The Powder Springs Senior Citizen’s Center was established in 1985 and opened in the old Powder Springs School Primary building on Atlanta Street. By 1990 the Senior’s occupied two of the buildings, the old Primary School building and the old Lunchroom building. The last use of the buildings on campus was as an Elementary School. The school building was originally built in 1920 as the Powder Springs School. The two buildings the Senior’s occupy were built in 1938 and 1942 with the Primary School Building being built in 1957. All were in need of repair.
In 1984, Cobb County chose to build a new school, which opened in 1988, rather than try to repair, renovate, or refurbish these buildings. This presented an opportunity for the Senior Citizens to refurbish one of those buildings. These buildings then sat empty for several years.
In 1990 two Senior Citizens of Powder Springs, George Awtrey, and George “Coach” Ford, began to press the Mayor and City Council to let them refurbish one of these buildings at the communities expense. They knew where they could get donations of building material and volunteer labor.
Tom Carroll, President of the Senior Citizens Center, worked along with Mr. Awtrey and Coach Ford to secure the City’s approval. With Tom Carroll’s help, they were able to secure Community Development Block Grant funding for part of their repairs. They were also able to purchase a Van for the Seniors to use for traveling. There were some projects, like a new roof, that had to be sublet to a roofing contractor and there were a few other projects that the City helped with. The Seniors went after Federal and State Grant monies.
Once the money was secured and other resources were made available, Tom Carroll, George Awtrey, and Coach Ford worked along with many other friends and members working daily at the school from March through August 1992. Their goal was to open the Center in September. This building was completed and dedicated in 1992 on schedule.
Several years later an inquiry was made by Melanie Young, Easter-Seals- Southern GA in Albany, GA to Mr. Frank Judkins, a member of the Center, as to how the center got started, how they supported themselves and, in general, what keeps them functioning. The inquiry was passed on to the then acting President, William “Bill” Morris. He, in turn, wrote a brief history of the center. This inquiry and response is not dated but appears to have been written around 2000.
Mr. Morris’ history expanded on the above history stating that this building been redecorated, some structural repair, etc, with yet again Grant money. Volunteers from the community and students from McEachern High School came together to help do the repair work, which included scraping and painting the ceilings in the Center.
All furnishings like lunch room tables and chairs came from Cobb County Board of Education. With the use of the building came a kitchen steel work table and double size kitchen sink. All the other furnishings came from both the young and Senior Citizens as donations. Other donations were also made by the various organizations in the community.
Once again, one of the Seniors who pressed for the first building went after the City to allow the same thing to be done to another building located on the same campus. This one was newer built in 1942. The City was greatly satisfied with what had been done so far, so they gave their permission to go ahead. This building was completed some two years later, also with Grant monies, donations and volunteers.
Since the property belongs to the City, the Seniors think of themselves as caretakers of these two buildings and is operated by volunteers age 55 and over. They raise funds for operational expenses by quilt sales, baked items, yard sales, rental of meeting space and donations.
The Center keeps the Senior Citizens functioning by offering a variety of activities on and off campus weekly, monthly and yearly. They are also friends helping each other during both good and bad times. In the many years prior to the Pandemic in 2020, weekly activities included exercise, quilting, painting, covered dish luncheons, spaghetti suppers, various entertainments, bingo, line dancing, movies, jewelry making, dominoes, card games, and even Wii Bowling. Special guest speakers, health care initiatives, including blood pressure checks, talent shows and bake sales.
Once a month, trips at cost. Many trips were made over the years to take visit many of the attractions, historical sites and restaurants across the state. They also had several outings into the state of Alabama. Some of the seniors had moved here from other areas and were not familiar with Powder Springs or the state of Georgia. These trips gave them an opportunity to learn about our area and the state as a whole.
April Crawford, the current (2022) President of the Senior Center, is one such person. Since joining the Senior Center and going on these trips Ms. Crawford says she has really learned about Georgia, more than she would have otherwise.
The Activity Building offered a fully functional library; game room with pool table, dart boards and variety of games; wood work shop equipped with various tools; meeting room and a computer room. They were very active in the community and supportive of City functions. Over the years they participated in Powder Springs Day Parades, Christmas Parades with floats made and manned by the Seniors and various other city celebrations.
Currently (2022) the Center continues to operate at a limited capacity with limited activities because of the Covid19. Open hours are usually Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For further information and appointments, please contact the Senior Center Coordinator, Dee Chappell at 770-943-1555. The Senior Center is located at 4181 Atlanta Street, Building #3 Main Office, Powder Springs, GA 30127.
Information for this article was provided by Dee Chappell, Director of the Senior Citizens Center since 2004, who graciously provided access to the Center’s files and records. Thank you, Dee. Tri-County News, 1994 or 1995 article “Tom Carroll Cobb Senior leader of ‘94” by Christopher Barker, News Editor. Mr. Carroll was named “Outstanding Community Leader of the Year” by the Cobb County Senior Citizens Council, honoring all of his accomplishments for the communities where he has lived and worked.
The History compiled by William (Bill) Morris about the Senior Citizens Center for Melanie Young, Easer Seals-Southern GA, Albany GA. Mr. Morris was President of the Senior Citizens Center for many years. He worked to keep the Center going, a fun place for them to meet and play through the years. The main building of the Center has been named in his honor “The William “Poppa” Morris building.
The original article on Mr. Carroll and history letter by Mr. Morris is on file at the Senior Center. The Museum has a copy of each on file.