Historical society celebrates milestone with gala

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, January 24, 2023

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Over the weekend, the Legacy Museum on Main celebrated 50 years of the Troup County Historical Society with a black-tie gala. 

“We were tickled pink at the amount of support we had come out Friday night,” Executive Director Shannon Johnson said. “Anytime an institution makes it to 50 years is an achievement. What started in such a small grassroots type effort to become what it has now, for as long as it has, is something to be proud of.”

During the gala, a silent auction took place that offered experiences, historical movie paraphernalia and artwork made by Annie Green for bid.

From the auction and generous sponsor, Johnson said the event raised $20,000.

Event Committee Chair Bethany Miller-Vrroz said it was lovely to see how many people from Troup County took part. 

“I think it’s an amazing mission the historical society has in terms of making sure that we preserve the history for our future generations to learn,” Miller-Vrroz said.

LaGrange Councilman Jim Arrington said he is grateful for the Archives and their impact on Troup County.

“The Archives do a lot for the city of LaGrange and Troup County,” Arrington said. “We are grateful for them and this a huge event to help keep them here and help us know and enjoy our history.”

As the night progressed, the Archives unveiled a scholarship dedicated to the late Clark Johnson.

Clark was one of the first members of the Troup County Historical Society and served as interim director and Troup County Historian. He was a history teacher for 30 years and spent his life researching, writing and telling the stories of Troup County.

“There have been a few individuals that have dedicated so much more than their time and treasure, they dedicate their lives to their community — Clark Johnson was one such individual,” Johnson said.

“His love of Troup County and its history began as a small boy and never diminished.” 

After his death last March, it was the wish of the Board of Trustees to honor his legacy. They determined the best way to carry on his legacy forward was to ensure his efforts made an impact on the future of the community.

“With that in mind, the Forrest Clark Johnson, III Scholarship was established to award local high school history teachers with funds to better prepare their classrooms,” Johnson said.  “After receiving nominations from local principals, the events committee selected two teachers for the scholarship award — Erica Bridwell and Christopher Herdener.”

Bridwell is a new history teacher at Lafayette Christian School, while Herdener is a US History teacher at Callaway High School.

Johnson said the longevity of the historical society is a group effort.

“It’s not one person,” Johnson said. “It’s been the entire community that made this possible but also worked together to ensure that the history and the heritage of the community, continue to be preserved.”