Tag Archives: North Georgia Museums

Crawford W. Long Museum, Jefferson

2017 marked the 175th anniversary of Dr. Crawford W. Long‘s first use of ether as a surgical anesthetic in Jefferson (30 March 1842). Long first apprenticed under Dr. Grant in Jefferson in the mid-1830s before moving to Philadelphia and New York to complete his medical training. In 1841, Dr. Long was an astute observer of one of the social trends of the day, known as “ether frolics”, in which the participants enjoyed recreational use of the substance. Noting that they felt no pain, he theorized ether could be used as a surgical anesthetic and made his first test case removing a cyst from the neck of James Venable. Three witnesses confirmed the success of the operation and the absence of pain in Venable.

The circa 1858 Pendergrass Store building was transformed into an 1840s doctor’s office and apothecary to better interpret Long’s discovery, which paved the way for modern medicine. It serves as the Crawford W. Long Museum. After making my way from the courthouse to the museum to pick up a historic walking tour brochure, I had a nice visit. And better, I purchased a “got ether?” t-shirt, one of the coolest of its kind to be found in Georgia.

Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Jefferson GA

Uncle Remus Museum, 1963, Eatonton

Constructed from derelict slave cabins, the Uncle Remus Museum opened in Eatonton in 1963. Its location, Turner Park, was the boyhood homeplace of Joseph Sidney Turner, the inspiration for the “little boy” to whom “Uncle Remus” relayed all his critter stories in Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1880) and later works. Turner’s father, Joseph Addison Turner, owned Turnwold Plantation where Harris apprenticed as a teenager during the Civil War. A reconstructed blacksmith shop is also located in the park.

Carvings of many of the animal characters populate the grounds, which are a delight to walk around. I’m not sure who did all of these wonderful wood sculptures, but they’re a wonderful addition to the property. And forgive me if I confuse Bre’r Fox and Bre’r Wolf!

Bre’r Fox

Bre’r Wolf

Bre’r Bear

Bre’r Tarrypin

And last, but certainly not least, Bre’r Rabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --PUTNAM COUNTY GA--, Eatonton GA

Erskine Caldwell Birthplace, Circa 1879, Moreland

Moved from its original location outside Moreland, this house was the birthplace of Erskine Caldwell. [Caldwell’s father was the minister of the local Presbyterian congregation and this house was the parsonage, hence its nickname, “The Little Manse”]. Caldwell published numerous bestsellers but is best remembered for Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre.

When I was a teenager I had the honor of meeting Erskine Caldwell and interviewing him for my high school newspaper when he did a symposium at the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library. I was in 10th grade and Mr. Caldwell (1903-1987) was near the end of his life. What I most remember from my interview is that he was not a fan of critics and wasn’t interested in discussing symbolism in his work. He said it was the result of observation and the work spoke for itself.

The house and community are on the Southern Literary Trail.

 

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Filed under --COWETA COUNTY GA--, Moreland GA

Eagle Tavern, Circa 1801, Watkinsville

When the Eagle Tavern was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, it was thought that it was constructed sometime around 1820, but subsequent research has set the date around 1801, possibly earlier. The location of present-day Watkinsville was still a part of the Cherokee and Creek territories when the tavern was built and the seat of the original Clarke County before Athens existed. It’s one of just a few stagecoach, pre-railroad era public structures surviving in Georgia. In 1836 Richard C. Richardson bought the tavern and made numerous additions over the years. In 1934, the tavern was saved from destruction by Lanier Richardson Billups, who deeded it to the state of Georgia in 1956. Under the direction of architect G. Thomas Little, Richardson’s additions were removed, revealing the Plantation Plain original section we see today. It is now home to the Eagle Tavern Museum.

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Filed under --OCONEE COUNTY GA--, Watkinsville GA

Laurel & Hardy Museum, Harlem

This is the only museum in the United States dedicated to Laurel & Hardy. Harlem also hosts the Oliver Hardy Festival each October.

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Filed under --COLUMBIA COUNTY GA--, Harlem GA

Sidney Lanier Cottage, Circa 1840, Macon

Built circa 1840 by Larkin Griffin, founder and namesake of Griffin, Georgia, this was the birthplace of poet, flautist, and Confederate signal corpsman Sidney Clopton Lanier on 3 February 1842. His grandparents, Sterling and Sarah Lanier were living here at the time of his birth. Sidney’s father, Robert Lanier, was a friend of the Griffins and had a law practice in Griffin. He and his wife, Mary Jane Anderson Lanier, were in Macon for Sidney’s birth because of the availability of medical facilities. The house was moved from a nearby lot to its present location around 1879 and the front porch was added. It was remodeled again in the early 1900s. Today, the Sidney Lanier Cottage is owned and operated as a museum and event space by the Historic Macon Foundation.

In his time, Lanier was Georgia’s most renowned literary figure, penning the famed poems “The Marshes of Glynn” and “Song of the Chattahoochee”. He was also a well-respected musician, serving as first chair flute with Baltimore’s Peabody Symphony Orchestra for seven seasons and composing a cantata for the American centennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1876.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA

Johnston-Felton-Hay House, 1859, Macon

Designed by the architectural firm of T. Thomas & Son for Macon entrepreneur William Butler Johnston, this 18,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival mansion was built between 1855-59 by James B. Ayres. Macon’s grandest residential landmark, it’s also considered one of the finest houses in Georgia, known as the “Palace of the South” upon construction. It was the most modern house in mid-19th-century Macon, featuring hot and cold running water, gas lighting, central heat, an in-house kitchen and other innovations far ahead of their time. The Johnston’s daughter Mary Ellen married William H. Felton (later a judge) in 1888 and they soon moved into the house. After the deaths of the Feltons, Parks Lee Hay bought the house in 1926. When Mrs. Hay died in 1962, her heirs established the P. L. Hay Foundation and operated it as a private museum. The Hay House was transferred to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in 1977 and  is operated as a house museum and event venue. The Georgia Trust has spent decades researching the history and architecture of the house.

National Historic Landmark

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA