This Endless Search for Historical Markers

Saving history one day at a time

Archive for December 2008

Highs on the Highway

with 2 comments

I rushed out of Savannah, late as always. I think this part of my brain never quite developed properly. Actually, there are probably whole sections that could use some work. Handwriting is definitely in there. The spelling section is permanently understaffed with only a grumpy chain-smoking old hag manning the reception desk. I think the name-remembrance division shares the same office (I asked my girlfriend Summer for help finding faults and I soon realized that this game is not fun anymore)

So, I was screaming west on I-16, by far the most boring stretch of Georgia roadway. There aren’t even any exciting town names. Denmark: Have you met any exciting Danes? Soperton: Sounds way too clean. Dudley: actually Dudley is kind of fun, although I have lived with a dog named Dudley who was incredibly dull, so there you go.

I was driving fast because I had an appointment in Athens with some old Professors and I had to survey several counties before I arrived. I was still trying to wrap up “The March to the Sea” corridor and needed to hit several counties in North of I-20 and east of Atlanta; Newton County (it’s County Seat, Covington) being one of them.

dsc008771

In addition to being the site of important corollary action of the “Battle of Atlanta” I also attended a really fun wedding in Covington and I was interested in revisiting some sites from the Fall of ’03. As it turns out, memory lane is a dead end and I could only find the interstate motel where I stayed for the weekend. covington-motelAll the other sites of fond recollections will remain unfound and largely unsubstantiated. This could likely be for the best.

Before the flashback I mentioned important Civil War Action and I do not mean to leave anyone hanging. Covington was captured and torched in 1864 while the Battle of Atlanta roared to the West (see photos). Apparently the Convingtonians were left undefended and Union horsemen swept through without much resistance. Later, after the Battle of Atlanta, Sherman sent the left wing of his forces back through Covington before juking towards Augusta and then turning towards the state capitol at Milledgeville.

dsc00872dsc00873dsc00874dsc00881dsc00879

While surveying Covington and then on into Conyers I got the eerie feeling like I was being drawn into Atlanta. I don’t know for sure what it was, maybe the hordes of vehicles on the road at 3 pm, maybe the recently re-widened swaths of asphalt, the grumpy faces, NASCAR goatees, hip hop music and the teenagers, oh-so-many teenagers.

26aug08_roadconstruction2angry-driver12481999724_dd69cbfe203491_2All I do know is that it made surveying a little sweet slice of misery and I was becoming increasingly worrisome about the daunting task lying ahead of me. That day, however, I turned east, away from the big city, and cast my lot with the many others fleeing work and the early onset of rush hour congestion.

I eventually arrived in Athens uncharacteristically on time for my meeting with old (former and old) professors. After the meeting’s conclusion I ventured out on foot to conclude the days survey. Athens was a fun town to live in, even if it was for only 20 months. Graduate School was entertaining and quite engaging although I spent many weekends and both summers out of town. If given the choice I would certainly do it again, even if it meant returning to my pathetic monthly budget (not to be too specific but the figure does not include a comma).

Maybe the most interesting (and famous) Civil War marker in Athens has to do with the dubious double barrel cannon.dsc00896dsc00897 Rarely has an engineering and manufacturing blunder been so celebrated. The only positive from the story is that no one was killed during the failed test. This, of course, is ironic because the cannon’s creators believed the weapon would cut through enemies like a scythe through wheat. Yikes. Yet there it sits in front of city hall one big, shiny, proud, harmless killing machine.

With the Athens survey complete, I set off to Tim’s house to endure two nights of cat attacks and to make peace with my inner caprine.

More to come . . . Soon!

Written by 4baldtires

December 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized