Lakepoint Station

A school fundraiser this evening took us to Lakepoint Station, a Family Entertainment Center (“FEC”) at Lakepoint Sporting Community in Emerson, Georgia, a “premier sports vacation destination… home to several world-class venues” and “a must-visit location for travel sports since 2013.” I admit that this is not exactly my cup of tea (entirely too much attention is paid to SPORTS in this country), although I’m happy that it’s bringing money into the area. Lakepoint Station itself features video games, miniature golf, a hall of mirrors, a laser tag room, and a rock climbing wall; I think the idea behind it is that mom can take the younger siblings here while dad watches his eldest play in his Little League tournament. I will say that this historian appreciated the theme of Lakepoint Station, which was Bartow County’s history of mining and railroads. A structure out back takes the form of a large rock, which houses various attractions hosted by “Miner Joe,” and outside children can pan for gems in a long sluice. The miniature golf course has various railroad accoutrements, a decorative caboose sits on site, and the venue is right next to the functioning Western and Atlantic Railroad. Best of all, enlarged historic photos adorn the walls of the interior, so your kids may actually learn something!

The Georgia of Yesteryear

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via my friend Neal Brunt, a gallery of photos from Georgia in 1977. (As it happens 1977 was the first time I ever visited Georgia, on a family road trip to Disney World. My memories are not quite as vivid as these photos, however.) Check out number 17 of downtown Cartersville, and number 39, of the interior of the Varsity restaurant.

Kennesaw Mountain

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Some more local tourism: Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, between Kennesaw and Marietta, north of Atlanta, which we visited yesterday. The park is almost 3000 acres in size and contains a very popular set of hiking trails. Its historic significance is that it was the site of a Civil War battle in June and July of 1864, part of the Atlanta Campaign, when Union troops under William T. Sherman fought against Confederate soldiers under Joseph E. Johnston along a broad front that included the twin peaks of Kennesaw Mountain (Big Kennesaw and Little Kennesaw, pictured), plus Pigeon Hill, Cheatham Hill, and Kolb’s Farm.

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Kennesaw Mountain, scanned from a postcard purchased at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield gift shop.

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From a postcard purchased at the gift shop: “Union troops attacked the entrenched Confederates on June 27, 1864. This painting by artist Thure de Thulstrup hangs in the park visitor center.”

The Battle of Rocky Face Ridge, south of Chattanooga, starting on May 7, 1864, marked the opening engagement of the Atlanta Campaign. A series of flanking maneuvers on the part of Sherman and Maj. General James McPherson compelled Johnston to retreat southwards numerous times. By late June, however, the Confederates were too well entrenched across too wide a front, necessitating a frontal assault by Sherman. On June 27, Sherman ordered his troops to attack the Confederate positions on Kennesaw Mountain; the Confederates responded fiercely, inflicting some 3000 casualties and successfully defending the mountain. Some of them were induced to retreat, however, which allowed Sherman to return to his successful earlier strategy of outflanking his opponent. So the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain represented a tactical victory for the CSA, but one that did not halt the Union’s advance on Atlanta (which fell on September 2, 1864), nor Sherman’s March to the Sea (November-December 1864).

Some photographs: on the way up Kennesaw Mountain, one sees the remains of trenches that the Confederates dug.

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Atop the mountain, a replica cannon.

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And in the gift shop, some Confederate memorabilia, including Polk’s flag, Hardee’s flag, the Bonnie Blue Flag, and the original Stars and Bars. No Battle Flags, though, of any type! (Both Lieutenant Generals Leonidas Polk and William Hardee were participants in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.)

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By the way, the double-headed Kennesaw Mountain serves as the logo for Kennesaw State University, now the third largest in the state.

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And as of May this year, the lighted Skip Spann Connector bridge over I-75 mimics the double mountain (although this is not the best photo of it):

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Oakland Cemetery

Our trip to Atlanta also included a visit to Oakland Cemetery (logo from their pamphlet).

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It dates from 1850 and occupies a 48-acre site between the Sweet Auburn and Grant Park neighborhoods, not far from the King Center and the Georgia State Capitol. Numerous famous Atlantans are interred here, among them:

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Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind.

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Bobby Jones, the most successful amateur golfer ever, and a founder of the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters’ Tournament held there.

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Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor.

Of course, a large section is devoted to the Confederacy and the soldiers who died for it, whether known:

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Or unknown:

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At one point this obelisk was the tallest structure in Atlanta:

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Note, though, how they’ve tried to defang its message: all three of the federal, state, and city flags take precedence over the flag of the CSA, which of course is the original Stars and Bars, not the Battle Flag.

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There is also a segregation-era African-American section, and a Jewish section, along with the usual collection of interesting headstones and monuments.

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Downtown Cartersville

The first Bartow County Courthouse (4 East Church Street, Cartersville, Ga.) is now the Bartow History Museum. They were having a fundraiser today so we dropped by.

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The same people behind the History Museum are also behind the nearby Booth Western Art Museum (and the Tellus Science Museum, and the Teachers’ Resource Center, where I have taught for Reinhardt). The Booth is a large, state-of-the-art building, featuring art devoted to the American West. Some would say that it is out of place in Georgia, but I always enjoy visiting, and have learned a lot from its extensive collections. They were kind to host a recent Reinhardt Gathering of Friends.

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The second Bartow County Courthouse (1902), the one with the gold dome that one sees on the county flag and county seal, is up the street.

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As I’ve mentioned before, one of the catalysts for abandoning the first courthouse and building the second one is that the first courthouse was too close to the train tracks, and the noise of the trains kept interrupting the trials. The tracks are still in use; here is a train going by the fundraising event (which included an exhibition by the Gordon County Antique Engine and Tractor Club).

trainSlightly down the street is the historic train station (now welcome center; the tracks are strictly for freight nowadays).

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And if you follow the tracks just a bit you come to the allegedly oldest Coca-Cola billboard in existence (although it is continually spruced up, of course).

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Yay, Cartersville! As far as small towns go in this great republic, you can do a lot worse.

Oak Hill Cemetery

Some local tourism: today we wandered around Oak Hill Cemetery in Cartersville. It features trees and terraced hillsides, i.e. it is definitely a cemetery in tradition of Mount Auburn in Massachusetts.

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It dates from 1838, when it was the cemetery for Ebeneezer Methodist Church, but was acquired by the city of Cartersville in 1850.

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Famous occupants include P.M.B. Young, Confederate General, four-term U.S. Congressman, and diplomat:

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John W. Akin, founder of the Cartersville Masonic Lodge (hence the Corinthian column), Georgia state representative and senator:

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The great Samuel Porter Jones, Methodist preacher:

jonesRebecca Latimer Felton, the first woman member of the United States Senate. 

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(It seems appropriate, given this woman’s unfortunate racial views, to draw attention to a website about the last two lynchings of African-American men in Cartersville: Jesse McCorkle in 1916, and John Willie Clark in 1930.)

Then there are all the interesting headstones:

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Apparently the Woodmen of the World used to provide distinctive wood-themed headstones for their members:

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Panel at the Funk

I was pleased to attend an interdisciplinary panel last night in the Funk Heritage Center entitled “The Etowah River: History, Ecology, Literature.” Organized by Donna Little, professor of English at Reinhardt, it also served as a kick-off event for Reinhardt’s new low-residency Master of Fine Arts program, currently organized around the theme of “Story and Place in the New South.”

The Etowah River begins near Dahlonega, Georgia, flows southwards and then eastwards, passes through Canton (the seat of Cherokee County and seven miles south of Reinhardt), and then joins the Oostanaula at Rome. The resulting river is named the Coosa; this becomes the Alabama River near Montgomery, and empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile.

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Donna Little speaks at the Funk Heritage Center, 4/20/16.

Dr. Little opened the night’s proceedings by showing a map of the area. Nowadays we are used to thinking in terms of I-75 and I-575, the north-south freeways leading to Atlanta, but the Etowah and the Oostanaula run east-west, and that’s the direction that Indians would have been familiar with: thus the Mississippian Etowah Mounds in Cartersville, and New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, which was not in the middle of nowhere in north Georgia, but on the Oostanaula, which was a major thoroughfare.

Speaking of the Cherokee (who, it must be said, were only resident in north Georgia from the 1780s or thereabouts), Dr. Little publicly unveiled a discovery of hers: that during the expulsion of the Cherokee Indians during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, a group of Cherokee actually encamped on what was to become Reinhardt’s campus. Lloyd Marlin’s History of Cherokee County (1932) quotes the now-lost journal of Nathaniel Reinhardt (the father brother of Augustus Reinhardt, who was the co-founder of RU on his family’s land). It reads:

In 1835, Father [i.e. Nathaniel’s father Lewis Reinhardt] bought a tract of land on the old Pinelog Road [i.e. today’s GA-140] some two miles from his mill-place, improved it and in the latter part of 1835 he moved on it.

1838… In the spring many U.S. soldiers were passing through the country for the purpose of collecting and removing the Cherokee Indians to the West. They frequently lodged at night at Father’s Saw old Foekiller, a neighbor Indian, just after he had been arrested by the soldiers, who were carrying him to Fort Buffington. They treated him rather cruelly, which excited my sympathies very much in his favor. The old Indian desired to see father, who solicited better treatment in his behalf. He left all his keys with Father. After the Indians had been collected by the soldiers and started on their final march off, they came near our house the first night and camped, I caught the measles from a soldier who lodged with us that night, and had them severely. One of the neighbors came and stayed the night at Father’s from fear of injury by the Indians.

[Emphasis added. Fort Buffington was thirteen miles from Waleska and the distance is certainly walkable in a day.]

The need for a Trail of Tears monument on Reinhardt’s campus (not just an exhibit at the Funk) is very great.

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Ken Wheeler.

Reinhardt History Professor Kenneth Wheeler followed with a talk on the human relationships along the Etowah River, particularly the gold rush of the 1820s and the antebellum iron industry, both of which were ecologically disastrous. He also mentioned how Reinhardt co-founder John Sharp had promoted a steamboat service between Canton and Rome, and how William Nickerson attempted to dredge the Etowah for gold – although the attempt proved uneconomical, and Nickerson later opened a sawmill. Presumably all these characters will appear in Dr. Wheeler’s upcoming book.

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Keith Ray and Diane Minick.

Keith Ray, adjunct professor of biology at Reinhardt (a Reinhardt graduate and Ph.D. candidate at Auburn), mentioned how the Etowah valley is one of about five or six places in the world which, for the past 100 million years or so, has neither been under water, nor under glaciers. This remarkable stability has produced a vast abundance of plant and animal species. (I had no idea this area was so ecologically diverse.) Environmentalists Joe Cook of the Coosa River Basin Initiative and Diane Minick of the Upper Etowah River Alliance spoke of the importance of maintaining this diversity.

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Laurence Stacey.

Laurence Stacey, adjunct professor of English at Reinhardt, ended the evening by reading some haiku.

Adairsville

Some more local tourism: the town of Adairsville, Georgia, through which Andrews’ Raiders passed in 1862 in the commandeered General.

The historic downtown looks nice.

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adairsville2The old station is now a museum, temporarily closed.

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The mural on the side depicts the Locomotive Chase, with the Texas in pursuit, running backwards.

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The Chase is immortalized in the city seal. It only depicts the Texas though.

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The city sponsors a Great Locomotive Chase Arts and Crafts festival in September and October.

UPDATE: I have discovered that the City of Kennesaw also has a train-seal, featuring the General!

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Local Tourism

Hosting guests this weekend took me to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia. It has been a while since I last visited and I’m pleased to say it remains great. The showpiece is the General, the locomotive hijacked by Union troops under the command of James Andrews on April 12, 1862, thereby inaugurating the Great Locomotive Chase: the rightful conductor, William Fuller, first pursued on foot, then by handcar, and then using successively the engines Yonah, William R. Smith, and Texas (which will be put on display at the Atlanta History Center later this year).

IMG_2246The chase itself began quite close to the where the Museum now is, although Lacy Motel is no longer there.

Something else we saw: Cooper’s Furnace, one of the best preserved of the Etowah Iron Furnaces which Ken Wheeler has become an expert on.

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