This Endless Search for Historical Markers

Saving history one day at a time

Archive for November 2008

Special! The West Bank of Dunwoody edition.

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Please allow me to jump out of order a bit. And, yes, I do realize that I have a LOT to catch up on.

Last week I found myself in Dunwoody, GA, again. ( I suppose congratulations are in order to Dunwoody for their recent incorporation. Dunwoody cityhood rolls to easy victory | ajc.com Finally they have wrenched their futures free from the bosses of the greater metro area. Want to see a new project in Dunwoody? Well there’s a new band of outlaws to contend with now, my friend. Better bring your A-game.)

Dunwoody will be featured prominently in upcoming posts. This is true for a couple of reasons. First, and all the kids will tell you, Dunwoody is one heck of a swingin’ place. Just ask the Johnson’s, residents since ‘65, or the Rosenberg’s, residents since ’62. They know what I’m talking about. Second, my sister lives there and she has a guest room.

I was in town because I was on my way to survey counties in Northwest Georgia and because I was to be photographed for an upcoming AJC article. (The article was really cool, Historian catalogs Georgia’s Civil War markers | ajc.com and I REALLY appreciate Mark Davis for developing this story and giving us so much exposure)

I finally shut my eyes not long after midnight, hoping to rise refreshed and charming (if such a thing is possible). In what seemed like a few leg twitches later I awoke to what turned out to be a car alarm. Confused, I hit the snooze on my alarm clock, tried to answer my phone and, just in case, I tried to deactivate the panic button on my rental car keypad. These actions having no affect on the evil sound, I slowly directed my half shut eyes toward the widow and saw this scene:

Bam. Awake, sort of, but still reeling like a drunk. The trauma had given life to my limbs, but my brain wasn’t offering any assistance.

I somehow managed to get some clothes on while yelling at the emergency dispatch about the burning truck. She was a lovely woman, really, who kept her cool admirably while I cursed at her for her inability to tell me the location of the fire.

As I raced out to the fire several thoughts rushed through my little, sleepy brain. One, I didn’t realize that the WTO was in town. Two, I thought the Philadelphia Phillies won the world series last week. Three, Hezbollah? here? Four, Wow, Americans are really making bad cars. Five, is On-Star’s self destruct feature standard on all GM vehicles?

Anyway, I rushed out there seriously concerned that there might be someone inside. I soon realized that, if there was, they were by now just elementary carbon particles. That sucker was really blazing. To me, however, the oddest thing about the experience, because I know cars get torched every day (my friends from Oakland, CA can attest to that), was the noise. Shortly after running out of the door, the alarm died, (presumably after the wire burned) and I was left with just the roar of the fire. After being in a semi-conscious state of alarm, the noise was oddly calming and very other worldly (again I was not thinking clearly). This state soon passed as tires started to explode shortly followed by trapped gasoline.

A few minutes later, while I was warming myself by the bonfire (it was pretty cold), the cops arrived and a few moments after that the firemen. No kidding, the first thing out of the police officer’s mouth was, “I hope someone wasn’t in there.” Indeed.

After further introductions and some assurances that, “No, this is not my truck” I went and retrieved my camera. Later I was told that this is a classic teenage joy ride/detonation scenario. Kids these days have really upped the ante.

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The first photos featured in this blog were taken after the fire was doused and when I had just about calmed my heart rate. Apparently the fire wasn’t contained and more trapped gasoline exploded and re-ignited the sucker.

In the morning, when it was really my alarm, I didn’t feel refreshed or charming. It’d be more accurate to say I was singed inside and out. And more than a little jumpy.

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Written by 4baldtires

November 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Next: What just touched me? Do I really want to know?

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For this leg of the trip I stayed in another cottage Indian Springs State Park (Georgia State Parks – Indian Springs State Park). Again, thanks to Judd Smith and the good people at DNR for helping me make this reservation.

This area has a long, sometimes confusing and often tragic history. Creek Indians valued the location for the healing properties of the spring. It was at this location that two “Treaty of Indian Springs” were signed. In the first of the two treaties, 1821, Creek Indians ceded their lands in Georgia to the state for cash and prizes. In the Second treaty, 1825, Creeks ceded all land east of the Mississippi. One year later, however, the Creek nation decried this treaty as invalid because it was signed without popular consent. Creeks were so upset that they assassinated signer William McIntosh and sued for a new treaty, signed in 1826, which repealed many of the provisions of the previous year’s treaty. For more information on this very important but also confusing saga please follow links.

Treaty with the Creeks at Indian Springs, 1825 (Senate Doc. 222, 18th congress, 2nd session)

Treaty of Indian Springs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S.-Creek Treaty of Washington, Jan. 24, 1826

Treaty of Washington (1826) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After 1821 new settlers arrived at Indian Springs and they developed the area into a popular little resort town based around the spring’s qualities. I also went to the spring in search of liquid rejuvenation. My reaction was that by “healing properties” they meant sulfur water, and if I really wanted to smell like a match head then I could save myself a lot of time and just go swimming in the Savannah river (just kidding, not about the Savannah river part, though)

Indian Springs State Park is thought to be the oldest state park in the nation. In the 1930’s many buildings, including the spring house and adjoining stone buildings, were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to beautify our state and to keep young men out of trouble. And it really is pretty. The stone work is first rate and the setting is very nice. Indian Springs really is a quirky little community with pretty Victorian architecture, and I can’t wait to re-visit. Especially so I can buy some well-worn metal junk, which just so happens to be available in abundance from nearby peddlers.

For my purposes (that’s another way of saying: more importantly) Indian springs hosted (or was inhabited by) Sherman’s army on his “March to the Sea”

Sherman at Indian SpringsIndian Springs

According to the marker a detachment of Sherman’s forces was assigned to protect the town population and to keep order. Mmm. Protect from whom or from what, I wonder. Melancholy? Was the 100th Indiana actually a singing troup? Sounds dubious, but, heck, what do I know, I wasn’t there.

The park also has a 105-acre lake (see the many beautiful photos on the the park’s website Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites), which at 9pm after an exhaustive day on the road seemed too inviting to resist (although I’m pretty sure swimming out of the boundaries is not allowed). So after sauntering down the hill from my cabin I reached the edge of the darkened abyss. Nary a light was to be seen (really, I am pretty sure that I was the only person in this place) so I stripped down and eased my bones in. No matter how many times you tell yourself that there is nothing in this lake that could possibly hurt you, you just can’t help twitch a little at suspect noises (during one such attack I actually ducked under water in an attempt to hear an approach). Jeez. Click the link for an artistic recreation of the event!

Being from Tallahassee I have plenty of experience with swimming critters.

From this experience I know that 1) they won’t bother you and, more importantly 2) there are no gators up here! So after side stroking to the middle of the lake I felt sufficiently relaxed and more than a little fatigued so I turned forth and aimed for the darkened spot where I thought that I had triangulated as the location of my clothes. Close enough. Only had to stumble on the bank for about 30 yards groping with my way ignominiously over rocks and roots.

I went for another swim in the morning just to see if my visions were at all accurate. Oh, not even close. Not even the spiders.

Later in the day I surveyed Macon and was surprised, this being my first time in downtown Macon, to find a really pretty, interesting place. It also seemed a nice enough place to walk around, grab a bite and enjoy life a bit. I, on the other hand, had no time for such pleasantries and I was off again before my shadow could catch up, the Chevy crossover leaving a dust cloud in its wake.

Before crossing the Ocmulgee, though, I stopped at Rose Hill Historic Cemetery. It was amazing (pics).

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I had the place to myself, that is excluding a dozen state prisoners on work detail who were menacingly eying me, my wheels and my freedoms. Perhaps we had a failure to communicate? Who knows? They were, however, doing a fantastic job of landscaping! Rose Hill is built on, well, a hill (appropriately enough) just north and slightly west of downtown. Broad views to the river below and thoughtful, well crafted Victorian funeral monuments throughout. Among the significant personages buried in Rose Hill are General Edward Dorr Tracey Jr. (he of the cadenced appellation) and Alfred Holt Colquitt. Both men served in the war (though only Colquitt survived). In Rose Hill these men were buried not far from many dozens of their brothers in arms.

I hope I make the time to go back because I spent a few nice moments of an otherwise wearisome afternoon there, and its not everyday you get to negotiate through dozens of men in striped jumpsuits wielding power tools.

Written by 4baldtires

November 10, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized