartment at 1609 Line Circle in Decatur. After buying groceries, Mary met a coworker for supper. They ate at the S and S cafeteria at the mall. They might have done some shopping afterwards. They parted ways about 8:00 that evening. Mary left telling the co orker that she would see her tomorrow or later. She was parked in the yellow section of the parking lot on the Lenox Road side.
The following Morning, Friday October the 15, Mary did not call or report to work. The co worker told the boss about being with Mary the night before, and the boss called the Security dept at Lenox Mall. He was told Mary's car, a silver Mercury Comet, was not in the lot. The boss became worried and around midday went to the mall and found the car in the yellow section where or near where it was parked the night before. Inside the car fas found the groceries purchased the night before, women's undergarments neatly folded on the between front seats console, and blood smears.
While a massive search was underway, nothing else in the way of clues was really showing up. It was learned that Mary had some fears of being alone. She had also received roses from an unknown source. She was also recieving upsetting calls at work. She was heard to tell a caller she was a married woman now and could not come to their place, but that they could visit her at her place. A few weeks after her disappearance 2 gas station credit card bills were discovered. They were both dated Friday October the 15, the day after her disappearance from Lenox Mall. Both receipts had her signature on them. Both receipts came from North Carolina one on Charlotte, Mary's hometown, and the other from Raleigh. Both attendants at the stations were questioned and both remembered the person using the card. The Charlotte attendant saw a woman with a cut on her head. She was trying to hide her face. She was with a man who appeared to be giving her orders. The Raleigh attendant said they saw a bloody woman with blood on her legs. They also said she was with two men. This may be the last anyone has ever seen of Mary. No body has ever been found.
As hard as the Atlanta Police Department worked on the case and even with as much publicity surrounding it the case was never solved. Several people through the years have come forth saying they thought they saw a woman murdered. Nothing has ever come out of these reports. Even in 1994 the floor was dug up in an auto repair garage in Cumming Georgia because someone thought the body may have been placed there. Much more information on Mary Shotwell Little can be found on the internet. The A and E channel has a show called Cold Case Files and Mary was featured on that just this year. Mary's disappearnace has left so many questions unanswered. Was she abducted by an ex admirer or serial killer. The question has even been raised if she disappeared or was abducted at all. In all probability she was abducted. She was well loved and thought of by family friends and coworkers. It was said she was loyal and dependable. One of the more baffling aspects of this story is the fact she was taken back to her hometown of Charlotte where she could have been recognized. The fact that within hours of her abduction her car was returned to the same area and left with clues or evidence is also a mystery. It also raises the question of how many may have been involved in this.
Below are pictures of Mary's apartment, the C&S Bank where she worked, and the Lenox Road side of Lenox Mall. The mall has grown and changed over the years, so I do not know the exact location of her abduction, but the picture should show the general area.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
The movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed in Juliet Georgia. Juliet is a small town near Macon. Many of the buildings were brought in after the movie and are now shops and restaurants.
THE TRAGEDY OF DUANE ALLMAN AND BERRY OAKLEY
One of the biggest and most well known bands to come out of Georgia were/are the Allman Brothers Band. They were from Macon Georgia. The band was not the individual members. For a while they all lived in the large beautiful house shown below. It was known as the Big House. on October 29, 1971 Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident at the intersection of Hillcrest and Bartlett. On November 11, 1972 bandmate Berry Oakley was also killed in a motorcycle accident, at the intersection of Inverness and Napier, just one block away from Duane's accident. Both of these intersections look to be well travelled. I wonder how many of the hundreds of people who travel these streets know of the tragedies that happened there over 30 years ago. Maybe, just maybe, someone that lives in Macon will see this one day and think about Duane and Berry. Of course their music will live on forever, but maybe seeing these locations will make it more personal, They as men will be thought of and not just as rock stars. I visited their graves shortly after photographing the accident sites. I walked to their graves feeling like I had shared something with them that not every fan has a chance to share. Both men suffered untimely deaths , unrelated to drugs or alcohol. As long as there is music Duane's and Berry's legacy will live on forever. They will never be a part of Gone and Almost Forgotten Georgia.
I included a picture of the Napier plot that is located in the same cemetery. The middle grave belongs to Elizabeth Reed Napier she was born in 1845 and died in 1935. The Allman Brothers Band wrote a song called In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.
THE BOYHOOD HOME OF PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER
FORT MCALLISTER SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
FORT JACKSON SAVANNAH GEORGIA
ISLE OF HOPE SAVANNAH GEORGIA
THE OLD GIRL SCOUT HOUSE AT LAKE BOTTOM
Mr. Lon Gammage was a well known Builder or Contractor here in Columbus for many years. I have received several e mails from his son Lon. It is evident from Lon's E mails that he has a lot of love and respect for his Dad. I will be posting more info on Mr Gammage and posting more photos of his buildings as Lon sends them in. All of us here in Columbus are familiar with The Girl Scout House at Lake Bottom Park. My Husband Leebo, and I have some special memories of the house. When we were first married, almost 20 years ago, we would eat lunch in the parking lot behind the house. It was close to where I worked, it was also shady and beautiful. Below are comments made by Lon about the Girl Scout House.I really look forward to posting more from Lon. I also look forward to hearing from anyone else who wants to share the accomplishments of their relatives. Things like this should never be Gone or almost Forgotten! These pictures were taken from the Ledger Enquirer.
My father also built the GIRL SCOUT "little house" and donated it to the Scouts. At one time there was a plaque made of knotty pine that said this house was built by and donated to the Scouts by Lon C. Gammage. A few years ago I inquired about the plaque and they knew nothing about it, so I am going to see if I can find the exact date of the dedication and locate the newspaper article. Attached is a picture of the groundbreaking for the Girl Scout Little House. The date of the picture is missing. I looked back on old calendars and THURSDAY DEC. 2 was in 1948 and again in 1954. I believe the correct date would be 1948, 1954 would have been too late in my recollection. A picture of the house when it was completed will follow in my next email.
I am unsure whether the date it was built should be 1948 or 1953. My sister Anne Gemes contacted Sally Lassiter, former head of scouts attempting to locate the dedication plaque. I'll try to find the correct date and get a picture of the plaque and send in an update soon.
The Rosenwald School building program was established to improve the public education of African Americans in the rural south. Julius Rosenwald was the President of the Sears and Roebuck Company in Chicago. Booker T washington in 1912, gained permission from MR Rosenwald to use some of the money donated to Tuskegee to build six rural schools in Alabama. These schools were built and opened in 1913 and 1914 .In 1917 the Julius Rosenwald Fund was set up and located at Tuskegee. When these schools were built there was a real need for adequate structures and supplies for the edcation of rural black students. The schools that they had used were substandard. They often used Churches, Lodge Halls and other buildings.
In 1912 Booker T Washington found that there was $2,800 dollars left over from a grant given by MR Rosenwald. This money was used to construct the first 6 schools. All were located in Alabama. $30,000 was given in 1914 for the construction of 100 more schools, then in 1916 money was given for the construction of 200 more . By 1932 almost 5,000 Rosenwald Schools had been built in many states.
In 1920 the operation of the building program was moved from Tuskegee to Nashville, TN. It had outgrown and overwhelmed the small Tuskegee staff. Certain criteria had to be met for a school to be constructed. Funds had to be matched and support from the school systems had to be gained.There were several different building plans drawn up for the schools. They varied in shape and size. There were five urban Industrial High Schools constructed. One being Spencer High School here in Columbus.
Julius Rosenwald died in 1932. The last Rosenwald School was built in 1936 or 1937 in Warm Springs Georgia. It was built at the Request of President Roosevelt and named the Eleanor Roosevelt School. Many of the Schools operated until the 1954 Supreme Court ruling on segregation took effect and schools were integrated in the 1960's. Many, maybe even most of the Rosenwald schools have been lost to neglect or destruction. Some are still around and now serve other purposes. I will try and find and photograph as many of the schools as I can. Even if the school is gone, I wiil try and show it's location. Please visit the Rosenwald School Iniative web site. It has so much more information on this. It also has the different building plans for the schools.
Rosenwald School between Tuskegee and Notasulga
This Rosenwald is located between Tuskegee and Notasulga in Alabama. It is believed to be the first or one of the first Rosenwalds built. This would put the School as being built around 1912 or 1913.
Durand Georgia Rosenwald School
Durand, Georgia is located not far from Pine Mountain, in Meriwether County. There is nothing left of this Rosenwald. But, this was the location from what I was told by several locals. It sat next to the Church which is still standing.
Spencer High School Columbus, Georgia
This is the original location of Spencer High School. There were only 4 Rosenwalds built as urban High Schools. Columbus should be proud of this distinction as most towns did not have them. I contacted the Principal of Spencer last year and asked her if Spencer was a Rosenwald. She told me it was not. I later found out from a history book and the plaque in front of the old building that indeed Spencer was a Rosenwald. It was part of Lumus Industries at one time and is now the property of the Waggoners, a trucking company. I guess we should be glad it has not been demolished!
Rosenwald in Manchester, Georgia
This Rosenwald is located in Manchester Georgia. It is on J D Parham Rd. I will try and find out more about it. It is being used, which is a good thing!
Eleanor Roosevelt School Warm Springs, Georgia
Eleanor Roosevelt School was the last Rosenwald to be built. It is located in Warm Springs Georgia. It was built at the request of President Roosevelt. The school was built or dedicated in 1936. There are hopes or plans that it will be turned into a museum. I do hope and Pray that they will!
THE LIBERTY BELL POOL FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT STATE PARK
The Liberty Bell Pool is located in Roosevelt State Park. It was built in the late 1930'2 By the Civilian Conservation Corp.I have inclided pictures of the showe r room along with the pool. Just like so many other things from the past, it may not always be there.
Pasaquan was the home of Eddie Owens Martin, or St Eom as he liked to be called. Eddie was an artist and a fortune teller. People would come from miles around to visit Eddie and have their fortunes told. Pasaquan is located in Buena Vista, Eddie's hometown. Eddie commited suicide back in the 1980's. Much time and work have gone into restoring and preserving Eddie's home. It is open to the public on ocassion. Pasaquan has a web site with more info on Eddie and his home. The pictures shown below are courtesy of Lon Gammage Jr. They are very much appreciated as Pasaquan is always closed when I have been by there. All of my pictures are taken through a fence! Outside shots only. Thank you so much Mr. Gammage! If only I could talk him into being my roving photographer. I am already planning his next assignment!
THE MELDRIM GEORGIA TRAIN TRESTLE DISASTER
Meldrim Georgia is a small community located near Savannah, Georgia. It is also the site of a terrible disaster that may be forgotten today by many outside of the Meldrim community. Or not even heard of at all. I ran across a story involving a train wreck near the Savannah area several years ago. I forgot where I read the story and I forgot where the accident took place. I put the story aside and eventually forgot about it. Last weekend Leebo and I were in Savannah at the old Train Station tourist or visitors center. Leebo handed me a book about Savannah ghost stories. I was thumbing through it and just happened to see the story about the Meldrim train wreck disaster. It just so happened that was the incident I had read about years before.
Leebo and I jumped in the RAV (our baby SUV, the one that replaced my beloved rear ended at 40 miles per hour Jeep Grand Cherokee) and headed off to find Meldrim. We stopped and got directions at a gas station, we were led to a location that just did not seem right. It wasn't. We went to another gas station and were given rather vague directions that did not exactly pan out either. We finally got smart and followed the sign to Meldrim itself and ran into Mr Ronald Dyer at the post office. Being a Meldrim resident he was more than happy to talk about the story and point out the memorial in the towns park and the cemetery where several of the victims are buried. He was even kind enough to have us follow him to the area where the incident took place. He went out of his way to help us and I am grateful to him!
June 28, 1959 was a hot Sunday, the temperature was around 98 degrees. About 175 residents of Meldrim and other nearby areas decided to spend the afternoon on the banks of the Ogeechee River. Near the train trestle, very near, in fact practically right beneath it was a popular picnicking and swimming spot. It was here where they gathered to cook out and swim with the trestle towering over them.
Around 3:40 that afternoon a Seaboard Air train was passing through on its way to Savannah. The train was about a mile long. The train was traveling at a speed of about 49 miles per hour. Most of the train had made the trestle crossing. As the near end of the train was coming across the trestle two cars derailed. They were both tanker cars carrying butane gas. The second car landed on the first casusing it to rupture. Gas was spread and within seconds an earth shattering explosion occured. Fire was everywhere, in the river and also spread into the woods near the banks. Many acres were charred. 23 people lost their lives that day and in hospitals within days of the accident. Whole families were destroyed. Several young children were among the dead. Several bodies were burned beyond recognition. Many more were injured. The cause of the derailment was said to be because of the heat casuing the tracks to swell. It was also said guard rails could have prevented much of the tragedy.
The town of Meldrim has never forgotten this worldwide reported tragedy. Tons of information can be found at the website www.meldrim.com. There is an archive section with pictures of the accident and some of the survivors and victims, funeral notices and detailed official findings on the accident. The town has a memorial park with a marker with the names of the dead and picnick tables given in memory of certain people.
We could not get to the location of the derailment to take pictures of our own because it is now on private property behind a locked gate. However I did find a site that included a picture of the trestle as it appears today. The site belongs to Mr. Mark Newell. It is : http://ogeecheesojourn.blogspot.com/2007/03/fatback-grease-potash-water.html Please check it out. He has a very interesting story on there about two ladies who camped overnight at the trestle site! The picture of the trestle belongs to Mr. Newell, I am very Thankful to him for allowing me to use it. I have seen many pictures of the accident on the Meldrim.com site. Although 23 lives lost is a complete and utter tragedy, I thank Jehovah Almighty there were not more. It was a horrific scene, I find it to be a Miracle anyone that close survived at all.
BOOKER T WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL ATLANTA
Booker T. Washington High School is located on White House Street in Atlanta. Washington High School is named after guess who, that's right the famous educator mostly associated with Tuskeegee. In fact the statue located at the front of the school is an exact replica of the statue of Booker T Washington that can be found at Tuskeegee. I found this school several years ago when I was photographing pictures of Graham Jackson's house which is a replica of the little White House. Washington High sits exactly acrross the street from Mr. Jackson's former house. Let me tell you this school is awesome. It is not only huge but architecurally beautiful!
Washington High was opened in 1924. It was the first public High Scool for African Americans in Georgia. Some of the famous alumni of this school include Martin Luther King, Jr, Lena Horne, Nipsy Russell and singer Jean Carne. President George W Bush, Jesse Jackson and Rosa Parks have all visited this school.
The original building is four stories tall with six additions having been made. The school has an unbelievable cirriculum. Studies in Business Technology, culinary arts and Health and Human Services make up their career academy. There is a college preparatory magnet program. Below are some pictures that I took inside and out.
WHAT'LL YA HAVE, WHAT'LL YA HAVE THE ONE AND ONLY VARSITY IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA
The Varsity in Downtown Atlanta Is the world's largest drive in. It was founded in 1928 by Frank Gordy. It was originally located at the corner of Hemphill and Lucky Streets. It was originally called the Yellow Jacket. Later in 1928 the Varsity is opened. In 1940 the restaurant was remodeled to look as it does today. It sits on more than two acres. Many famous celebrities have eaten there. There is a glass case in the hallway with tons of memorabilia. I remember years ago seeing where Jon Bon Jovi ate there. I was so thrilled to see that he and I had something in common. Many times through the years I have wondered if it gave him hellacious indigestion as it does me. Another thing I could have in common with him! The Olympic flame or torch statue is clearly visible from the back parking area. It takes on a whole new meaning after the age of 40. After one glorious meal of hamburgers, fries and those fantastic onion rings Leebo and I both feel like we have swallowed that torch. The food really is great. Even for the health concious out there who prefer to keep their oil and grease in their cars, it is worth it just to go in and have a bottle of water and a look around! Seriuosly, they do have garden and grilled chicken salads. I have never had that there, but I have seen it on the menu. There are several locations now, but this one is the best! And the biggest. And the most well known. Check out their website for more info and history.
THE ATHERTON DRUG STORE EXPLOSION
On the evening of October 31, 1963 something happened that would shake the small town of Marietta to its core both physically and emotionally. On this evening the town of Marietta was having a Halloween celebration on the square. Many children were there for the festivities. Around 6:30 p.m. an explosion happened at Atherton's Drug store, just across the street from the park. It was caused by a gas leak. A spark from the basement triggered the explosion causing the floor at the front of the store to rise up. Some people fell into the basement where concrete and debris fell on them. The store was completely destroyed. Windows and store items were blown out into the street. The blast could be felt a mile away. About 35 people were injured. Seven people lost their lives including a young boy and his Dad, they were in the store to buy a Halloween mask. The once two story building has been rebuilt as a single story building. Today Atherton's drug store is the home of the Marietta Pizza company.
Several years ago someone wrote me asking about a place called Chickasaw Gardens. At the time I had never heard of it. I did find out that it was a dance club that at that time was considered a little out of town or away from town. I believe it was located at what is today the corner of Reese Road and Eastgate Drive. More info is in the article shown below.
THE LADY AND SONS SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
MY PERSONAL AND HEARTFELT PLEA TO PAULA DEEN
Miss Paula, my name is Jan Page. You do not know me , but I could be your long lost daughter, even if you have no long lost daughter we have a bond that is stronger and deeper than blood alone. We share an undying passion for southern food and Savannah, Georgia. That transcends everything else (sorry Mom). You have made a fantastic career and life out of my two favorite things and and you are my role model (sorry Mom). If you are ever in need of a quality control inspector (food taster) I would die for the job. What am I saying? Miss Paula, I would put on a rubber chicken drumstick suit and parade down Bay street with a sign (not that you need the advertising) in 100 degree temps just to work for you. I would wash dishes and live off of leftovers and scraps just to work for you. If you were to take me in My complete loyalty, love and gratitude would be forever yours and I would look up to you as a Mother figure (sorry Mom). If you are not moved by my begging and pleading for a job with you would you please do me one favor? Please pass this along to Uncle Bubba! He has Southern food too and I guess I could learn to live on one of the islands if I had to.
Radium Springs, located in Albany, Georgia, is one of the Seven Natural wonders of Georgia. It is Georgia's largest natural spring. The water has trace sources of radium and is a constant 68 degrees. A large, beautiful casino was built at the springs during the 1920's. It was once a popular spa and resort. It was a well known stop on the way to Florida. Sadly, trhe casino was torn down in 2003. I saw it several years ago before the demolition, It was a large white structure with many windows on the back that faced the spring. It was certainly eye catching from the road! The pictures below are how the area looks today.
THE BLUE OYSTER CULT TRAGEDY
On Tuesday April 11, 1978 the reock group Blue Oyster Cult was set to play a concert in Columbus at the old Municipal Auditorium. That morning a tractor trailer that was hauling equipment for the band was involved in a horrific accident on the Oglethorpe Bridge. The truck, coming to Columbus from Phenix city almost ran into the back of a car that was almost stopped in the right lane. The driver of the truck, J.B. Fields swerved to the left and lost control. The truck jack knifed. He crossed the median, his trailer slammed into a car on the other side of the bridge. Mrs. Cora Perry, a school teacher from Columbus traveling to Phenix City to go to work was killed when her car was crushed by the trailer of the truck. The truck then went over the bridge, plunging into the Chattahoochee River killing J.B. Fileds, the driver of the truck. Blue Oyster Cult played later that week. Two songs were recorded from the Columbus concert and included on the live album Some Enchanted Evening. I kinda wished one of the songs used from the Columbus concert would have been Godzilla. That was always my favorite BOC song.
THE MUSCOGEE COUNTY TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL
For several years I had heard that the old Cobis Nursing Home on Schatulga Road was originally a Tuberculosis hospital. I finally got proof of that this past Sunday when I saw the marker on the building. Seems like the old Muscogee County Tuberculosis Hospital was part of a well known TB study. Just last week I watched a documentary about the Waverly Hills TB hospital just outside of Louisville, KY. That place has quite a history! It is said to be haunted. Besides the documentary, there is a movie that was filmed there called Death Tunnel. The death tunnel was said to be a chute or tunnel that took bodies from the hospital down the hill to a train. Supposedly people were dying of TB at such a high rate that bodies were taken out this way to keep the other patients from seeing just how many were dying! It has been said that 63,000 people died there over so many years. I also read that the figure is much, much lower than that. TB was often treated with rest, solar lamps, sunlight and fresh air. one drastic treatment involved surgery to remove ribs and muscle. This left the patient deformed if they survived it at all! I wonder if that surgery was performed here at ours. The documentary made me really curious about our Hospital. Near the hospital is a graveyard with unmarked graves. I wonder if it has any ties to the TB hospital. The building served as the TB hospital from 1938 to 1962. It then became Highland House and then Muscogee Manor Nursing Homes. Many renovations and expansions have taken place over the years. If anyone has any info or pictures of Muscogee County Tuberculosis Hospital, I would love to hear from them!
1934 DEADLY STRIKE AT THE GEORGIA WEB AND TAPE
the story below came originally from the Columbus Ledger Enquirer. I had seen this article years ago and wanted to put the story on the site. I could nof find it again because I did not know what year it happened in. Just recently I ran across the story on Jean Arambula's site on Boogerville! Georgia Web or Webbing and Tape was a mill or factory that was located in Boogerville. I had relatives that worked there long ago. A million Thanks to jean, without her I might not have ever found this story again!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Striker Killed 1934
The Columbus Enquirer
W. R. Sanders Dies Friday at Hospital
Disorder at Georgia Webbing and Tape Company Results in Tragedy Three Under Arrest Officers Fail to Determine Who Fired Fatal Shot During Disturbance William Reuben Sanders, 30-year old textile worker, of 1408 Eleventh avenue, died at the city hospital at 5:55 o'clock last night as the result of a bullet wound which he received during an affray between strikers, strike sympathizers and employes at the Georgia Webbing and Tape company yesterday afternoon and three men are being held in the Muscogee county jail without bond pending further investigation of the shooting. Those who are being held in jail are: G. D. Beasley, 42, 1426 Fifteenth avenue, whose pistol was fired twice during the melee; G. E. Clarke, 36, of 711 Tenth avenue, Phenix City, who is alleged to have had a hold on Mr. Beasley's pistol at the time it was fired; and J. H. Tipper, 30, of 1600 Fifteenth street, in whose possession a pistol was found and whom witnesses told police fired one shot.
- Beasley Driving Auto
Mr. Beasley, who has been an emmploye of the webbing and tape company for nine years, was attempting to drive his automobile through the picket line at the mill when the affray started. He had been at work in the mill and was attempting to leave to go home. In the car with Mr. Beasley were his wife, Mrs. Beasley, Mr. Tipper and his wife; Roy Lambert, 25, of 1549 Fifteenth avenue and Mrs. Louisa Upchurch. The man who was killed had been in the picket line.
In addition to the fatal pistol wound suffered by Mr. Sanders, Mr. Lambert suffered a severe laceration of the scalp and Newton Taylor, of 1402 Tenth avenue, suffered a laceration of the face. The situation was tense at the scene of the strike following the shooting. City police, county police and Sheriff C. C. Layfield and deputies went to the scene. Some of the officers were equipped with teargas, but it was not necessary to use it to disperse the crowd. Leaders, advised by officers to do so, advised the crowd to break up, warning them that police would use the tear gas if necessary.
Mr. Beasley told an Enquirer reporter last night when he attempted to drive his car through the picket line, a man whose identity he did not know, jumped on the side of the auto and struck Mrs. Tipper, who is a sister of Mrs. Beasley. He said that, with the car moving slowly in low gear, he drove into a field near the mill. He stated that he had taken his pistol, a .38 calibre Colt, from the pocket of the car and placed it on the front seat of the car. After he had driven into the field, he picked up the weapon, Mr. Beasley said. It was then that a man whose name Mr. Beasley did not know but who officers said was Mr. Clarke, got into the car on the side opposite the driver and attempted to take the pistol from him. City Officers C. V. Cooksey and L. H. Raines, who had attempted to clear a way throught the picket line in order that the car might pass, were beside the vehicle at the time. Officers H. J. Jambon and F. L. Griffin approached the car and they attempted to take the weapon away from Mr. Beasley before he could fire it. Officer Jambon stated that Mr. Beasley had the pistol in his hand and that Mr. Clarke was grappling with him, apparently trying to take the weapon away from him. The officer said that he begged Mr. Beasley not to fire the revolver.
The pistol was then fired once, and a moment later was fired a second time. Officer Griffin said that he made a determined effort to prevent Mr. Beasley from firing the weapon and that at the time the second shot was discharged he had his hand on the barrel of the gun. Officer Jambon said that he finally succeeded in taking the pistol way from Mr. Beasley and Mr. Clarke. Officer Raines was also making an effort to prevent the shooting and was standing so close that he suffered a slight powder burn on the arm when the pistol was fired.
Mr. Tipper was sitting on the back seat of the automobile which was being driven by Mr. Beasley. Chief Homer W. Cornett, who with other officers arrived on the scene a short while after the shooting, took a .44 Colt revolver from him. The chief said that the weapon was fully loaded with full cartridges. Mr. Tipper was lodged in jail on a charge of carrying a pistol without a license.
He was released from jail under bond later in the afternoon, but was rearrested when witnesses told officers that they were positive that he fired one shot at or about the same time Mr. Beasley's pistol was discharged. They did not know whether he fired the same pistol which was taken from him by police and reloaded it or whether he had a second weapon.
-Witness is Quoted Mrs. Hattie Anthony, of 1117 Fourteenth street, was one of the witnesses who
told officers that Mr. Tipper fired one shot. She said she saw him discharge his pistol and that it was that shot which struck Mr. Sanders. Several others corroborated her statement, including J. R. Helms of 1510 Twelfth avenue, and Mrs. Susie Whatley, of 908 Ninth street. Witnesses told officers taht he fired from the back seat of the auto, out the side and toward the place where Mr. Sanders was standing on the right side of the car about even with the driver's seat. Mr. Tipper denied that he fired. During his discussion of the case yesterday, Mr. Beasley denied that he was touching the trigger of his pistol at the time it was discharged, although he admitted having his hand on the weapon at the time. He said that at least four people were scuffling over the pistol, including his wife, Mrs. Beasley, an officer whose name he did not know, another man whose name he did not know, and himself.
Mr. Lambert having been slashed by an unidentied person in the melee which accompanied the shooting, he was taken to the hospital by Mr. Beasley, who was taken to the county jail a few minutes later. Mr. Taylor, who suffered a cut on the face, was taken to the hospital by John Macon, of Eleventh avenue, and Mr. Clarke and Mr. Sanders were taken to the hospital by police. All of the injured were dismissed from the hospital after emergency treatment, with the exception of Mr. Sanders.
It was found that the bullet had entered Mr. Sanders' face under the left eye and had ranged downward into his throat. His condition was considered critical at the time he was taken to the hospital, a few minutes after 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and his death followed at 5:55 o'clock last night. The strike which led to the tragedy yesterday occurred several weeks ago when a part fo the employes of the plant walked out, resulting in the closing of the plant and it was stated that it would probably be closed until early fall.
-Ordered to Work
A small force of non-strikers was ordered to report for work yesterday, the employers planning to operate on a limited scale. Eight people went to work yesterday morning and when the information spread among the strikers a picket line was formed. The affray resulted when Mr. Beasley and the others with him attempted to pass through the picket line about 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Mr. Sanders, the victim of the shooting, was a member of Textile Union No. 1605. He was an employee (this is all the article I have, it does not say it was continued
LITTLE MICHAEL LORD
Many of us remember Child Evangelist Michael Lord. He was nationally known back in the late 1970's or so. Below is a picture of him and the house they once lived in while here in Columbus.
Back in the early fifties or late forties Conway Twitty lived with relatives in Smiths Station and attended Smiths Station High school. The care care place next to the house said he continued to visit his relatives even after he was famous. Pictured are the house he lived in and the car care place that once was the site of a gas station that Conrad played his guitar at.
DISGUISED CELL PHONE TOWERS
I have heard of cell phone towers disguised as trees on other websites and seen pictures of them. About two weeks ago I saw one here in Columbus for the first time. This cell phone tower disguised as a pine tree is located at Shirley Winston Park. The cell phone tower disguised as a flag pole is located at North Highland Assembly Of God off Moon Road. There is a second pine tree tower said to be near Williams Road, but I have not been able to find it yet.
links on my site
Going, Going, Gone
Odds and Ends
Do You Remember...
BEAUTIFUL OLD HOMES
THE WAY WE WOOFED
Did You Know...
OTHER AREAS AND COMMUNITIES
OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
OLD FAMILY STORIES
GALLERY OF ASSORTED PICTURES
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
MURDER SOUTHERN STYLE