HARALSON   COUNTY   HISTORICAL   SOCIETY

POB 585       Buchanan, GA       30013

World Wide Web site

http://hchistory.com

Answering machine

770-646-3369

Fax machine

770-646-1103


Annual Newsletter - May 2006

( Online copy at: http://hchistory.com/news/2006-05.html )

In the past year, the Society took courageous strides to reach beyond the easy grasp of its dwindling human resources to embrace ambitious new projects, as well as faithfully discharge old obligations.

The first systematic membership drive in a great many years was undertaken at the start of the year-long interval this newsletter recounts. Fruit of this effort includes renewed contact with our expatriate founding President, Mary Knight, and a subsequent in-progress effort to honor all those who have done great service to the Society over the decades.

We continue to work on revising our bylaws and operations to bring theory and practice into concert and make the ongoing management of the Society more manifest and transparent to all. This includes an annual budget review in April and the recently initiated online publication of meeting minutes. Using written ballots for the first time, officers were elected to fill two-year terms.

The Historic Courthouse in Buchanan, the reason for the founding of the Society, remains the meeting place of the Society as well as multiple other community groups. These include the Quilting Circle and the Haralson Watercolor Society, which both meet weekly.

The Courthouse also houses the Buchanan-Haralson Public Library, whose service to the community continues to grow. For this progress, thank not only its staff, but the newly formed Friends of the Library. Their generosity has created a new book acquisition money stream and has also paid for several projects: a multimedia mini-theater which promotes newly published books, purchase of a "magic" (cybernetic) wand which can read aloud printed text scanned by hand (thereby helping troubled readers) and seed funding for reconversion of the north vault into an adult fiction bookroom.

Our library's wireless Internet WiFi access point provided an example for the regional public library headquarters in Carrollton, which recently deployed such a system itself. During the past year, our own library has deployed a free global videoconferencing system, as well as the means to use wireless connections to feed audio and video from many places within the Courthouse. Society members who cannot attend our meetings, including those in other US federal states, or even overseas, now have the means to join us live if they so desire.

The library strives to be a major resource for increasing digital literacy, especially in the rural portion of Haralson County. To this end, last summer it hosted a free introductory course about this vital area of modern life, whose notes remain online. To serve the general public, the Society began providing online publication of directories enumerating social service agencies operating in Haralson County and Carroll County, as well as revealing census maps for Haralson County.

The library now holds a "public performance" license for most "Hollywood" films, which permits us to show them anywhere within the Historic Courthouse. Sadly, we still lack a video projector to make best use of this possibility.

Donation of a sound system, accompanied by purchase of a wireless microphone, has enabled us to host new types of events in the upstairs courtroom. This notably included two events honoring veterans of World War II, static record of which sits on our Web site, supplemented by offline digital video. Research into Vietnam service in recent months now also provides material for a forthcoming memorial program. Over the past year, the courtroom has also been the venue of a wedding, a musical recital and other meetings.

We began to publish video materials on the Internet during the past year. Most notable among these is the November 2003 ceremony rededicating the Historic Courthouse.

Buchanan, at whose center the Historic Courthouse sits, is undergoing rapid renovation, with extensive streetscaping, the opening of new businesses, and significant new housing projects in the greater area. Renewal is the ambition of Downtown Buchanan Revitalization, Inc. (DBR) and allied groups. DBR now runs the spring edition of Fair on the Square, while the Society continues to organize its fall edition, the last of which was the most successful ever.

The Courthouse and grounds requires vigilant upkeep and we have endured frequent turnover of the volunteer management for this effort during the last year. The beautiful antique yard lamps were repaired and restoration recently began on a moribund interior electrical lamp/fan fixture. To help control expenses, virtually all remaining incandescent bulbs within the Courthouse have been replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs. Conversion of the north vault for future library patron use has begun with the provision of HVAC plumbing. The FY07 budget approved by the Georgia General Assembly includes funding for this conversion.

Elizabeth Aloi Barr of the Georgia Archives visited with us to offer advice on organizing and improving our own archives, especially the safekeeping of very old materials. The furnishings of the Genealogy Room and south vault on the ground floor were massively reorganized, but reorganization of the collection materials themselves is proceeding slowly, for want of extensive help. Software for editing family histories and related matters was added to the PC in the Genealogy Room. Upstairs, donations of display cases, large handsome cabinets and other furnishings now lay the basis for creating museum-caliber displays, such as from the items donated by the estate of the late Mayor Evelyn Wade. A tiny exhibit honoring baseball great Whitlow Wyatt was recently deployed there.

We purchased a local antique mail coach during the year, which will be deployed outdoors on the Historic Courthouse grounds after refurbishing.

The Society is leading an effort to acquire the home of the late Mayor Wade for conversion into a museum, and the FY07 Georgia budget passed by the legislature includes $50,000 toward this end. But substantial additional private funding would be needed to turn this ambition into an accomplishment, and so we have made extensive photography of the house should the project fail. The Society has also become involved with the effort to save and preserve the ancient Little Creek one-room school building in the northwest portion of the County.

New signage promoting the Society was deployed over the past year. The Historic Courthouse lobby, whose "card catalog" computer operates during library hours, features a so-called "screen-saver" program which is active almost continuously. It displays visual material which always includes a 10-second slide promoting the regular monthly meeting of the Society. Outdoors, at the traffic-light crossing of highways 120 and 27, we have newly deployed our traditional marquee sign, upon which a new, 8-foot-wide, fixed sign records the Web site address and telephone number of the Society. Please add our Web site address, http://hchistory.com, to your list of "favorites" and our telephone number, 770-646-3369, to your "speed-dial" list. Outside of library hours, calling our telephone number will let you listen to a recorded audio message highlighting current events.

The Society hopes to honor the sesquicentennial of Haralson County and its seat, Buchanan, during the fall 2006 Fair on the Square and invites suggestions on how to do this. It also wants to find an editor to lead creation of a revised county history book. We expect to use a "printing on demand" service to make manufacture and distribution of this forthcoming printed work especially inexpensive and simple. The Society aspires to improve its efforts to identify and preserve local Native American and African-American history and update all existing family history chronicles.

We encourage everyone interested in the history of Haralson County and its preservation to become members. As you see, our activities often extend beyond history per se to enriching cultural life in general. People from every walk of life, whether newcomers or old-timers, contribute to our Society, and we are committed to making everyone feel welcome. Currently, we meet regularly at the Historic Courthouse in Buchanan, the second Monday of each month at 6:30PM, Decembers excepting. Y'all come join us next time!!!

- Ron Feigenblatt, Publicity Chair