This Endless Search for Historical Markers

Saving history one day at a time

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.


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.


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

2 Responses

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  1. Here are a few other webs sites with information about the GA Historic markers.

    GeorgiaInfo – Carl Vinson Institute of Government at

    Georgia Historic Marker – Georgia Department of Community Affairs at

    Historic markers Across GA (me) at

    Historic Chattahoochee Commission at
    (they do their own markers)

    Cobb County Community Development Department –
    (they do their own markers)

    In my travels around the state looking for historic markers, I have found several markers placed by either the UDC or the WPA. I am not aware of any source for information on these markers. I would assume the WPA has a list some where up in DC, but I have never tried to find it. My latest find by stumbling around was a marker erected by the UDC in 1919. It is located on Peachtree Rd. just north of Collier Rd. near Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.

    This site marks the location of the Confederate troops,
    (Captain E. P. Howell’s Battery)
    During the Battle of Peachtree Creek,
    July 20, 1864

    In the siege of Atlanta the Confederate
    Forces numbered 48,060, losses 34,979.
    Federal Forces 112,819, losses 40,060.

    Erected by Atlanta Chapter
    United Daughters of the Confederacy.

    If you are using a GPS that can download loc files, I can create downloads by county of all of the markers that I have the coordinates of. Let me know if I can be of any help.



    December 22, 2008 at 4:15 pm

  2. Will–Hey there, my sister saw your article in AJC and cut it out for me–then I realized we met once in Athens when you were just coming into the MHP program. I finished it in 2003 and now I’m working on my dissertation for my PhD in History at the University of Virginia. I work on Georgia plantations and am really interested in your work. I see markers all the time as I look for old houses, etc. My family is from Augusta and I’m down there every few months, so let me know if you’ll be back in that area. In the meantime, please do email me, I don’t know if I can be any use to you but I’m interested to know more about the project. Take care!

    Philip Herrington

    January 3, 2009 at 12:20 pm

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