A walk through time
By Melanie Ruberti
LaGRANGE – History came to life as the Troup County Archives took folks on a leisurely stroll down Broad Street on Sunday.
Clark Johnson, the official historian of Troup County and curator at the Archives, led the way starting at the Broad Street Church of Christ.
He transported people back in time to the 1800’s, long before the church was standing on the current property at the corner of Broad and Ben Hill Streets.
The land was once part of the Bellevue estate when the mansion was built in 1853, said Johnson. The home was constructed for the wife of former Georgia and U.S. Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill.
Ben Hill Street, aptly named after the senator, was once the driveway that led carriages full of people to the Bellevue mansion.
“This was probably one of the grandest homes of that time …” stated Clark. “Bellevue got its name because you could go up to the top (balcony) where there was a balustrade and have a clear view of the town …”
The home was named a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
Clark Johnson did not just focus on Bellevue, but strolled down Broad Street and spoke about the history behind the homes, churches and structures standing there today.
The historian also pointed out original buildings and features during the tour; such as the carriage house partially hidden behind the Church of Christ. The wooden home was built in 1905, Clark stated.
The small but significant details was the main focus behind the tour.
“When you walk by the homes and buildings you actually see them,” explained Shannon Johnson, executive director of the Troup County Archives. “When you drive down Broad Street, there’s no way to slow down and see everything. There’s no way (except walking) to appreciate the aesthetics and gardening of these homes. With the tour, you’re forced to stop, look and remember.”
The event on Sunday was the second half of a walking tour earlier in the year that started at Hutchinson Trailer and ended at the Church of Christ.
On Sunday afternoon, the group started at the church and continued down Broad Street. They ended at Banks Hall on the campus of LaGrange College.
The walking tour is just one of many more programs to come from the Troup County Archives, said Shannon.
“The community is aware of the heritage and history of the area. We hope to emphasize that knowledge with some sort of program each month,” she stated.
In May, the Troup County Archives will hold a seminar focusing on photography.
The organization also hopes to hold a program on genealogy in the near future.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.
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