Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Helen: An Alpine Invention

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Welcome to Helen brochure, ca. 1970s.
Georgiana Ephemera Collection, Hargrett Library.
Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, the Bavarian village of Helen known for fudge and beer was once a prosperous logging and mining town. By the late 1920s, the lumber industry had decimated local resources and moved on. Without logging traffic, the 1.5 mile rail line into Helen shut down in 1928. In the decades that followed locals looked for new ways to attract visitors to the area, with limited success. In 1968, after years of dwindling population and economic prospects Mayor Bob Fowler and entrepreneur Pete Hodkinson met with community stakeholders to discuss ways to revitalize the business district. When local artist John Kollock suggested that the town capitalize on the beauty of the surrounding mountains and transform itself into a Bavarian village, inspired by his time spent in Germany with the military, business owners agreed.

Helen was reborn in April 1969 with a new charter that granted the city control over the exterior appearance of buildings downtown. By the early 1970s, the European ambiance was taking shape and visitors inundated the town, taking part in hot-air balloon races or a range of festivals like Oktoberfest.  A 1971 brochure featuring Kollock sketches encouraged tourists to “leisurely enjoy the charms” and “Old World atmosphere.” Despite the popularity of Helen’s German fa├žade, the town found many critics who bemoaned the campy commercialization detached from authentic Appalachian history. In 2003, Helen was the third most popular tourist destination in Georgia, behind only Atlanta and Savannah. The appeal continues to expand as shops and roadside stands on the outskirts of Helen attempt to allure tourist with homespun gifts, local food stuffs and several options for tubing down the Chattahoochee River.

Roadside stand on the road to Helen.
Photo by Kaylynn Washnock, July 2015.
Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tallulah Gorge: Resort or Resource?

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Early color lithograph of Tallulah Falls, ca. early 1800s.
Courtesy of Ed Jackson.

A site with remarkable vistas, ample opportunities for recreation, and access to healthful cool air and water made Tallulah Falls irresistible to tourists. As early as 1819, the Niles’ Weekly Register praised Tallulah as an “extraordinary exhibition of nature.” It claimed that although the Rapids of Tallulah were “almost unknown to any person beyond its neighborhood—it however merits to be known and admired, as one of the greatest curiosities in the U. States.” The travel writer concluded “the cataract of Niagara and its great whirlpool and banks, is the only superior natural curiosity to the Rapids of Tallulah.”

Hiking party at Tallulah Falls, ca. 1900-1910.
Dudley Mays Hughes Collection, Russell Library.

By 1877, the “See America First” campaign and more localized efforts of New South boosters to keep wealthy Georgians vacationing nearby attracted nearly 1,800 annual visitors. The completion of the railroad’s expansion nearby in 1882 and construction of several hotels during the 1890s had newspapers foretelling that Tallulah Falls was “destined to be the resort of the South.” In 1909 the Georgia Power Company began acquiring land tracts around Tallulah, recognizing the potential energy that could be generated by damming the river. Despite the efforts of the Tallulah Falls Conservation Association (TFCA), led by Helen Dortch Longstreet, to prevent the dam, construction of the South’s largest hydroelectric development impeded tourism and a fire destroyed the town in 1921.

Governor Zell Miller speaking at dedication of Tallulah Gorge
State Park, 1992. Zell B. Miller Papers, Russell Library.

New types of attractions soon emerged though, as second homes and campgrounds replaced the once booming hotels and boarding houses. Today tourists hike to scenic vistas or enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in the lake. Despite the dam, trails around the gorge offer stunning views of Hurricane Falls, Oceana Falls, Caledonia Cascade, L’Eau d’Or Falls, the top of Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascade and Pool. On October 28, 1992, Governor Zell Miller  announced the creation of Tallulah Gorge State Park including the dam, lake, gorge, and 3,000 acres of surrounding wilderness as a joint venture between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Power Company.

View of Tallulah from my hike in July 2015.
Want to find out more about Georgia tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Roadside Culture

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Roadside stand in Georgia, ca. 1960s.
Williamson S. Stuckey Papers, Russell Library.
Auto tourism took hold in the United States in the early 1900s. As long-distance road vacations became more common, entrepreneurs in towns along the route also developed offerings to capture tourist dollars along the way. Some took in boarders, while others started roadside stands selling produce. In 1937, Williamson S. Stuckey Sr. opened the first Stuckey’s roadside convenience store along Georgia Route 23 in Eastman, Georgia, offering cold drinks, snacks, souvenirs, and pecan candy. In a 2008 interview with Bob Short, Williamson S. “Bill” Stuckey Jr. reflected on the family business noting “my mother got the idea; well if they are buying pecans why not make some pralines, fudge and log rolls? So it all sorta started from there and grew to where we were in 44 states.” By the 1960s, there were more than 350 Stuckey’s locations across the country.


Letter from Lamartine HardmanPapers,
Russell Library
Not all roadside attractions received positive reviews from tourists though. In 1930, Henderson Hallman, President of the Georgia State Automobile Association, wrote to Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman concerned that “mysterious holdups and search under the guise of the law” had been frightening women and children “nearly to death” along the Georgia-Florida line near Jacksonville. In the 1950s and 1960s the American Automobile Association (AAA) threatened to place Georgia on the travel black list, citing the infamous speed traps and clip joints in the town of Ludowici, designed to cheat travelers out of their money.

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Roadside peach stand, ca. 1960s.
Ann E. Lewis Papers, Hargrett Library

Monday, August 17, 2015

Remembering Julian Bond

Our staff members were saddened to learn about the passing of Julian Bond over the weekend. A founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, former chair of the NAACP, as well as a former member of both the Georgia House and Senate, Mr. Bond was a talented man who worked for equal rights throughout his life. In 2012, Mr. Bond sat down with our staff to record an oral history with interviewer Bob Short. In the post below oral historian Christian Lopez recalls his interactions with Bond during that trip in DC.   


A few years ago, I had the great privilege and honor of spending a whole day and evening with Julian Bond in DC. Bob Short and I traveled there to record an oral history interview for the Russell Library's Reflections on Georgia Politics program. We ended up having to shoot it in a stark, spare room at American University. It turned out pretty well, I think.

Afterwards, Julian and his wife Pam wanted to treat us to lunch at their favorite spot. Without a word from me, Julian also identified the immediate concern of what to do with all my expensive gear for the rest of the day and evening, and took care of it. He said he understood it was important to me.
After a great lunch filled with much humor, we returned to American and Bob taught Julian's class on civil rights history.

Later that evening, we were guests at Julian's table in the theater at Busboys and Poets, where he and John Lewis were the featured participants in a discussion on civil rights, then and now, moderated by congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. It was a moving experience to hear those two men, so different in their eloquence, each so revered and erudite. That night, as Julian introduced us to people there, it was like being with a rock star. I was asked by a reporter with the Washington Post who I was, and initially I was not allowed towards the front of the theater until Julian stepped forward and said, "It's alright-- Christian is my guest at my table."

Julian Bond was thoughtful, funny, gracious, humble, and so generous with us that day. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Julian's voice and presence will be missed greatly.

-- Christian Lopez


Friday, August 14, 2015

Hitting the Road

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Image courtesy of Ed Jackson.
New South boosters like Atlanta Mayor Robert F. Maddox and Atlanta Constitution editor Clark Howell expected improved roads to further unite the North and South and enhance the South’s economic vitality through increased tourism and business.

Image courtesy of Ed Jackson.
The Dixie Highway, with construction beginning in 1915, provided an integrated system of improved roads connecting the South to the Midwest. The most successful product of the Good Roads Movement (1880s-1920s), the highway ran through ten states, connecting Georgia to Lake Michigan and Miami Beach. The dividends of this public-private partnership paid out quickly – nearly 7,000 cars bound for Florida, carrying 27,000 motorists, spent an estimated $2,760,000 along the Dixie Highway during the winter of 1916 alone. According to a Dixie Highway Association advertisement for sign posts, the painted white and red stripe telephone pole logo not only “added advertising value” to local communities but created “enthusiasm in the interest in the highway” among tourists from other states.

Image courtesy of Ed Jackson
Many Georgia cities along the route embarked on new building projects to capitalize on the increased car traffic. Building on the success of the Dixie Highway, the Automobile Club of America, New York, promoted the 1917 Dixie Tour as both restful and recreational touting both “the old romantic South” and “the new South of enterprise and initiative.” Aside from high-class hotels and natural scenery, the Dixie Tour capitalized on wartime patriotism by stressing how the South was home to “battlefields celebrated in the annals” and “great camps where our officers and men are now training to serve Uncle Sam.”

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through, July 30, 2016. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Exhibit Coming Soon!

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Bud Freeman showing off WAY too
many rattlesnake rattlers!
The Russell Access and Outreach staff has been hard at work all summer preparing the script and design for the new Georgia tourism exhibit. After finalizing a draft of the script, the real fun began: choosing stuff for the exhibit! 

Article Bud showed us about the collector
of all of those rattles (over 1,000).
Since the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is home to several different plant and animal species we took a visit to the Georgia Museum of Natural History was in order.  Dr. Byron “Bud” Freeman, Senior Public Service Associate and Director of the Georgia Museum of Natural History, was gracious enough to give us a tour and identify animal specimens from the collection that inhabited the swamp. Perhaps the most intriguing, yet also terrifying, thing we saw was a box full of rattlesnake “rattles” collected by a ranger during his time spent studying the Okefenokee Swamp. 


Jill (head of AOU at Russell) and me
holding the chenille bedspread purchased
for the display.
We also searched for a chenille bedspread for an area of the exhibit that will highlight roadside culture. Called “Peacock Alley” or “Bedspread Boulevard,” the section of U.S. Highway 41 in northwest Georgia near Dalton, became known for the peacock designed chenille bedspreads that flapped in the wind at roadside stands. By the 1930s the homegrown industry had evolved into a business employing 7,000 local workers.


Me taking a closer look at the 16mm
footage from the Sanders Collection.
Finally, choices had to be made concerning what audio-visual footage we would display on the monitors in the gallery. We were very interested in a reel of 16mm footage of a Welcome Center dedication ceremony from the early 1960s that had not been seen in decades and needed to be transferred. This film, along with other reels, were donated to the UGA Law School, who then turned to the Russell Library to care for and provide access to the films. We are currently working to have this footage digitized with help from our colleagues in the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and plan on using this rare clip in the exhibit. Other items I viewed included several from the home movie collection, also part of the Brown Media Archives. Silent footage of family picnics, kids frolicking on the beach and families loading up their campers all made frequent appearances in these videos and will appear on the opening monitor, welcoming people into the exhibit.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Open for Research: New Collections Available Now

The Russell Library is pleased to announce the opening of eight new collections documenting the work of a disability rights activist, a community leader, a member of Congress, two judges, commissioners of agriculture and industry & trade, and a press secretary for Senator Russell. These diverse collections include material for the study of economic development and agricultural policy in Georgia; the state’s legal and judicial community; political and legislative issues, including healthcare and immigration; and housing advocacy for disabled citizens. Follow the links below for guides to these collections.

George J. Berry Papers, 1951-2008 (bulk, 1970-2004)
George J. Berry held various leadership positions with the City of Atlanta, the State of Georgia and the private sector and worked throughout his career to attract international business to Atlanta and Georgia. The papers include correspondence, reports, board meeting materials, publications, photographs, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia.

J. Phil Campbell, Jr. Papers, 1926-1996
J. Phil Campbell, Jr. (1917-1998) was an agricultural expert with a career spanning over sixty years that included work as a farmer, Georgia state representative, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture, and consultant. His papers document his entire career and include correspondence, research materials, speeches, and appointment calendars.

Aaron Cohn Papers, 1931-2012 (bulk, 1945-2000)
Aaron Cohn (1916-2012) served as a juvenile court judge in Columbus, Georgia (1965-2011). His papers include correspondence, clippings, reports, programs, awards, scrapbooks and photographs.

Duross Fitzpatrick Papers, 1918-2008 (bulk, 1983-2001)
Duross Fitzpatrick (1934-2008) served as a United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia (1985-2001). His papers document his judicial career and his engagement with the broader legal community and include correspondence, legal notes, clippings, oral histories, photographs, awards, and audiovisual materials.

Jacob L. Goldstein Papers, 1940-2009
Jacob L. Goldstein (1923-2013) was a community leader and businessman in Milledgeville, Georgia. His papers document his civic involvement as well as his military career.

Earl T. Leonard, Jr. Collection of Richard B. Russell Materials, 1957-2007 (bulk, 1963-1971)
Earl T. Leonard, Jr., served as press secretary for Senator Richard B. Russell, a board member of the Richard B. Russell Foundation, and an executive with the Coca-Cola Company. His collection documents Leonard's personal and professional relationship with Senator Russell and contains correspondence, clippings and photographs.

Charles W. Norwood, Jr. Papers, 1967-2009 (bulk, 1994-2007)
Charles W. Norwood, Jr. (1941-2007) represented Georgia’s 9th and 10th Districts of in the U.S. House of Representative (1995-2007) and was previously a prominent dentist in Augusta, Georgia. His papers document his time in Congress and the legislation he supported through constituent services, legislative files, press materials, and personal and political files.

Eleanor Smith Papers, 1976-2014
Eleanor Smith founded and directed Concrete Change, an Atlanta-based, national organization focused on establishing home construction practices that welcome people with disabilities. The papers document her work to create visitable homes, in a move towards universal basic access, as well as her activism across a wide range of disability rights and justice issues. The papers are part of the Georgia Disability History Archive.