Stone Mountain Historic Society
Newsletter October 2013
Annette Slaughter is our feature writer this edition, shown above in her basketball uniform in 1953. We are going to open the newsletter with a little known and hilarious piece of sports history, and then close it with a poem penned by Annette titled My Home Town (see column on right). There is no mistaking her love of Stone Mountain!
We have an exciting roster of fall events so please mark your calendars and we hope to see you on December 14th for our always festive Christmas Open House.
Was I Stone Mountain’s First Professional Female Basketball Player?
By ANNETTE HANEY SLAUGHTER # 13 ----
Growing up in Stone Mountain in the ‘50s was the best of times. High school sports were king. The boys’ and girls’ Pirates of the 1950s put Stone Mountain High School on the map.
When I made the varsity basketball team, I had achieved my greatest desire. Walking to and from school from my home on Silver Hill – way out in the country then – staying after school for practice, walking home after the games after dark, rain or shine, nothing was too much. Basketball was my life. I loved that Rock Gym, that red and white uniform number 13. Grades were only important just enough to stay on the team. Basketball was all I thought about. I even had my wedding planned to be held in the Rock Gym on the basketball court – someday – I didn’t have a groom yet, but I had wedding plans.
It was 1953. I was a senior. We were in our last season playoffs. High excitement all over town. After the tournament games, we heard there had been a scout for an Atlanta professional women’s basketball team watching us. AND he wanted to talk to ME – and another teammate about playing on his team.
My dream had come true! I had no desire to go to college -- no more school. I just wanted to play basketball. The scout checked to make sure we were going to graduate because once we played “professional” and received money, we could never play high school ball again.
Money!!! How good could it get! He told us to come to this big arena in Atlanta for practice with his team. I drove my Daddy’s pick-up truck way up there to Atlanta every time he told us to be there. After several practices with that women’s team (Boy, they were tough! But we were younger!), we were told to come the next time with bags packed and ready to board a big bus to hit the road with the traveling team for the women’s basketball tournament.
You mean – leave Stone Mountain??? Well, we didn’t know being professional would mean leaving home and traveling way off, like to Macon, Georgia! So, we told him our parents wouldn’t let us go. Now, wasn’t that professional!
We felt terrible about doing him like that until we later learned that he was “stacking the deck” and building up his team with young players for the tournament.
P.S. I never got paid, but I DID play on a professional women’s basketball team…for about two weeks.
Our New Grand
The 1883 Knabe square grand piano donated by James and Patty Bonner of Decatur arrived safely at the Wells Brown House on August 30th. It’s a beauty! It graces the front room at the Wells Brown House. We thank the Bonners for their kind and wonderful donation. We also thank Susan Devine for her help in making this happen. The piano, inherited by Mrs. Bonner, came into the possession of Ruth and Keith Monnington, her parents, after World War II. The Monningtons brought up their children on a historic rural property in Front Royal, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley where they were instrumental in establishing the local historical society. The name of the original owner is unknown but the piano, which was likely acquired from a member of the rural community, was added to their household so that Patty’s sister could take piano lessons. It remained in their possession until 2002 when Ruth Monnington passed away.
Stone Mountain’s Historic Roadside Attraction – The Trail of Tears Indian Village
With the rise of the automobile came a new class of tourist destinations, roadside attractions that were built by families and individuals with the goal of attracting visiting motorists. These historic resources flourished in the 1950s when American’s ownership of automobiles became common but the number of attractions a family could visit was limited. Georgia contains several well-known roadside attractions. Rock City began as a landscaped garden trail through the rock formations of Look Out Mountain, and was further embellished with gnomes and other features and developed into a tourist destination by Frieda and Garnet Carter. The Carter’s use of “See Rock City” painted barn roofs in the 1950s made Rock City one of the best-known automobile attractions and a name known throughout the country. Other attractions were more esoteric – Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens in Chattooga County was developed by the artist as a folk art landscape that drew tourists to Finster’s home and shop. Visionary artist Eddie Owens Martin, known as St. EOM, developed Pasaquan in the mid-1950s as a seven-acre landscape of painted and decorated buildings and sculptures. All three of these attractions are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stone Mountain has its own historic roadside attraction, the Trail of Tears Indian Village. The Trail of Tears Village was created by Chief and Molly “Little Star” Hunt, who are Cherokees. Chief was involved in construction at Stone Mountain Park in the 1950s and began thinking of creating an Indian village as an attraction within the park. He took that idea with him to a property they purchased along the Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road and he and Molly built the Trail of Tears Indian Village on their own. The Trail of Tears Indian Village includes a palisaded village with teepees and other features found on American Indian landscapes, and also includes a museum and trading post containing American Indian artifacts and art. Like Pasaquan and Paradise Gardens, the Trail of Tears Indian Village contains folk art sculptures and painting by Chief and Molly, including totem poles and painted teepee birdhouses.
After operating the Trail of Tears Indian Village as a tourist attraction and outdoor classroom for a number of years, the village was closed to the public. Chief and Molly Hunt have invited members and guests of the Stone Mountain Historical Society to tour the Trail of Tears Indian Village on Saturday, October 19th from 10 to 12 AM. This is your chance to see Stone Mountain’s own historic roadside attraction. Visitors will be met by a Society member at the gate off Palmer Drive, given a snack, and asked to sign a waiver at the gate since the village is no longer insured as an attraction. Wear comfortable shoes. Donations will be appreciated. Don’t miss this opportunity to see such a great piece of Americana in our own backyard!
By Joe Joseph
Last chance to get a raffle ticket for the marvelous Green Egg and accoutrements. The lucky winner will be able to take it home and start cooking! We will have the drawing and a slide show featuring some of the historic photographs used in the Society's upcoming photographic history. Hot dogs/popcorn served.
Octoberfest, October 12-13, 1-4 pm, Wells Brown House, Open House
Green Egg Drawing and Stone Mountain Village Book Preview, Thursday, October 17, 7:00 pm at Wells Brown House
Trail of Tears Field Trip, Saturday, October 19, 10:00-12:00 am, Palmer Drive, Stone Mountain (see above)
No Meetings in November. Happy Thanksgiving!
Christmas Open House, Saturday, December 14, 7:00 pm Wells Brown House
The SMHS inaugural summer barbecue in July was well attended. The Master Gardeners created the wonderful setting, Jim MCurdy worked some magic with the local mosquito population, New South provided the refreshments, Wayne and Beth Snead made absolutely wonderful barbecue, and Ann Hamby 's coleslaw and banana pudding rounded out what was a perfect summer backyard evening. We kicked off the Green Egg Drawing that night and between the raffle and dinner, the Society brought in enough funds to pay for the piano delivery, new bookshelves for the library, and contribute to our general operating funds. Wayne and Beth Snead and Ann Hamby were key to this success. We can't thank them enough! See the photograph of our gracious volunteer cooks (above right).
Our First Backyard Barbecue Was a Wonderful Success
With Many Thanks
The Genealogy Library continues to grow. I am delighted to report that Jim McCurdy donated a full edition of the Granite Highway Edition of The Dekalb New Era circa 1914 and Stone Mountain's Hundreth Anniversary Edition of The DeKalb New Era as well as some other documents. Gary Peet also provided some Stone Mountain High School annuals and fulfilled an item on our wish list, Vanishing DeKalb, that will be well used.
While our collection is growing, we're still looking for copies of books about Stone Mountain and DeKalb County. On our wish list are Yesterday's Atlanta Vol. 2 by Franklin Garrett and copies of Stone Mountain High School annuals (all years). We'd also welcome county histories from any Georgia county as well as marriage and cemetery books. With your help we can build a genealogy library that will be an asset to our entire county.