Historic plaques on the agenda

Published 7:54 pm Friday, October 29, 2010

Three homes in Decatur County will be recognized for their historic value when the historic and genealogical society meets next Monday Nov. 8.

Each November, the society presents plaques in recognition that the structure with this sign joins an elite group.

As you travel about the city and county, you see these distinctive plaques, which adorn buildings indicating a date on which they were constructed.

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This is a reminder to our members, that we are in the throes of a membership drive, and members have been asked to bring a guest to the meeting, dinner compliments of the society.

Homes to be recognized include the H.H. Currey house at 314 W. Broad St. in Climax, the home of Lee and Bonnie Owens at 446 E. Evans, and the home of Greg and Merreann McDonald at 1047 Lake Douglas Road.

We also had some suggestions from several other homeowners, which will be considered when the topic comes up again next year.

At the meeting, each owner will give a short presentation on the history of their homes. They usually bring historic photographs and other artifacts for display.

A special guest will be former resident and BHS graduate Steve Howard, whose company demolished the Flint River Bridge in downtown Bainbridge many years ago. Howard, now a city councilman in Orange Park, Florida, retained the plaque which was attached to the bridge. For years, he had it stored in his garage, not knowing what to do with it. Howard has had the brass plaque reconditioned and will present it to the society at this meeting.

The program and dinner meeting is open to non-members if you are interested in the topic. We need new members, particularly younger people interested in the historic and genealogical significance and preservation of Bainbridge and Decatur County.

If you are not a member and would like to attend, please call me for a reservation at 248-0955 or 246-8803, or snag any member and tell them you wish to attend.

The meeting is at The Charter House Inn, Monday, Nov. 8. Wine social half hour begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a program.

Our efforts to re-establish the museum continue. We have appeared before the school board several times to indicate our interest in placing the museum in one of the surplus school buildings.

Former Superintendent Ralph Jones had a plan to move all non-instruction offices into one central location, the former West Bainbridge Middle School. His plan also included vacating the central office downtown, the building originally constructed as a post office, and allow the museum to utilize the building.

Due to finances, that plan was put on hold. We have met with the new superintendent, Fred Rayfield, and he has similar plans to consolidate offices at the former middle school.

So, the project remains alive once illusive funds are available for remodeling WBMS.

Yes, money solves the problem, and we hope someday the old post office will be available for consideration for the museum.

Dr. Rayfield said plans are being drawn on how best to utilize the buildings at WBMS, but until the financial picture improves, it is on indefinite hold.

These old post offices are in many communities our size all across the country, constructed during the depression in the 1930s as WPA projects. Today it would be called “stimulus,” a popular term among progressives.

I know of two communities where these very same structures now house the local historic museum, one in Adel in Cook County, Georgia where Dr. Rayfield was superintendent, and another in Natchez, Mississippi. I am sure there are others, and perhaps someday, with approval of the school board, we can add ours to the list.

Meantime, we’ll wait ’til times improve.