Haralson County Historical Society
State of the Society - December 2007

Mrs. Karen Higgins, President


HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2006

Genealogy Library - We hired Lisa Tamasi as our archivist. She did tremendous work in sorting and organizing the pictures, books, records and files that have been stored in the vault for years. Mr. and Mrs. Adams generously created a digital scanned copy of our county marriage records during their research visit with us. We continue to purchase books useful for history and genealogy research and information and make available an Internet computer and scanner for all visitors. This year the Friends of the Library ran an experimental multimedia theater featuring book discussion programs during most library hours, including many books with a historical theme; sadly it was underused and closed.

The Heritage Hall of Fame was established to honor notable local people. This began by hanging illustrated biographies of Whitlow Wyatt, Tom Murphy and Leroy Almon on the walls in the Historic Courthouse.

The Society purchased the home of the late Buchanan Mayor Evelyn Wade. The Sanford-Wade Heritage House Trustees was established with the goal to open the house as a museum in the near future.

The Haralson County Historical Society joined the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Genealogical Society, the Georgia Humanities Council, and the Haralson County Chamber of Commerce. It started online publication of its business meeting minutes, remanufactured and relocated its outdoor marquee sign, and began using the card catalog PC in the Public Library to exhibit and advertise via its screensaver program. This year our business meetings started using both audio and video teleconferencing to enable participation by off-site parties.

The Socie ty applied for the traveling Smithsonian exhibit: "Key Ingredients: America by Food". This exhibit looks at how food has shaped communities throughout the country.

In January the Society produced a ceremony at the Historic Courthouse honoring World War II veterans, in conjunction with the local chapter of Disabled American Veterans. In February it created an online exhibit based on research into the loss of a local soldier during the Vietnam War. In March it published digests of the US census in 1990 and 2000 for Haralson County.

We hosted the Pumpkin Caper in October. This event is not a fundraiser for the Society. It is our "thank you" to the community for their support throughout the year.

We also hosted the "Festival of Trees" in December". Santa made an appearance, the Society had a bake sale and we also awarded a $50 "People’s Choice" tree-design award!! This year’s winner was the Buchanan Elementary School Choir!

Our big event of the year was our Fall Festival, celebrating the 150th birthday of Haralson County. Several Society members dressed in 1856-era costume. Dr. Ron Feigenblatt choreographed a re-enactment of the 1856 Presidential election with 2006 county residents voting for 1856 candidates!!

HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2007

IN MEMORIAM: We lost our very dear friend former Buchanan Mayor Clovis Momon in March. Clovis was a past Society leader and long-time supporter of the Society. We have established a scholarship fund in her name. Donations can be made to the Clovis B. Momon Scholarship Fund at the First National Bank in Buchanan or by mail: Haralson County Historical Society Attn: Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 585, Buchanan GA 30113. The Society is selling Rada Cutlery on a regular basis with all proceeds going directly to the fund.

IN MEMORIAM: Thomas B. Murphy – decades-long Georgia House Speaker and life member of the Society, this son of Bremen and veteran Historic Cour thouse attorney passed away in December. His funeral was held on December 22nd, which was also Buchanan’s 150th birthday. Mayor Jason Jarrell and Mayor-elect Benjamin Biggers proclaimed the day to be "Tom Murphy Day in Buchanan" during the anniversary celebration co-produced at the Historic Courthouse by the Society and the City the following day. We furnished special courtroom decorations, dramatic historical readings, document exhibits and a half-hour anniversary music video to mark this special occasion.

Great news! The Historic Courthouse will be one of only twelve sites in Georgia to host the Smithsonian exhibit "Key Ingredients". As the final hosting site, we hope to send it back to the Smithsonian with a blast! Our dates are January 2 – February 14, 2010 but we have A LOT of work to do to prepare!! If you are interested in volunteering, please call Karen Higgins at 678.644.0743 or 770.646.5799 (at home after 5pm). We wo uld like to have the exhibit open as many hours as possible so we will be recruiting volunteers to staff the exhibit as well.

The Society received the Georgia Historical Society’s Roger K. Warlick Local History Achievement Award in the category of Media Projects for "The 1856 Handbook". Since Ron Feigenblatt took the time to put the project together, we had him travel to Savannah in April to receive the award! Congratulations and Thank You Ron!

We hope to publish a brand-new county history book in 2008, using a chronology design. Editor Lisa Tamasi and staffer Ron Feigenblatt researched and wrote a timeline for the Buchanan sesquicentennial, which began creating some first-draft copy for the book. A modern used PC and software were purchased to support this work. We also evaluated a sample book from of our proposed printing-on-demand subcontractor.

The Society marked Black History Month for the first time with a month-long trial subscription to the "Oxford African American Studies Center", a new online project of Britain's Oxford University Press.

The Society helped recreate the 1891 whistle-stop visit of US President Harrison to Tallapoosa at the Tallapoosa Historical Society's annual Dogwood Fair in April. We provided research, dialog, actors, costumes, props and tons of enthusiasm! We also entered a Society float and arranged for "the President" to ride in a miniature train in the associated parade. This historic recreation was reprised in October as part of an expanded 2007 production of the traditional play and video, "From Possum Snout To Tallapoosa," for which we also lent a simulated vintage Edison cylinder player.

The Society part icipated in a ceremony at Bethany Baptist Church in June at which the Sons of the American Revolution marked the grave of Revolutionary War veteran Alexander Goggans. During the year we also staffed booths at multiple community fairs, President Higgins twice appeared on local radio, and we played with archival online publication of business media audio and video. We also awarded Mrs. Peggy Kimball, the Society's longest-serving president, the new honorific title "County Family Historian".

The Little Creek Schoolhouse Board of Trustees was established and the countryside schoolhouse was moved next to the Commissioners Office in Buchanan to begin restoration work. The goal is to use LCSH as a Welcome Center.

Our Fall Festival theme was "Welcome to ‘57" as we celebrated Buchanan’s 150th birthday (1857) and had fun with 1957! Several Society and DBR members were clad in 1950’s-era costume while Ron Feigenblatt provided 1957 newsreels, shorts and ads on TVs upstairs in the Historic Courthouse. We also did a limited rerun of the "Decision 1856" mock election, adding new audio programming and documents this year. We even remembered 1907 with a performance of the classic song "Row Us Over The Tide."

This year’s Pumpkin Caper was a huge success. We added a moonwalk (from an outside vendor), a pie-eating contest (with the pies donated from Waffle House in Bremen), a story-teller and fortune-teller. We also continued the 1957 theme with a Sputnik model exhibit and encouraged children to decorate pumpkins with a "space-age" design. The Boy Scouts ran the children’s games and donated all proceeds to the Public Library. The Buchanan KOP ran the pie-eating contest to raise funds for their work. A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who helped make the Caper a success!!

At the Historic Courthouse, architecturally appropriate fencing was installed around the air conditioning compressors for safety and aesthetic reasons. Roy Black installed and painted new front doors and did an outstanding job! Roof repairs await the purchase of matching slate tiles. Inside, on the first floor, we added a large Society banner and an 1856 US flag as permanent decorations. We also mounted a set of bulletin boards to display rotating Society exhibits, the first of which is the Buchanan, GA historical timeline. The Friends of the Library recarpeted the main reading room after our floor repairs and replaced dysfunctional, ancient window-blinds with fine new units. On the second floor, we installed three handsome new chandeliers to replace the single bare light bulbs used previously.

The Society w as approached in November by Ken Wheeler, author of a movie script called "Dixie Times". He hopes Country Music Television will produce it and he reports they are very interested. He wants to film 4 or 5 scenes in the courtroom and one scene outside the Historic Courthouse. Stay tuned for updates!!

ONWARD TO 2008

The Historical Society plans to host a State University of West Georgia traveling exhibit this fall. "Biscuits, Cornbread, and Teacakes: Baking Traditions in the West Georgia Piedmont" looks at family baking traditions and while methods or ingredients used in baking may have evolved over the generations, the roots of the traditions have remained the same. This exhibit will be a good "warm-up" for the "Key Ingredients" exhibit!

The 2007 Pumpkin Caper was such a success, the Society is looking at other ways to expand the "festivities". We would like to keep the pie-eating contest and moonwalk. If you have any new ideas for use to consider, please let us know!

If the Society can get grant money to purchase a digital projector and movie screen, we would like to start a monthly "movie night" at the Historic Courthouse. Imagine sitting in the courtroom and viewing such classics as "To Kill A Mockingbird" or "The Grapes of Wrath".

As always, we need volunteers!! We do all of the above with less than 10 regular members!! We meet the 2nd Monday of each month at the Historic Courthouse at 6:30pm. Anyone and everyone is welcome. Come to a meeting and try us out!

And don’t forget: hchistory.com



Karen Higgins


You must give some time to your
fellow men. Even if it's a little
thing, do something for others-
something for which you get no pay
but the privilege of doing it.

- Albert Schweitzer




Variant published in the local newspapers