RAILROAD LANTERNS

Railroad lanterns that were used by the Railroad had various uses and meanings. Some lanterns had different colored glass globes which had different meanings. They were used as signals and messages by all the railroad personnel.

Caboose lantern (kerosene) with shade hung inside the Caboose Car for light. It is made to swing or sway with the train as it travels down the track.

Carbide Inspections lamp was used by the rail car inspectors and the Engine inspectors from 1890 – 1940.

Trouble Shooting lantern and a Trainman Signal lantern were used from 1925.

Caboose Marker lamp was used on the end of the caboose. When the Caboose was no longer in use, this lamp was replaced by a red marker at the end of the last car on the train.

In 2018, Randall Magnusson a Chattooga County and Northwest Railroad Historian and Retired General Manager – Chickamauga Railroad Company was the special speaker at the Chattooga County Historical Society Meeting in Summerville, GA on February 8, 2018. He spoke about the history and the use Railroad lamps, in particular the Marker Lamp.

Summerville has honored Mr. Magnusson by naming a portion of the Railroad there in his honor.

Below is part of Mr. Magnusson’s presentation from a handout that he made available to all those who attended the meeting. His vast knowledge comes from his railroad career, research and love of the railroad and wanting to preserve it’s history for future generations.

“The Marker Lamp…Trains operated by train order, which was a paper issued by the Train Dispatcher, authorizing train movement over a given section of track. This ‘order’ authorized a train to move over this section of track. It also directed a train moving in one direction to ‘meet’ another train moving in the opposite direction. In order for trains moving in opposite directions to ‘meet’, the order would direct one train to ‘hold the main track’ and the other train to ‘take the siding’. All trains carried two devices on the rear of the Caboose, or in the case of Passenger Trains, on the rear of the Coach called ‘Marker Lamps’. These were essentially the ‘tail lights’ of the train.

The importance of these markers cannot be over emphasized. Many Times there would be more than one train operating in the same direction on a single track (one following the other). If the first train had to stop, there were two safety measures that were supposed to be in place. First, the Flagman was to get off the rear of the train, equipped with a hand lantern with a Red Globe, a Red Flag, Track Torpedoes and Signal Flares (fuses) and start walking back down the track to “Flag” a second train if it overtook the stopped train. If, for any reason, the Flagman was unable to stop the following train, then the RED LIGHT from the Marker Lamp could very well be the only thing standing between the train crews and “Eternity”.

The Marker Lamps were vitally important and, over the years, saved many tragic collisions from happening.

Each train crew was assigned a pair of Maker Lamps, and they were the responsibility of the Conductor. Before each trip, he would make sure that the wicks were trimmed and the founts were full of kerosene (or coal oil in Railroad parlance). At the end of the trip, he would take the Markers down from the rear of his train and store them until his next trip.

There were several companies that manufactured these beautiful old lamps. Adams & Westlake (ADLAKE), Armspear and Dressel, just to name a few.

Sadly, in these modern times, the Caboose is gone on freight trains. There is still a flashing, battery powered device carried on the rear Coupler (car). Passenger Trains, what few there are, also have an Electric light on the rear.

With modern equipment, such as radio communications, automatic Signals, etc., rear end Maker Lamps are not considered nearly as Important as they once were. Still there was something special and Nostalgic about the flickering flame that powered the old Marker Lamps, not to mention the aroma of burning kerosene. These old lamps were special to the train crews of yesteryear………”.

A “Thank You” goes to Mr. Magnusson, for sharing his knowledge and this information with us.

Some of these lanterns are on display at the Seven Springs Museum for visitors to enjoy and see of times gone by. The Museum also has on display the uniform of Mr. Glenn Mitchell who was a Flagman on the Southern Railroad as well as various other Railroad items.

THE OTHER SOUTHERN QUILT TRAIL: Southern Railroad Codes

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the late 1700’s to mid 19th century (into the Civil War years). It was used by enslaved African Americans to escape into free states and Canada. However, it was not literally a railroad nor ran underground, but served the same purpose of transporting people long distances. The safe houses ran through homes, barns, churches and businesses, etc. and consisted of meeting points, secret routes, and various modes of transportation, usually by foot.

The term “Underground Railroad” was used because those who took passage on it disappeared from public view as if they had literally gone into the ground. (Actual underground railroads did not exist until 1863). It was known as a railroad and used rail terminology mainly because that was the transportation system in use at the time. The Railroad was often known as the ”Freedom Train” or “Gospel Train”.

Information about the routes and safe havens was passed along by word of mouth, signals and signs. Most messages were encoded so that they could be understood only by those active in the railroad. One such way was thought to be with old lanterns placed in certain places indicating the house/building was safe and able to accept these visitors. Another was with quilt designs displayed on fences, railings, bushes, trees, etc.

These quilt designs indicated how and where to travel, what was safe and what was not.

Examples of these designs and meanings;

Monkey Wrench – meant for them to gather tools needed for a long journey.

Wagon Wheel – meant to load the wagon or prepare to board the wagon to begin the escape.

Carpenter Block – meaning help from “Jesus”, would guide them through

Bear Paw – meant to take a mountain trail, out of view and follow the path made by bear tracks. The tracks would lead them to water and food.

Basket – meant for them to bring enough food and supplies to get to the crossroads.

Crossroad Block – referred to Cleveland, Ohio, an area offering several routes to freedom. It also signifies reaching a point where a person’s life will change, so one must be willing to go on.

Log Cabin Block – a secret symbol that would be drawn on the ground to indicate that a person is safe to talk to. It also advises seeking shelter.

Shoo-Fly Block – It may have identified a friendly guide who is nearby and can help.

Bow Tie Block – meant for them to dress in disguise, or put on a change of clothes.

Flying Geese Block – The points were meant to follow that direction, such as where geese would fly during their spring migration.

Birds in the Air Block – meant for them to follow the birds in the air.

Drunkard’s Path Block – meant for them to create a zig-zag path and not to walk in a straight line so to avoid pursuers in this area.

Sailboat Block – meant for them to take the sailboat across the Great Lakes.

North Star – mean to follow the north star.

The information about the Railroad was taken from Wikipedia web site. More information can be found there about the Railroad and the people involved in the movement during those times.

The quilt designs information was from research done by Julia Kilgore, Assistant at the Seven Springs Museum, for a display at the Museum located in the Black History Room.

Southern Quilt Trail

Southern Quilt Trial

The Southern Quilt trail originated in Powder Springs, Georgia in late 2007 and early 2008 and is considered the Home of the Southern Quilt Trail. Their mission was and is to promote and preserve the history of traditional folk art quilt patterns that have been handed down from generations through the years. These unique art forms are displayed on historical farms and buildings in our community and the rural countryside.

Since then, the Southern Quilt Trail has been growing in the surrounding cities, counties and states including Bowden, Breman, Centralhatchee, Dallas, Douglasville, Tallapoosa, Ephesus, Hiram, Franklin and Roopville.

How it began – When Joe Sutton, owner of Powder Springs Flowers Gifts, went online to read his hometown daily newspaper he found, on the front page, a picture of three quilts on the side of a building. The article then went on to tell about the Appalachian Quilt Trail. After researching the Quilt Trail, he went across the street to the local antique shop, The Country Store of Seven Springs, where he and the shop owners, Gloria Hilderbrand and Diane Reese decided that Powder Springs needed to start a quilt trail of its own.

As members of the Seven Springs Historical Society, they presented the idea to the Society as a project. The Seven Springs Historical Society was very excited about starting this project and formed a Quilt Trail Committee.

After more research was done, it was found that the original trail was started in 2001 in Adams County, Ohio. Here, one quilt was painted in honor of a mother, while other quilts were painted to honor the heritage of quilting. This quickly spread to East Tennessee, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and other states. Quilts are and have been such a big part of everyone’s life.

The first quilt was then started at the County Store of Seven Springs, which is located in a building that dates back to the mid 1800’s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Others were then painted and placed on other buildings in downtown Powder Springs. There are quilt squares on twelve of the buildings in our historic downtown area. Most of these buildings were built around 1910 – 1920. The quilt squares depict sixteen different quilt patterns that were popular around the turn of the 20th century. Most quilts were a necessity in the early days for warmth before heaters and central heat were available.

The Quilt Trail in Powder Springs:

“Star of Bethlehem” quilt square located on the east side of the Country Store of Seven Springs (Rooted Trading Co. since 2020). “Pickle Dish” located on the east side of a building at 3880 Broad Street. “Sunbonnet Sue” located on the side of a barn behind the Victorian house at 4279 Marietta. “Carpenters Wheel” located on the west side of 4477 Marietta Street. “Floral Basket” located on the east side of the building at 4456 Marietta Street (old Push Rods building). “Double Wedding Ring” located over the back entrance to Powder Springs Florist and gift shop at 449 S. Town Square. “Double Irish Chain” located on the west side of the Country Store of Seven Springs. “Star in a Square” located on the east side of Powder Springs Flowers & Gifts at 449 S. Town Square. “Rose of Sharon” located on the east side of the building at 4451 Marietta Street. “Snow Crystal” located on side of the former home of The Seven Springs Museum located in the city park on Brownsville Road. “Sampler Quilt” made up of several different patterns is used to hide a lot of electrical meters and wires on the west courtyard side of the Hand Me Ups building. “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” located on the west side of the Book Worm Bookstore at 4451 Marietta Street. “French Nosegay” located on the back of the brick building between the traffic circle and Lewis Road. This building was part of the hardware store used as a lumber yard.

One can pick up a brochure containing more information about the date of these quilts, their locations, photos and their histories at The Seven Springs Museum at the Bodiford House at 4355 Marietta Street. Come visit us at the Museum to see our quilt display and learn more of the history of Powder Springs and those who settled and lived in the area.

One criteria for buildings and barns is that they should be old enough to be considered historic, generally at least 50 years old. One criteria for traditional quilt patterns is that old quilts are hand pieced or hand appliqued.

More information about the Southern Quilt Trail, the criteria for quilt patterns to use and buildings or barns that qualify as places to display them can be found at www.southernquilttrails.com.

Railroads Come to Powder Springs 1882 and 1905, Part II

The Southern Railroad and the Seaboard Railroads came to Powder Springs in 1882 and 1905. In doing so, they put Powder Springs on the map and brought prosperity, opportunities and jobs for her residences. However, they also brought accidents and tragedy as well.

These articles are from various newspapers of the day. Researched (in 2018) and provided by Kaaren Tramonte.

March 2, 1885 – Marietta, GA – (Special) – Judge A. C. McIntosh Killed, News was brought here today by the mail carrier that Judge A. C. Mcintosh, of Powder Springs, was killed by the train on the East Tennessee (Southern) Railroad this morning. It is said that he attempted to flag down the train by standing on the track in front of it, remained too long, the train catching him and killing him instantly. Judge McIntosh, (b) Dec 1828 and (d) March 1885, is buried in the Methodist Cemetery.

January 8, 1904 – While blasting in a cut on the Seaboard Air Line (Railroad) at Powder Springs, GA, Tuesday, the blast went off before the men were ready. Mr. Frank Shuman, one of the contractors, whose home is in Charlotte, failed to make his escape in time. A heavy rock struck him in the side, killing him instantly. The body arrived in Charlotte late Wednesday night. Note: It seems as if the Seaboard was doomed from the start.

March 2, 1907 – SEABOARD LIMITED IS WRECKED ENGINEER IS CREMATED; FIVE COACHES BURNED. Train #38 from Birmingham to Atlanta near Powder Springs and entire train is burned. Special train sent to wreck. Note: One of the most complete wrecks ever witnessed back in the day, was that of Train #38. The passenger train was making good time barreling down the tracks at what witnesses said to be speeds averaging 50-60 mph. A businessman had just congratulated the rail crew on making it to the City on time when the accident occurred.

March 4, 1909 – Local Powder Springs man was killed today on the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia (Southern) Railroad approaching the town of Powder Springs. Jimmie (James or Jim as he was known) G. Landrum was a brakeman of this train that ran from Atlanta, Georgia, to Heflin Alabama. On the tracks approaching Powder Springs from Austell, the train was doing some switching and Jimmie was on top of the front car trying to turn the brakes because the rod had been cracked (or broke). Unfortunately, he fell under the car and was dragged 40 yards to his death.

Jimmie is buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Powder Springs, GA, in the Landrum family burial plot. The Railroad provided a large monument for his grave because he was killed while working for them which is located at his graveside. There are two trains carved into two of the four sides of the monument. Jimmie was 23 years old (1886-1909). Note: This was by far the most tragic accident that affected his family and the town.

September 11, 1928 – FARMER IS KILLED IN GRADE CROSSING AT POWDER SPRINGS. Powder Springs, GA, (Special) Glenn Walden, 35, prominent farmer of this community, was instantly killed this morning when his truck was struck by a train near the Powder Springs (Southern) Depot. his son, Bobbie, aged 9, was in the truck at the time of the accident and was dangerously injured. Note: local legend has it that if you go down to the crossing on Brownsville Road at 3:00 a.m. and park by the tracks, the spirit of a farmer will appear…flailing his arms as if to save you from receiving a similar fate. Mr. Walden (b) June 9, 1897 and (d) Sept 11, 1928, is buried in the Bullard Cemetery.

December 25, 1933 – Plot Seen in Wreck of Southern Train. Atlanta, GA, Charging that a deliberate plot was responsible for the wreck of the Royal Palm express of the Southern Railroad at Powder Springs near here Saturday, police and railroad authorities sought to fix responsibility. The wreck cost two lives and injuries to several when the long train plunged from the tracks.

On April 13, 1945 a slow moving train passed through Powder Springs. This special train was the Presidential Train with a flag-draped coffin carrying President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s body back to Washington. President Roosevelt had passed away in Warm Springs at “The Little White House” the day before. The passing of the train was witnessed by many people in Powder Springs who had gathered along the tracks paying their respects. This scene was repeated from Warm Springs to Washington.

January 22, 1973 – 5 Gas Tankers Explode – Powder Springs, Ga. – A Seaboard Coast Line (Railroad) freight train carrying five gas tankers derailed about 500 yards from a chemical plant late Sunday night. Two crewmen were reported injured. Cobb County police, fearing other explosions, quickly evacuated persons from homes near the scene and sealed off roads in the area, about 25 miles northwest of Atlanta. There was no immediate word on the kind of gas being hauled in the tankers. However, a Powder Springs policeman said a spokesman at the chemical Plant told him it was “deadly, toxic’. “It looked like an atomic bomb going off” said Sara Crews, who was riding in a car 11 miles away when the first Blast occurred about 11:30 p.m. EST. “It looked like the sun was fixing to Come up, the sky was so bright”. Note: The evacuation and cleanup lasted over several days.

THE RAILROADS COME TO POWDER SPRINGS

1882 and 1905

In 1882, the Southern Railroad was built. The train traveled from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The railroad helped to put Powder Springs on the map.

The old Depot sat downtown on Murray Avenue along the tracks, back behind the old brick building that sits between Lewis Road, near the traffic circle. This old building was once a cotton warehouse used by the cotton Gin, which sat next door. It was then used from the early 1900’s to the mid 1980’s as the lumber yard and storage by the Hardware Store that was located on Broad Street. This made it easy for these merchants to ship their merchandize, as well as receive any supplies needed for their businesses. The Depot was demolished in 1973.

The Southern Railroad was originally known at the East(tern) Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad. It was later called the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The Southern Railroad still operates today as CSX but does not make any stops in Powder Springs.

In 1905, the Seaboard Railroad was built. The train traveled from Atlantato Birmingham, Alabama. This railroad also helped to put Powder Springson the map. It was a vital passenger and commercial link to Atlanta. It carried mail, passengers, general freight and cattle.

The Seaboard Railroad was called the Seaboard Coast Line. The railroad actually originated in Florida and ran north up the coast through North Carolina to Virginia. It spurred off the original line to expand to the west to reach the towns that did not have rail service. Another name was the Seaboard Air Line Railroad even though there was no “air service”. This name was more to describe the railroad as “streamline” with its service to quickly get to one destination to the next.

The old Depot sat along the railroad tracks on the righthand side of Dillard Street before crossing the tracks (Silver Comet Trail) where Dillard Street currently ends. The Depot was torn down in 1945. The railbed is now the Silver Comet Trail, a multi-use trail.

Both Railroads opened up new markets for the shipment of the towns goods to other areas of the country. The town was able to receive goods quicker and easier. It also provided passenger service to Powder Springs and out of Powder Springs to the rest of the world. The railroad was essential to the growth of the town, as it made travel, jobs and business very good for the locals. Transportation, hauling and passenger services were being provided.

Cotton could now be shipped easier. From 1899 to 1910 Peaches were grown here and shipped out by rail. A few years later, Tomatoes were grown and shipped out. Mail could be sent and received in mere days.

Access to jobs outside of Powder Springs were now opened to the people of Powder Springs. The railroad itself provided job opportunities for the town folk, as well.

Train Excursions begin to run in the summer months to the resort town of Powder Springs. The first one was advertised in 1882 by the Georgia Pacific Railroad Company and the Cincinnati & Georgia Railroad Company on Thursday, June 1st, 1882. It was billed as their “FIRST EXCURSION – ATLANTA TO POWDER SPRINGS AND RETURN.”

Another one billed as a “GRAND EXCURSION Train Ride planned on Friday, May 18,1888 and put together by the Powder Springs High School which provided the Powder Springs Brass Band entertaining the riders.

The Excursion Train leaves from Austell at 5:45 am going to Cave Spring and returning the same day. Stops along the way are, once leaving Austell, Powder Springs, Lithia Springs, Douglasville, Hiram and Dallas. Governor John B. Gordon accompanying the travelers.”

Opportunities and jobs on the railroad were now available to the community. When the Southern Railroad Depot was built at the end of Atlanta Street around 1882, a number of blacks began to move into the area around it. Several adjacent land-owners developed plats and began to sell lots here. Around the same time the railroad constructed “section housing” for its African American workers at the intersection of present day Butner and Lewis Streets. These duplex houses, now gone, had two rooms in each unit. Many of the men had got tired of farming, not being able to make a living for their families and not owning their land. The railroad now provided a better opportunity for these families.

Section housing was also built along the Seaboard Railroad close to the tracks around Dillard Street and present day New Macland Road. These houses were provided to the families of men who maintained the tracks and switching equipment. Several of these houses were sold by the rail- road when the Depot was torn down in 1945 and moved back from the tracks. Charles and Charlene Pope lived in one of the houses until sometime in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s when New Macland Road was to be widened. They sat about where the Walgreen’s Drug Store is today.

There were jobs maintaining the railroad tracks, the trains themselves, as flagmen, engineers and Porters.

Archie Watson Young (1917-2001) former Atlanta Black Cracker Baseball Player, was a Porter for 30 years for the Southern Railway on passenger trains. Frank Moon (1923-2001) worked for Southern Railroad. Waymond Bookout (1899-1960) was a Flagmen and Conductor of Pullman Cars for Southern Railroad. Albert Voyles (1911-1996) began working at 16 for his father, then a section foreman, in Powder Springs, for the Seaboard Railroad. He worked first as a laborer then as section foreman in charge of maintaining the tracks and switching equipment. After working for the railroad for 42 years, he retired and they moved back to their childhood hometown of Powder Springs. Glenn Mitchell worked as a Flagman for the Southern Railroad for many years. (His uniform is on display at the Seven Springs Museum).

These were just a few of the men who made their living working on or for the railroads.

Memories – According to an article in the Marietta Daily Journal around 1989 or 1990, Sara Frances Miller remembers that lots of people rode the train (Seaboard) to Atlanta for the day. That a letter from Powder Springs could be delivered to a lot of points in one day. The Seaboard made five runs a day through Powder Springs affording many opportunities to ride the train to town.

Catherine Mellichamp remembers riding this train. She said that she and her friends used to go into Atlanta to the movies in the afternoon. She said “it was a delight”. They would get off at the old Terminal Station in downtown Atlanta and went to the old Paramount or Roxy Theaters.
Leaving Powder Springs at about 5:30 or 6 pm on the weekend, they took the midnight train back. The trip cost 15 cents and took a half hour. These trips on the train were made enjoyable because they could walk around in the trains while they rode. Mrs. Mellichamp admitted that there
was one hazard of riding those old trains. The ashes would come in if you opened the window and get in your eyes. Also, another impact on the community was that occasionally tramps would jump off trains behind their house, come to the back door and beg for food from her mother. When they would wander up, my mother did not mind feeding them. Her mother gave them water to drink and wash and fed them on the back porch, “white and black alike”. She added that most were considerate but some were unappreciative.

Madeline Moon also has fond memories of the trains. Her father, Frank Moon, was an Engineer and Conductor for Southern Railroad on the route from Atlanta to Chattanooga. She and her mother walked to the Train depot everyday when his train came through town. He would toss a chocolate candy bar to her as he passed. When the train stopped for passengers, Madeline, and sometimes her friends, would board and ride to Chattanooga where they would eat before boarding for the return trip. She fondly remembers all the Moon Pies she ate on those trips!

The trains brought prosperity to Powder Springs along with opportunities for all the residences of the town. Although, the Seaboard Railroad is gone, people are still able to enjoy the “railroad” as they use the Silver Comet Trail. You might say that the “passenger train rides again!”

POWDER SPRINGS TEAM WINS 20 OUT OF 24

Marietta Journal – August 4, 1921

The baseball team of Powder Springs is one of the strongest in this section of the state for amateurs and the city is more than proud of the sturdy youngsters. Something like 25 games have been played up todate and only 4 defeats have been registered against them. Such strong teams as Acworth, Austell, Tallapoosa, Dallas and several teams from Atlanta have been met and defeated. Only one team has managed to break even with them, this being the Douglasville team. So far, the contest between the two stands 2 & 2.A game is scheduled today, Thursday, with the strong Rockmart team, while an attempt is to be made Saturday to break the tie with Douglasville. The line-up of the Powder Springs team is as follows:

J. B. McTyre……………………catcher
Marvin Turner……………………pitcher
J. C. Vaughn……………………1st base
J. H. Baggett……………………2nd base
Jim Watson……………………3rd base
Charles Kuykendall……………………right field
Walter Jennings……………………center field
John Scott……………………left field

As you can see, Powder Springs has always had some kind of baseball Team through the years and enjoy a very good reputation.

HOME MADE FUN IN THE EARLY DAYS PART III

LATE 1800’S AND EARLY 1900’s Familiar scenes of everyday life:

Horses and the Brown brother’s tobacco chewing mule were hitched in the shade of the shed on the back of Hardage and McTyre’s General Merchandise Store. Near this quiet scene was a strategic checker game that was in progress. Uncle Ben Hilley, Jim Hammonds and Dr. F. P. Lindley were sitting on benches playing on upturned crates in front of Ben Hilley’s Hot Dog Stand on the main street. At night the traveling salesmen who came from their routes to Dallas and Douglasville, sat down to play set back or forty-two card games with local players at the Lindley House (the hotel 1910-1925). M. J. Miller recalls sitting very still for one to one and a half hours watching a man put up a new signboard. The sign nearly always advertised Camel Cigarettes and had a pretty girl. Then you could study the circus poster on the side of Bud Compton’s Grocery Store for hours.

On hot summer afternoons children made up their own games. Imitation of adult activities was most popular. One group was playing lodge in the loft of Dave Miller’s barn. Harry Miller was leading a blindfolded candidate around the area on a goat. Someone pushed the door to the loft open, the goat ran and jumped out with Henry Bookout still astride it. The goat landed with a loud “Omp” with Henry still mounted. Neither was hurt, just a bit winded.

There was always some activity planned such as seining for fish with a fish fry to follow. Picnics, horseback rides and camping trips to Factory Shoals were popular. It is said that the Methodist church was moved to its present site so a race track could be built where it stood next to the Methodist Cemetery on Old Austell Road. Later most of the land involved was used to expand the cemetery.

Summer programs and recitals were anticipated eagerly. Summer time was utilized for Mrs. Buchanan’s lessons in painting, elocution, piano and penmanship instructions. All who could, attended one of B. B. Beall’s singing schools.

Ladies in the family were kept busy quilting and feeding visiting relatives. They came bringing their trunks and stayed for a month. Miss Roberta Murray states that much time was spent getting ready for the numerous weddings. The bride’s family baked and cooked for the wedding day. It was the groom’s family who prepared the food for the second day, sometimes referred to as “The Infair”. The bride always had a special Second Day dress made to wear at the Infair given by the groom’s family.

The children swept the white sand covered yards with brush brooms for these special days.

Tom Camp built a swimming pool and dancing pavilion. It was very popular for the years 1920-1930. Saturday night dances were sponsored by various orchestras. People came from several counties around to enjoy the pool and pavilion as well as the fellowship with all who came.

One Sunday afternoon two young men, John Middlebrooks and Roy Tapp, went down the front street carrying gunny sacks on their backs. This was a bit unusual. If you had followed them, you would have stopped behind the Bull Durham sign in May Marchman’s pasture. Here they milked the Mayor’s cow. Then they took the ice cream freezer, ice, salt, sugar and eggs out of the gunny sacks and made some home-made ice cream.

Now wasn’t that some home-made fun?

HOME MADE FUN IN THE EARLY DAYS, Part II

LATE 1800’S AND EARLY 1900’S

Fireworks were a great sport in Powder Springs on holidays in those days for many years. Sparklers for the little ones, Roman candles and fire crackers of all sizes for the older ones.

One never to be forgotten scene was the community Christmas Tree at the Church. It was always a big tree with a present for every child. Santa Clause was always there.

Young and old enjoyed tennis, horse shoes and baseball. These games were popular as home and at the spring down town at the park area where around the Pavilion.

Mr. Charlie Scott’s was a great gathering place not only for ball games, but for syrup candy pulling, singings, and social activities of all kinds.

There were big parties in the homes. There were dances or balls called play parties. Dances were held in the hotel and in the pavilion at the spring. Miss Roberta Murray had kept her mother’s invitation to a ball and a supper to be given at the hotel Tuesday night, February 13, 1883.

Gentlemen paid one dollar each and ladies were admitted free. One Baptist preacher threatened to withdraw church fellowship to the young dancers but it didn’t materialize when the Sunday School Superintendent, Mr. J. B. Oglesby, admitted that he too enjoyed the dances.

Target practice was popular with young men. Hunting, in season, was a great sport and many of the men and boys kept fine dogs for this sport.

Fathers made play equipment for the children. Yard swings were made with a board seat suspended from a tree limb on chains or heavy ropes. Later, some were automobile tires suspended in the same way. Seesaws and flying jennies were made. Little railroads with cars running down an inclined track was also made.

Nearly every home with children had a sand pile where the little ones played for hours with small buckets and spades, or built frog houses and castles in the sand.

There was always entertainment for summer visitors. Many people who had moved away from Powder Springs would return in the summer. On special days there were races, relays, horseshoe pitching contest, catching a greased pig, etc. at the spring along with tubs of lemonade and baskets of fried chicken.

The Tri County Singing (Cobb, Paulding and Douglas Counties) with dinner on the ground was always held at the First Baptist Church the third Saturday in July. This event was enjoyed form 1919 until July 23, 1939. At this time one of the song leaders, Young Ragsdale, entered the church with a drawn knife and making threats. A case was made against Mr. Torrance for fighting with Young Ragsdale in the Baptist Church. Ragsdale was fined fifteen dollars for raising a disturbance, by the City Council. The singing was moved to the school building where it soon went dead. A Sacred Harp sing was held the third Saturday in August at the Primitive Baptist Church.

The Southern Railroad agent, S. E. Smith, had the first radio in town about 1918 or 1920. It was a large cabinet model. The only stations he could get were WSB in Atlanta and one from Havanna, Cuba. An out wire like a clothes line served as an antenna. There was also a ground wire. Dry cell telephone batteries were used. Two sets of ear phones could be used. Dr. J.D. Middlebrooks had an early set. Most radio sets at that time were crystal sets which were built from materials bought at F. W. Woolworth’s in Atlanta. Only one set of earphones could be used with a crystal set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUN AT THE SPRINGS

 

 

The springs was always a center of social activity. The popularity of

outings to and entertainment at the springs changed over time but never

completely died out.

 

The 1850’s began the era of being a health resort because of the springs.

From 1880 to the early 1900’s the springs became a popular destination

again. There were many people who came from Atlanta and from all the

surrounding areas.

 

Through the years the springs and pavilion have continued to be used

for ball games, political rallies, holiday celebrations, the first real

swimming pool, various other family activities, reunions and celebrations.

The original location of the Seven Springs Historical Society and the Seven

Springs Museum (1984-2015) was in the park near the springs.

 

 

Powder Springs Enterprise, 1983 Sesquicentennial Edition

– Sara Frances Miller

 

After World War I, the springs were again a center of social activities

for many people in the Atlanta area (and not just for the people of Powder Springs). A large swimming pool and dance hall drew many visitors

who traveled to Powder Springs via a daily train called, appropriately,

“The Accomodation.” As Jewel Hendricks remembers it, Saturday

afternoon would mean a trip to the swimming pool and perhaps, if

Daddy didn’t forbid it, and sometimes even when he did, a lively dance

at the pavilion. There was always a baseball game with spirited competition between the Powder Springs team and surrounding teams.

Picnic’s were spread on the grass near the pavilion and everyone

enjoyed the springs and their environment.

 

The Springs have been an integral part of the life of the individuals who

have made Powder Springs a living community, from the days when the

town was a resort and health retreat to the later prosperity and loss

of King Cotton.

 

An early ad for a train excursion to Powder Springs:

 

The Georgia Pacific R. R. Co.

And

Cincinnati & Georgia R. R. Co.

 

FIRST EXCURSION

Thursday, June 1st, 1882

 

ATLANTA TO

POWDER SPRINGS

AND RETURN

 

 

HOME MADE FUN IN THE EARLY DAYS

Part I: LATE 1800’S AND EARLY 1900’S

Life in a small Georgia town in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was very satisfying for young and old. This was before radio or television sets – not to mention computer’s! Here are some of those memories as told to and gathered by Sarah Frances Miller during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Rocking chairs were dear to the hearts of Powder Springs residents in those day – both old and young. Most houses had front porches then. Almost every porch held a number of large Brumby rockers. It was unusual for some of them not to be occupied during the waking hours.

“Rocking chairs held a peculiar fascination for me”, recalls Fonnie Bullard. “At age four, I could sit sideways in a big porch rocker. I would play an imaginary piano on the arm of the chair.”

Children rocked vigorously and sang loudly, and often fell asleep in them. Ladies hurried to get through with their morning duties and their mid-day meals in order to sit in rockers on the front veranda in the shade of the huge oaks that used to line Marietta Street and the other streets of Powder Springs. The ladies would sew, read, visit or just rock and watch what was happening up and down the street, sharing gossip along the way. None of the porches were screened in the early days so fly swatters were very much in evidence.

When the gentlemen of the house came home to lunch, called dinner by most, they enjoyed the rocking chairs for a brief rest before going back to work.

After the evening meal the whole family, except those going out for some reason, gathered on the front porch to cool off, to rock and to discuss the events of the day and to catch up on the “local gossip”.

On hot summer nights the air would often be permeated with the odor of woolen rags doused in kerosene smoldering or smoking to keep the pesky mosquitoes away.

The porch swing was another popular resting place. These swings were usually suspended from the ceiling by chains. A few were on frames. Some were built for two people while others might hold four or five people according to the size of the occupants.

The front porches with their rocking chairs and swings were also used by the young people to get to know each other better – being a place for their “date” when “courting”, “sparking” and making plans for their future together as man and wife. It was a place for neighbors to gather to visit one another.

Fonnie Bullard tells this story about Murray Landrum who was stone dear. Murray ran a grist mill and worked in it all day. One Saturday afternoon he was sitting on a bench reading a news paper in front of C. M. McTyre’s Dry Goods and General Merchandise Store. At the time an itinerant street preacher was preaching. The preacher was a little irritated at Murray’s apparent lack of interest. He passed a cup around for an offering. Murray asked, “What do you want?” The preacher asked Murray, “Do you want to go to heaven?” Murray replied, “I am pretty well satisfied right here.”

Children had fun engaging in quiet games such as marbles, jackstones, thimble, blowing soap bubbles through a wooden spool, spinning a top, playing mumble peg, playing with paper dolls cut out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog. More active games included croquet. There were courts in many yards for this game. The Butner’s croquet ground was the space between the home later occupied by Walker and Ida Florence and the Methodist Parsonage. (currently the parking lot between the day care center and the funeral home). Drop the handkerchief, pop the whip, hop scotch, jump the rope, Red Rover, Fox in the War, Follow the Leader and rolling the hoop were old standbys. Many of these games are now forgotten.

Hide-and-Go-Seek was a very popular game because it could be played by just a few or many. There were many places to hide as well around the houses and the town!

County News by Correspondents Marietta Journal Oct 17, 1907

From other Towns and Localities.

WORK OF NEWS-FINDERS

All Points of the County Represented, Rural News and Fresh and Sparkling for Perusal.

POWDER SPRINGS

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Tapp of Henderson, Kentucky, were recent guest of the family of Mr. W. J. Tapp.

Miss Mamie Vaughn who is attending the State Normal School at Athens, spent Saturday and Sunday with homefolk.

Mrs. Eula Williams of Acworth, is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Uriah Matthews.

Miss Lillie Mosley spent last week with relatives in Douglasville.

Mr. John Mosley spent Sunday there and accompanied Miss Lillie home.

Misses Meek of Illinois are the charming guest of their sister, Mrs. MatDorsey.

Mrs. Belle Wright, Mr. Henry Morris and Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McKenney spent last Wednesday in Atlanta. They attended the National Convention of Rural Carriers.

Mrs. T. N. Camp and son, Dillard, have returned from an extended visit to South Carolina and the Exposition.

The Powder Springs Cheese Factory

1982 interview with Ted Leake by Patti Briel:

Cotton had been the main money crop for the farmers of the area, but the arrival of the boll weevil soon put a stop to growing cotton. The farmers were hard hit with little or no money. They had to find some other means of livelihood.

The Georgia Agricultural Extension Services came to the assistance of the farmers and helped them to establish a Cheese Factory Cooperation in the region. In 1921, Powder Springs had 15 investors to put up $100 each to establish the Co-op. With the capital investment of $1,500 the factory was then opened in with E. R. (Ted) Leake accepting the position of operator and manager. The Cheese Factory was located in a four room house on Anderson Street directly behind the Southern Depot.

Member farmers, or their wives, would deliver 5 to 10 gallons of milk early each morning to be weighed and dumped into a large, double boiler style vat. The milk was then heated and chemically treated to curdle it.

Whey, a biproduct of the cheese was separated and used by the farmers to feed their hogs. The butterfat was processed and the hardened cheese was cut into rectangular pieces and placed in a 6 inch by 18 inch hoop press. After being in the press for 24 hours, the hoops of cheese were then coated with hot paraffin and left to cure.

Mr. Leake remembers eating strips of cheese that were ready for the hoop presses like it was candy.

Mr. Leake remembers some problems he had with the cheese. One is very vivid in his mind because it earned him a nickname. One day he had a cheese that looked real good, but they began to swell and swelled up as large as a watermelon. He did not know what to do so he got on the train and went to Rockmart to ask the Agricultural Extension Agent who had set up the cheese factory, what had happened and what could he do about it. Mr. Mollett told him what his problem was and how to remedy it. Mr. Leake took the next train back to Powder Springs and “fixed” his swollen cheese.

Some of the boys heard about the swollen cheese and promptly dubbed Ted Leake “The Big Cheese”, thus giving him the nickname that he was thereafter known for many years!

The Cheese Factory did well for a time. It was capable of producing 8 to 10 cheeses per day.
The cheese was sold to wholesalers in Atlanta and to local merchants, who sold it in their stores like Mr. Lovinggood’s. It gave the farmers who produced the milk some money each month as opposed to only once a year when their cotton was sold.

Even soldiers returning on furlough from World War I had heard of the cheese factory. Some were surprised at the modest operation.

Mr. Leake had a steam whistle and any leftover steam in the boilers at the end of the day was used to blow the whistle just like a large factory. This practice was not particularly popular with some of the residents.

The Cheese Factory was successful for a time. Unfortunately, when the Georgia Cheese Factories began to make an impact on the southeastern market, the major cheese manufactures in Wisconsin began to lower their prices drastically to create competition and the Co-ops like the one in Powder Springs were unable to compete with them.

As the cheese market dwindled, Mr. Leake resigned as manager and operator of the Cheese Factory. A Mr.Westbrooks and other members of the Co-op took over, but were unable to keep the factory going. They had to close the factory in 1923. After the Wisconsin cheese makers succeeded in putting the Georgia Co-ops out of business, they raised their prices.

“Moonlighting” with the Big Cheese

1982 interview with Ted Leake by Patti Briel

At the same time the “Big Cheese” was operating the Cheese Factory he was doing some of the first “Moonlighting” in Powder Springs. Mr. Leake said he didn’t know it was ‘moonlighting”
until many years later. He was holding down two jobs. Mr. Leake was also the chief electrician for the battery powered Delco Light System that served the electric power needs in Powder Springs. He went to the Cheese Factory around 5:00 am and was usually through there by noon. He then went to his job at the Delco Light System.

Harry Miller was operating the Delco Light System and had been doing it all by himself. Keeping
the plant going, making all repairs and looking after the finances. He approached Mr. Leake and asked him if he would work in the afternoons and early evenings. So, Mr. Leake took the job as the Chief Electrician for the battery powered Delco Light System. Mr. Leake thought the system was owned by stockholders and the city.

To supply the electrical demands of the town, two generators powered a bank of Delco Batteries, which were charged during the afternoon to furnish the power for the street lights, businesses and homes at night. No electrical appliances were allowed, which was not a problem because these appliances were virtually non-existent at the time. Electric lights were also limited.

There were no meters. Citizens were charged a flat fee according to the number of rooms in their houses. The bigger the house, the more they had to pay.

Kerosene was used in the motors and in 1922 and 1923 it cost from eight to ten cents a gallon. The engines were high speed and the biggest problem was keeping good spark plugs or the engines burned out quickly.

The control battery was on one end in a big glass container with a big white ball in it. When the batteries were fully or sufficiently charged, the white ball would rise to the top. When the battery was getting low, it sank to the bottom. The exhaust pipe went into an old dry well outside the building. The well was kept covered with planks. Sometimes the fumes collected in the well and a spark would start a fire. Buckets were kept under the eaves to catch rainwater which were then used when needed to douse the fire.

In the middle twenties the delco equipment was wearing out and would need to be replaced. However, it would be expensive to do so. By this time, the Georgia Power Company had come to Austell. The Power Company approached the city of Powder Springs about buying the Delco System and obtaining a franchise. The City thought it would be a wise Move and so they agreed. By 1928, The Georgia Power Company was supplying the electrical power for Powder Springs.

The Delco Electrical System was located in a building on the left side of what is now Pineview Drive, just off Marietta Street, behind the old city hall, before getting to Jackson Way and the Baptist Cemetery. At one time, Mr. Leake also had a grocery store next door. There were several other businesses on this street in the early days of the town.