Stone Mountain Historic Society
Newsletter July 2013
We hope you enjoy our first offering in our newsletter’s Growing Up in Stone Mountain
Series featuring Tug Tuggle (see below). After sending out our last newsletter, I received an email from Tug with some of his memories of the funeral home on lower Main Street. “The funeral home was at that time owned by John Haynie and, I think, called Haynie’s Funeral Home. They lived above the funeral home and "Miss Daisy" used the layout room for entertaining when not in use. The Haynie children (Sally was my age) were brought to school everyday by their father in the hearse, which I thought was awesome and wonderful. I suppose at that young age I equated that to a limousine!” In true Tug fashion, he gave us great insight into the past with a large dollop of humor. For that reason, I asked him to be the first contributor to our series and he has graciously submitted a few “epics” from his childhood that I know you will enjoy. I think it is fairly evident from these stories that his mother, Miss Bertie, had her hands full! Our feature photo is of a birthday celebration for Tug at his childhood home on Ponce. Quite a few Stone Mountain folks including our own JoAnn Florence are featured.
Please join us for our summer quarterly program
that will provide a local perspective on the Civil War by Mr. Kirk Miller
. It promises to be interesting!
Our first summer barbecue in our backyard at the Wells Brown house will be held on July 27th
. Come on over and enjoy the grounds that are so beautifully cared for by the Master Gardeners and support a good cause. We hope to raise enough money to have a professional piano mover transport the donated 1870s piano to the house and to purchase materials for shelving for our research library materials.
Kudos to Gary Peiffer
and Averil Bonsall
for their excellent presentation on the city's historic and unusual trees last month. It really gave us a better appreciation of our environment and the important roles trees play in our daily lives. They are still accepting nominations from the community and are looking to develop a walking tour of the city's trees. Please contact Averil (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Gary (email@example.com) if you have a tree you want to nominate.
We had a small but good turnout at the depot last month where we sorted historic views and received help with the identification of folks in the photos we have collected. Sam Wade, George Coletti, Ronnie Spain, Dot Guess, Steven Moffson, Gary Peet, Becky Sanders, Rusty Hamby, Kathryn Wright, JoAnn Florence, Theresa Hamby
and I were on hand. Everybody contributed and new information that ranged from the name of the Venables’ dog “Gas” to the girl’s basketball team that Dot Guess played on as a girl came to light. Mrs. Guess told us that Randolph Medlock, their coach, nicknamed her Peewee.
On a final note, a few visitors to the city just walked in off the street thinking the depot was open as the Visitor’s Center. All stayed to look at the images of small town life and in one instance one family actually went home and emailed me photos of a Stone Mountain Boy Scout group from the 1960s!
If anyone has any photos of Second Saturday in May or the Halloween Festival, the Society would love to able to scan them for our digital archives. Please contact Mary Beth, firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone 770-498-4155 ext 128.
A Great Place to Grow Up... "Childhood Epics" from Tug Tuggle
I was a very active, curious, and adventurous child. When I was five or six, I would catch the streetcar behind our house (Mr. Robert Attaway was the operator) and ride it to my Great Aunt Annie Britt's house on E. Ponce de Leon where he would stop and let me off. Aunt Annie was the elementary school principal for many years and lived in a big white rambling house that had been built by my great grandfather Britt. The streetcar tracks ran thru the front lawn parallel to E. Ponce. The Pattillo offices are there now. When I was ready to go home, we would simply sit on the big front porch and wave for the streetcar to stop for me to ride it back home. I was not allowed to walk on the road at that time.
Later at probably age 9 or 10, Clarkston's swimming pool opened. Stone Mountain did not yet have a pool, so George Coletti, Richard Rawlins, Buddy Russell and I would ride our bicycles to Clarkston to spend the day at their pool. On occasion we would even ride our bikes to Conyers where Buddy Russell's grandparents had a farm.
Also, at around age 5 or 6, I have fond memories of walking across the railroad tracks in front of our house across Ridge Avenue along a little unpaved street that cut thru to Central Drive. On the corner was a little one room wooden building that housed a store run by "Miss Allene" Thomason. Having been given a nickel to spend, I would always buy two pieces of Fleers Bubble Gum for two cents so that I'd have three cents to spend later. On my walk back home I would many times stop to see "Miss Cora" and "Mr. John" Duren (he had a cobbler shop in town) and join them for a lunch of pork and beans, Vienna sausage and "light bread", which I perceived at that time to be far superior to all those nasty fresh vegetables and various meats being served at my house!
There used to be a beautiful little lake back in the woods up from the house (4 lane is there now, the lake was about where the E. Ponce exit ramp comes off Stone Mountain Freeway), which was owned by John Fred Maddox who had a reputation for being crotchety and mean. He did not take kindly to trespassers and had been known to shoot at them. Richard Attaway and I used to ride our bikes back there and smoke rabbit tobacco. One day as we were down by the lake edge puffing away, we heard a gunshot ring out and it scared us so bad we jumped in the lake and hid under the water. Upon emergence, much to our chagrin, we discovered that it had not been John Fred shooting but rather the tire on Richard's bicycle had blown out. It did, however, make us reticent to frequent the place after that.
When I was about five my dad still had his orange groves in Florida and every December he would have a truckload of oranges delivered in big wooden crates to give away at Christmas. Those crates had accumulated in the garage up back. Larry Autry and I worked our little tails off lugging some of the crates across the road and hid them by the railroad track as the first step of our master plan. The train bound for Augusta stopped at the depot back then to pick up mail and would stretch all the way up in front of our house when stopped, so our plan was to pile up the crates and climb into an open boxcar and ride down to the depot and jump out on the platform.
We executed our plan beautifully and I was the first to climb the crates into the boxcar followed by Larry, but the train started moving and the crates fell and Larry was left behind. When the boxcar got to the depot, I was scared to jump out and ended up in the freight yard in Augusta. Larry was scared to tell anybody what had happened and word got out that I had been kidnapped. Mr. Charlie Tucker who was the Stone Mountain police chief at the time called in the county and state police and FBI. I was discovered by a yard worker in Augusta (I had no way of getting out of the boxcar due to its height and I was scared) and taken to the Superintendent's office. When questioned about name, home, etc. it turned out that the Superintendent knew daddy (my dad was always a train buff and knew all the Georgia Railroad folks). He called daddy, the mystery was solved and the crisis was over, Mr. Gene Gillam was dispatched to Augusta to get me, and I returned home to an irate mama who was forbidden to punish me because my daddy thought it was a neat thing to do.
Summer Program on the Civil War, Speaker Kirk Miller, July 18th, 7:00 pm at Wells Brown House
Mr. Miller was born and raised in Stone Mountain and studied History at UGA with a focus on the antebellum period. The topic of his Master's thesis was "Party Switching and the 1861 Georgia Secession Convention". After graduate school, he taught American History for 6 years at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Decatur. Currently, he works in Government Affairs for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. His lifelong interest in the Civil War began with a childhood trip to the Atlanta Cyclorama followed by countless hours of reading and study along with in his words “more visits to National Park museums and Stone Mountain Park's War in Georgia exhibit than any normal person ought to take.” He will discuss life in Atlanta/DeKalb before and during the Civil War and also place the Atlanta campaign in a modern perspective by showing exactly where major historic events took place in relation to our modern landmarks, with a special focus on the operations around Stone Mountain and Decatur.
Hot dogs and baked beans served.
Come on Over!
Old Fashion Backyard Barbecue, Saturday, July 29th, 2013, 6:00 pm at Wells Brown House
What is more traditional than a mid summer backyard barbecue? Barbecue and sides, soft drinks, craft beer, wine, and dessert with plenty of country music. Barbecue donated by the Sneads, beer and wine by New South Associates, sides and desserts by the Society members and country music provided by Frank Luton.
As noted above, the money raised will be used to move our new piano safely into the building and buy shelving materials for our growing research library. Bob Bonsall has graciously volunteered to craft the much-needed bookshelves so we can house the collection properly.
Tickets at the Door, $25 (single), 2 for $40, Children under 12 - $10
Georgia Archives Update
If you've been following the battle to keep the Georgia Archives open to the public, there is good news. Beginning July 31st, the Archives will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. During their session this year the Georgia Legislature transferred control of the Archives from the Secretary of State's office to the Board of Regents. The Legislature also approved additional funding which will allow the Archives to hire three additional full time professionals and to increase the number of hours worked by its part time employees.