Stone Mountain Historic Society

January 2014

Greetings and Happy New Year!

2013 was extremely productive.  We had shelving built and installed for our genealogical library, accepted a number of wonderful objects into our collection, had great talks, went on field trips, and sponsored a number of successful events at the Wells Brown house and other locations in Stone Mountain.  The DeKalb Master Gardeners continued their marvelous efforts in the gardens and we enjoyed the fruits of their labor at our first backyard barbecue.  Our newsletter went electronic and we started a new feature where members talk about growing up in Stone Mountain.  Tug Tuggle and Annette Slaughter gave us some great narratives so watch for more feature writers in the coming issues. We received a grant from the Society of the Order of the Southern Cross to purchase display cases to better interpret and honor George Riley Wells, the builder of our headquarters and a major civic leader and merchant in Stone Mountain. Finally,  the Wells Brown House had a major roof repair and is now the proud owner of a new hot water heater.

Arguably, our most ambitious project was compiling a photographic history of the city in honor of our 175th year!  The incredible 1903 view of Main Street above is one of almost 200 views included in the book.  Many individuals and families opened up their family scrapbooks to share photographs that tell the story of their hometown. We thank George and Susan Coletti, Kim Cumbie, Eva Green, Dorothy Guess, JoAnn Florence, Rusty and Ann Hamby, the Hewatt Family, George Anne Hoffman, Diana Hollis, Hugh and Betty Jordan, Peggy and Jerry Mills, Pauline Myers, Jack Ogletree, Gary Peet, Jane and Otis Phillips, Charlotte Pittard, Robin and Jane Rhodes, Becky and Mike Sanders, Tug Tuggle, Sam and Frances Wade, Madeline White, David Thomas and Michael Hidalgo.  The real and virtual walls of ART Station, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the City of Stone Mountain and the Stone Mountain Woman’s Club were all searched for images. George Coletti, Sam Wade, Tug Tuggle, Ronnie Spain, Rusty and Ann Hamby, Gary Peet, Dot Guess, Tug Tuggle, Becky Sanders, and Charlotte Pittard deserve special thanks for helping with identifying individuals and events in the collected photos.  Jerry Mills brought to our attention the marvelous 1903 series of photographs of the village in the National Archives.

We hope you enjoy it! Published by Arcadia Publishing this week, it is part of their Images of America series which is an enabling tool for non-profits such as our Society to publish.  While the yeoman's work was on our end and there are no royalties, we are pleased with the culmination of the project which began over a year ago and we are pleased to offer it to our members at a discount. Email us at and we will reserve a copy or give me a call at 770-498-4155 ext 128. Your purchase from us helps support the Society!

Finally, we count on your membership to help us preserve Stone Mountain's history and culture.  We are sending out a renewal form so please renew your membership for the coming year.  I promise it will be a great one!
-Mary Beth Reed, President

Future Mayor Marion Guess at his 1926 graduation on cover!

What's On Deck - 2014

This year our city will celebrate its 175th anniversary. Plans are already underway for the Historic Society to co-sponsor a number of events throughout the year to honor the people who made Stone Mountain the unique community that it is today.  Everything from tours of the City Cemetery to a children’s street festival featuring old fashioned games (no electronic devices allowed) to a community concert are being planned.

We will continue building our digital archive and an intern from Agnes Scott will help with organizing and researching the photographic collection.  A second volume may soon be underway.
By spring our genealogy library should be ready to open for your use.  The collection is growing rapidly and already contains over 400 books.  The Historic Society plans to purchase an subscription for use by our members, so you’ll be able to come to the Wells-Brown House and begin to explore your family history.  Who knows what surprises you’ll find?
 Winter Events

Bob Bohanan, Talk, January 23rd, 7:00 pm, Wells Brown House

We are delighted to announce that Bob Bohanan, who served as archivist and then deputy director of the Carter Library, is our featured speaker for our January meeting. Mr. Bohanan will give us an inside perspective on Presidential Libraries and how we as a nation preserve the record of the US presidency.  His presentation will draw on his deep experience with presidential collections.  Mr. Bohanan became Chief Archivist at the Jimmy Carter Library in 1994 after serving as Chief Librarian and Chief of the National Archives and Records Administration’s Systems’ Coordination Branch. His nine-year stint as Chief Archivist ended with his promotion to Deputy Director of the Carter Library.  After his directorship at the Carter Library ended in 2004, he worked as a historian/consultant for the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation and returned to the National Archives and Records Administration where he worked until his retirement.  Back by popular demand, this is a return visit to the Society for Mr. Bohanan who gave us a really great talk last year.   Refreshments served.

Rocking at the Rock Gym!, Saturday, February 15th, 7:00-10:00 pm, Rock Gym, Ridge Ave., Stone Mountain

Join us at our historic Rock Gym for great music provided by Frank Luton, good food and conversation among friends, a photo exhibit showing more Stone Mountain views, and maybe a dance or two.  It's our annual winter event and children are welcome! Tickets at the door, $20 a piece.

I Remember, I Believe, Documentary and Discussion, Dr. Matt Matternes, February 20th, 7:00 pm, Wells Brown House

This award winning film documenting the discovery and relocation of what is believed to be a lost Middle Georgia slave cemetery. It tells the story of the Avondale Burial Place, an African-American burial ground discovered by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) during planning for the Sardis Church Road Extension Project. The trauma found on the bones, the large number of infant and children burials, and the protective charm artifacts found with the bodies tell a story of the difficulties of tenant life. All are evidence of their hardships. I Remember, I Believe looks at the history of African-American tenancy and the Great Migration through the legacy of an archaeological site and 101 burials and visually describes a descendant community’s discovery of their past.

The film was selected for two gold prize awards from nearly 80 world-wide entries in an international film festival devoted to exploring human culture. The 33-minute film, which focuses on efforts at the Avondale Burial Place in Bibb County, received the Best Script and Best Music awards at the Archaeology Channel’s International Film and Video Festival in Eugene, Oregon. I Remember, I Believe, a GDOT collaboration with Georgia Public Broadcasting, New South Associates, Inc., and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), also was cited by festival judges for Honorable Mention (being among the top three entries) in the Best Film, Best Public Education Value, Best Cinematography and Most Inspirational categories.  Dr. Matternes with New South Associates was the lead archaeologist for the project and will lead a discussion after the film.  Refreshments served.

With Gratitude

We want to thank everybody who made 2013 so successful for the Society.   In particular, Ann Hamby, Barbara Luton, Bob Bonsall, Wayne and Beth Snead, Pam and Thom DeLoach,Tug Tuggle, Annette Slaughter and the Morning Glories deserve special thanks for their volunteerism.

2014 Officers and Board

Mary Beth Reed, President
Frank Luton, Membership 
Pat Miller, Programs
JoAnn Florence, Secretary
Kathryn Wright, Treasurer
Rusty Hamby, House Manager 
At Large Board Members:
Averil Bonsall, Keeper of the Gardens
Theresa Hamby, Curator
Michael Hidalgo, ART Station Liaison
Richard Mailman, Fundraising
Jim McCurdy, Community Relations
Gary Peiffer, Environment
Naomi Thompson, Website Manager

Wells-Brown House Committee:
Rusty Hamby, Chairman
Averil Bonsall, Gardens
Gary Peiffer, Gardens
Ann Hamby, House
Jim Bill McCurdy, House
Kathryn Wright, House
Theresa Hamby, Interpretive Displays and Collections
Pat Miller, Library

Teas Successful!

Thanks to our celebrated cooks and servers (left to right): Beth Snead, Barbara Luton, Kathryn Wright, Averil Bonsall, Pam DeLoach, Diane Langston, Rebecca Miller, and Pat Miller.
The tea offered a chance for a cozy father-daughter event!
Teagoers, including Lynne Dundon with a snazzy chapeau (second from the left), enjoyed the outing.
Trail of Tears Visit

Our October field trip to the Trail of Tears attraction was attended by about 20 hardy members despite the rain.  Everybody saw a new side of Stone Mountain and we were pleased to meet and talk with Little Star and Chief about the exhibits and folk art they have created that interpret American Indian life.  They have been part of the Stone Mountain community for decades and for many that attended it was a chance to catch up.  One outcome of the field trip was a return visit by New South's archaeologists and historians to document the exhibits with a site map and photography.  The files will be donated to the Historic Society's new library.

January Trivia Question

Where was the photographer standing on Main Street when he captured that bustling street scene shown at the top of the newsletter?

October Trivia Answer

The question for last newsletter was:
This magnificent building, completed in 1929, was the capitol of what country?  What is its connection to Stone Mountain? 
The answer:   
This building was once the capitol of Cuba.  When the Castro regime took over Cuba in 1959, the old capitol building became the home of the Cuban Academy of Sciences.  This beautiful building is constructed largely of Stone Mountain granite.

General Robert E. Lee’s Eggnog

Stone Mountain, Georgia's  Rusty Hamby, a foodie, schoolteacher, and an
expert on local Civil War history, generously provided this treasured
recipe for any troops you might entertain!

12 Eggs, Separated
12 Tbs. Sugar
7  Wineglasses of Brandy (approx. 5 ounces = 1 wineglass)
5  Wineglasses of Rum (or Bourbon)
2 -3 Quarts of Milk
1 Quart of Cream
Fresh Nutmeg

Beat egg whites till stiff. Beat yolks with sugar till sugar is dissolved
(should not feel grainy when run between your fingers). Fold egg mixtures
together. Pour in the brandy and rum, and stir. Let stand for 30 minutes
to an hour. Add 2 quarts of milk and the cream. Taste – if too strong,
then add the 3rd quart of milk, otherwise sprinkle with nutmeg, and let
stand overnight on cool porch.
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