The Lumpkin County Historical Society awarded 11 Certificates of Appreciation and the prestigious Madeleine K. Anthony Award at its April 11, 2013 meeting.
Winners (seated from left) Graig Wilson, Pam Sachant, Madeleine K. Anthony Award winner Manuel Carvalho, Rebecca Shirley for the DDA. (Standing from left ) Paul Schiemer, Brandon Gipson, Sharon Hall, James Kinney and Richard Owens. Not present but also receiving certificates of appreciation were Julia Autry, Bo Emerson and Cynthia Horne
MADELEINE K. ANTHONY AWARD
Manuel B. Carvalho: Manny has been an active member of the Society for a number of years and has served on the Board of Directors. He has supplied audio-visual support for our guest speakers and recorded some of our programs.
Manny has created and maintains a Lumpkin County Historical Society website that has attracted a number of visitors and new members.
In keeping with the Society’s interest in and support of the Chestatee River Diving Bell, Manny has created a link featuring a number of articles about the history and progress of the diving bell project, including an article he himself researched and wrote about historic diving bells and how they operated. He has also done other research in his quest to answer questions about the bell’s origins.
Besides working behind the scenes, Manny braved getting into the chilly waters of the Chestatee River to assist diver Bill Waldrop in searching for the corners of the Loud Boat in order to determine its dimensions.
The diving bell link on the Society website displays extensive photographs Manny took of the bell when it was being moved from Achasta to the Cottrell plant in Gainesville to be restored, providing a valuable historical record of that event. He also documented the building of the diving bell plaza and pavilion with photographs showing all the stages of construction from ground-breaking to completion. In addition to his pictorial preservation of the November 30, 2012, grand opening event, Manny recorded for posterity all the talks made on that occasion.
CERTIFICATES OF APPRECIATION
Richard Owens: For the pavilion and plaza design that houses and displays the Chestatee River Diving Bell. Richard is a native son of Dahlonega and a well-respected Atlanta architect. His highly detailed design displays his intimate knowledge of the historic artifact. His family owned the land on the Chestatee River where, as a boy, he used to swim around the diving bell.
Richard’s design creates an atmosphere suggestive of the bell’s earlier setting on the Chestatee River. The pebbled concrete walkway that makes up the floor of the pavilion is detailed in three different finishes. The first, a 50- by 17-foot outline around the diving bell filled with mostly black pebbles, is the exact size of the diving bell’s boat. Next to that, is a curved line that encloses a variety of sizes and colors of carefully placed rocks, representing the river bed. Outside the curved lines, the smoothly pebbled floor represents the bank of the river.
The wood grain design pressed into the concrete pier upon which the bell rests represents deck boards of the diving bell’s boat.
The soaring pavilion is created with heart cypress beams joined together by historic mortise and tenon joints. The roof line is specially designed to provide an unobstructed view of the top of the airlock/entry tube that rises eight feet above the top of the eight-foot-high bell.
The large slate rock that displays brass name plaques and the stones at the base of the heart cypress pillars are local stones from Dahlonega’s Consolidated Gold Mine.
The landscaping is planted with native plants found along the Chestatee River. The retaining wall, besides suggesting a curving river bank, provides seating around the plaza.
Last, but far from least, Richard Owens has created a beautiful and symbolic setting to protect and display the Chestatee River Diving Bell. He has designed a structure that not only blends well with Hancock Park, but is in keeping with the architectural atmosphere of the community.
Paul Schiemer: New members, when they first learn about the Old 1884 Jail museum operated by the Historical Society, are generally appalled to learn that it is not open more often, and with all sincerity, ask us why we don’t keep it open year-round, or at least during the summer months. Paul Schiemer receives this certificate of appreciation for conducting a research project – a feasibility study – to answer that question.
The Old Jail, with an all-volunteer staff, opens to the public for tours three times a year (4 days, for a total of 24 hours): July 4 (1 day), Gold Rush Days festival (2 days), and Bear on the Square festival (1 day). Additionally, private tours are conducted upon request.
In the summer of 2012, Paul procured a volunteer graduating senior from the University of North Georgia to open the Old Jail to visitors for a total of 240 hours between April and mid-July, from 10-2 weekdays, and 10-4 Saturdays. This test provided enough statistical information to prove that, at the present time, it is not feasible to open more often.
Julia N. Autry, The Dahlonega Gold Museum Curator-Preservationist: In recognition of her years of dedicated service to the Dahlonega Gold Museum. Julia has been instrumental in helping promote the history of Lumpkin County to locals and visitors. She was a key player in helping locate guest speakers for the Gold Museum’s “After Hours” programs. Her extensive knowledge of the history of this area has been an asset to Dahlonega and the museum staff. She helped train over 20 museum volunteers as docents.
Cynthia Horne and Brandon Gipson representing the University of North Georgia’s library, for once again stepping in and procuring grant money to digitize items of Lumpkin County history, and making them available on the Internet. Digitized items include back issues of the The Mountain Signal and The Dahlonega Nugget, including the “lost” first issue of The Dahlonega Nugget. Volume 1, Issue 1, was discovered among a collection of old newspapers given to UNG by a relative of renowned author and historian, Professor Andrew Cain.
Jim Kinney: For his hard work and perseverance to make the first annual Living History Day a success. The Labor Day weekend event focused on raising funds to help save the Captain Jesse McDonald House in the Yahoola Creek Park sports complex. As chairman of the event sponsored by the Living History Association, Jim enlisted the help of seasoned event planners and several genres of history buffs. For months and months, he could be seen around town rallying support for the event, as well as speaking to clubs and organizations, and selling raffle tickets for a painting of the McDonald house. The event hosted old-fashioned children’s games (i.e., egg toss and three-legged races), booths selling food, demonstrations and displays of old-time skills and artifacts, and selling local crafts.
Sharon Hall: For continuing her excellent reporting on historically significant items and events, especially the following. 1) Cindi Vernon’s plan to create a lending library for seeds, a project to preserve and propagate locally produced edibles, ornamentals, herbs and heirloom seeds. We wish her great success. 2) The articles bringing together stories about Kate Woody and Woody’s Store in Auraria. This is a critical time in the store’s history. Woody’s Store has been closed for several years. Kate Woody, the store’s last owner and proprietor, has retired, and the ancient hotel that was next door is gone. We hope there will be some effort made to preserve Woody’s Store, a landmark building reputed to be the most sketched and photographed building in Georgia.
Dr. Pam Sachant, head of the Department of Visual Arts, and Professor Craig Wilson for encouraging art students to study the history of the area known as Appalachia, and painting a mural representing Appalachia’s culture and heritage to be installed in UNG’s Hansford Hall.
Downtown Development Authority (DDA): represented by Joel Cordle and Rebecca Shirley: For instituting and managing the placement of plaques on buildings within Dahlonega’s Historic District that contain accurate information about each building. The plaques spread and preserve interesting accounts for visitors as well as home-town folks.
Bo Emerson for his story in the Atlanta Journal, “Diving Bell Hearkens to Dahlonega’s Golden Era,” a comprehensive history of the Chestatee Diving Bell. This article spreads the news about Dahlonega’s valuable and unique tourist attraction, and will most likely bring visitors from Atlanta to see it in person.
Essay Contest Winners
There were no essays this year.