Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Road Signs

Favorite road sign of all time

Is there an option to "done while you wait"?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mt. Olivet Road & McPherson Loop

The Paulding County Historical Society Museum that I visited the other day is on N. Johnston Street in Dallas, which is named after Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, about a block from the intersection of Confederate Street and Polk Avenue, named after Confederate General Leonidas Polk. (Yes, there's a pattern here.) The museum sits on the site of the former Dallas High School, which is where my dad graduated, and is about four miles from where he grew up, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to drive by.

A short distance out of town, Polk Avenue becomes Mt. Olivet Road. Paulding County didn't have the money for school buses to the Mt. Olivet community at the time my dad was in high school, so they divided up the transportation budget between the students. The allotment was just enough to cover his school supplies. Every day he ran the four miles to school and back, usually taking the short cut along the railroad tracks, which worked out well except for the time he got stuck on a trestle with a train coming.

Despite the encroaching development, Mt. Olivet Road is still predominantly rural.

The Mt. Olivet Church building that my dad grew up in.

The new sanctuary

The old (but not the oldest) Mt. Olivet Cemetary is on the hill between the two buildings. The new cemetary is across the road. The pioneer cemetary was discovered a few years ago in the woods between here and my grandfather's pasture. My mother and I got to go see it with my dad not long after, and he took us to the spot "on the backside of the pasture" where he got saved about two o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon in August between morning and evening revival services when he was a teenager.

There are a lot of infant graves in the cemetary, most of them unmarked.

Proof spelling is not a required skill to be a headstone engraver #1: my grandparents' marker.

Proof spelling is not a required skill to be a headstone engraver #2: my dad's little sister's grave with the oh-so-old-Georgia pronunciation of my grandmother's name phonetically spelled.
Just before you reach the church, McPherson Loop cuts off Mt. Olivet Road and heads down behind the church before it intersects McPherson Church Road, which will either bring you back to Mt. Olivet Road or continue on to (wait for it ...) McPherson Baptist Church. And no, McPherson Baptist Church, McPherson Church Road, and McPherson Loop were not named after Union General James McPherson.

The house my dad was born in was formerly on the site where this white house now sits on McPherson Loop. The pasture was across the street. The pioneer cemetary is hidden in the woods not far away.

This picture of my grandfather and some of his grandchildren was sent to my dad when he was a POW in Stalag-17B during WWII.

The underpass on Mt. Olivet Road was one lane when I was a kid and did not look capable of holding up a freight train. I've never been claustrophobic, but I still found driving under it a little freaky.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Obligatory Cute Cat Photo #2

Taunting the cat:

Na-Na-Na-Na-NaNa, You can't get me!

The Neighbors

I went out to walk after my last student of the afternoon, and when I got back to the yard, I found out who had been scratching in the leaves. At least one of the turkeys is back in town after being away for awhile. By the time I got close enough to snap a picture, he had run off into the woods, so I went back through my old pictures and found this one.

This would probably be a good time to introduce some of the rest of the community. I see three, four, or five does fairly often at dusk, but this guy stays pretty scarce except when acorns are in the yard.

This fellow doesn't live here. He was just passing through one day when I came home from church.

Not pictured are the owl I can hear but have never seen, the rest of the deer, and 57,843 squirrels. The deer and the squirrels are big supporters of community gardening, and are always willing to do their share of the work, so eager, in fact, that they race each other to see who can finish harvesting first.

Finally, there's Mini Guiness, who doesn't live here, but stops in for lunch every once in awhile. Except for being half the size, having shorter hair, and one little white tuft on his chest, he is an exact replica of Guiness.

Update: I renamed Mini Guiness "Minnie" after "he" had kittens.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Obligatory Cute Cat Photo #1

Because what's a blog without a cute cat and the subsequent photos?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Paulding County Historical Society Museum

The Paulding County Historical Society Museum in downtown Dallas, Georgia is a neat little small town museum housed in the first schoolhouse in Dallas. The museum has three rooms filled with artifacts illustrating the educational, military, medical, and social history of Paulding County. Some of them are particularly interesting to individuals with roots in Paulding County. I recognized a number of names and places associated with some of the exhibits. One that was rather amusing to me was a bass guitar donated by a friend of mine with a placard that stated it was played by him in a couple of groups that we both were part of a number of years ago.

Paulding County Historical Society Museum
295 North Johnston Street
Dallas, GA 30132
http://www.pchsm.org/Hours: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month


The first schoolhouse in Dallas

I loved the map of early Georgia roads!

Powder Springs Road, Marietta, Georgia 1864: Kolb’s Farm

I took the opportunity of the Cobb County Library Book Sale the other day to stop by the Kolb House on the way, located on Powder Springs Road at the intersection of Callaway Road/Cheatham Hill Road at the southern edge of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

Peter Valentine Kolb House

Built in 1836 by pioneer Peter Valentine Kolb, a prosperous farmer, two years before the final removal of the Cherokee Indians, the four-room cabin of squared hewn logs is a rare example of affluence in frontier North Georgia architecture, being two to four times the size of the usual single pen cabin or double pen dogtrot, and having a fireplace in each room, an unusual occurrence of the period. Built with an open dogtrot, the passageway was enclosed into a central hall some time before the Civil War. Of the buildings located within the current confines of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park before 1864, it is the only structure still standing.

The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park’s Cell Phone Audio Tour is an excellent source of information about the Kolb Farm and the Kolb family. Dial 770-325-0444, then press 105 when prompted for a stop number.

In May 1864, Confederate Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston began to defend Atlanta from Union forces under Gen. William T. Sherman by a series of delaying maneuvers, while Sherman, with the advantage of about twice as many men, sought to flank the Confederates out of each defensive stronghold. While constantly skirmishing from Dalton to Dallas, both commanders sought to avoid a major battle until they found ground of their choosing. Cutting loose from the Western and Atlantic Railroad that was his supply line to Chattanooga in an attempt to bypass Johnston once for all, Sherman found the wilderness of Paulding County and the troops of Patrick Cleburne very much to his dislikingand pulled back to the railroad at Acworth as soon as he could extricate himself from New Hope Church, Pickett’s Mill, and Dallas.

Johnston, on the other hand, found exactly what he had been searching in a series of peaks forming a defensive arc around Marietta and the railroad, connected and fortified by an elaborate line of entrenchments, leaving Sherman scrambling for a way around.

Attempting to flank Johnston’s left as usual, Sherman sent Schofield’s Army of the Ohio and Hooker’s Corps south of the Dallas Road toward Powder Springs Road with the objective of taking either Marietta or Smyrna, and with it the railroad, cutting off Johnston’s line of supply and line of retreat. To meet the threat, Johnston pulled Hood’s corps from his right and sent it through Marietta and out Powder Springs Road to block the movement. Rather than move into an entrenched position blocking the road, Hood recklessly decided to attack without knowing the extent of Federal troops to his front, assuming that he had only part of Schofield’s forces in front of him.

Around noon on June 22, 1864, Hood had Stevenson’s Division move down Powder Springs Road as far as Mount Zion Church at the intersection of Powder Springs Road and Macland Road. Shortly after 2:30, Stevenson’s skirmishers encountered two advancing Union regiments and forced them back with heavy firing. Stevenson hastily entrenched to await the Federal attack, but Hood soon ordered Stevenson’s and Hindman’s Divisions to attack.

The battle in the vicinity of Kolb’s Farm was costly, with Hood losing over 1000 men while Union casualties were only around 350. The Confederates succeeded in blocking the flanking movement, but only accomplished pushing two Union regiments back to their main line. Rather than flanking Sherman as he had planned, Hood retreated to an entrenched line across the road.


The stretching of the Confederate line south of Powder Springs Road led to Sherman’s fateful decision to attack the center of the main Confederate line around Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, costing him 1800 casualties to 800 Confederate losses. His lesson learned, Sherman resumed his flanking strategy.

The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park’s Cell Phone Audio Tour contains an informative summary of the Battle of Kolb’s Farm that is easy to follow, unlike the usual historical marker summaries that make little sense taken out of context of the main campaign. Dial 770-325-0444, then press 115 when prompted for a stop number.

For information on the rest of the tour stops, go to

Kolb Farm, part of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Location: Powder Springs Road at Callaway Road, southwest of Marietta, GA
Cost: Free

Rear of the Kolb House. The house is used as a private residence, and the interior is not open to the public.

The National Park Service restored the Kolb House in 1964 to its 1864 appearance. Presumably, the air conditioner was not original to the house.

This battlefield map faces west. Powder Springs Road (GA 360) is the diagonal line on the left running southwest toward Powder Springs. Macland Road (GA 360) cuts off to the right. Mount Zion Church is the square with a cross in the angle of the intersection on the right. The Dallas Road (Dallas Highway, GA 120) is the line on the right heading due west toward Dallas. Marietta would be just below the bottom edge of the map. Confederate forces are in red, Union in blue.

Looking west on Powder Springs Road from Kolb House. Mount Zion Church and Macland Road are just out of sight on the right.
 Sherman could only have dreamed of a paved five-lane road. Incessant June rains had turned the roads into quagmires of red mud. Still, if he had had to contend with modern metro Atlanta traffic, he would never have made it to Atlanta in time to secure Lincoln's reelection in November.

Looking east on Powder Springs Road from the Kolb House at the intersection of Callaway (right) and Cheatham Hill Road (left). The cross streets did not exist in 1864.

Update: Since this post I have found photos of the restoration of the Kolb House, including interior views. They are posted here:

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Bunch of Old Books

I brought home a haul of reading from the Cobb County Library's Used Book Sale last week, mostly history. Not a bad pile for $18.50.

One in particular caught my eye as I was about to embark on a journey as a pursuer of old roads: Touring the Backroads of North and South Georgia by Victoria and Frank Logue.

Growing up with Sherman invading my front yard (give or take two or three miles), I devoured the Atlanta Campaign all through middle and high school, but as I got older I began to take the history at hand for granted as I moved on to stories elsewhere. (I won't say how long it's been since I've been to Kennesaw Mountain, but the last time I went, there were no signs about the cell phone tour because there were no cell phones). Since I'm going to be blogging about a lot of the sights associated with the campaign, it would probably be a good idea to brush up on the details. This is a volume I've checked out of the library several times, so I snatched it up: War So Terrible: Sherman and Atlanta by James Lee McDonough and James Pickett Jones. I've already consulted it writing my next post.

The next Used Book Sale will be October 11-13, 2013 at Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Rd., Marietta, GA.

And speaking of Jim R. Miller Park, as many times as I have been to the North Georgia State Fair, I never knew until I parked next to them the other day that the site offered RV parking: several very scenic sites  ... beside the lake adjacent to the mountain of trash at the Cobb County landfill.

But it looks pretty at least.