Turning calendar reveals new page for Woodstock
by Juanita Hughes
Columnist
January 02, 2013 12:33 AM | 994 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Juanita Hughes
Juanita Hughes
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By the time these words make it into print, we will have discarded our 2012 calendars and confronted 12 new pages. And probably I will have conceded defeat in my annual attempt to win a New Year’s Eve game of Trivial Pursuit with Dr. Elaine Hubbard.

The Christmas tree lights are still on, the wreaths are still on the doors, and the Christmas banner still flies from its pole on the front porch.

But the year is new, and there will be another Christmas before the next calendar comes out.

For now it’s time for new beginnings, new ideas, new challenges, and, in our family, the anticipation of the June arrival of a new baby, a boy this time.

With five great-granddaughters, we may have a lot to learn with this baby. It’s been over 18 years since the last male baby, but we’re all in this together.

And while we wait, life goes on. A look back on 2012 is in order if for no other reason than to analyze where we’ve been in making plans for where we need to go next.

By their very nature, groups involved in historic preservation are always looking back. But they focus on the future as well, knowing that in preserving the past, they are laying a firm foundation for the future.

Preservation Woodstock had a very busy 2012. The most impressive project was installation of signage at the site of the Rope Mill ruins at Old Rope Mill Park.

The Rope Mill figures prominently in Woodstock’s history, and with signage that details the operation of the mill, it is possible for today’s citizens to learn about the mill. The pedestrian bridge across the Little River at the site makes the various signs and sites easily accessible.

With a variety of celebrations centered on the Woodstock Depot, surely every person in Woodstock knows that the building was 100 years old in 2012.

Preservation Woodstock members hosted an art exhibit at Woodstock public Library as well as a smaller exhibit at Dean’s Store where a railroad/depot Time Line is still posted.

Natives shared Woodstock railroad and depot stories in a November session at Dean’s Store organized by Preservation Woodstock, and the group helped the Downtown Development Authority in planning and carrying out a ceremony officially naming the railroad pedestrian crossing at the depot in honor of Herb Priest.

Throughout all the activities and events about the depot, it was noted that Woodstock’s very foundation lay in the railroad.

Its importance was seen in every facet of life … in the shipment of goods, in passenger service, in mail delivery, especially during the city’s early years when there was no phone service, and later during the World Wars when Woodstock men were away at war.

Early farmers depended on the railroad, as did early merchants. Students rode the train to school. It was the mode of travel to the county seat north of us and to the big cities south of us. The Depot was indeed worthy of Centennial celebrations.

Another phase in the project of placing plaques at historical structures and sites was completed in 2012. Plans call for more plaques to be installed in 2013.

Also, tentative plans are under discussion for an exhibit that will feature some women in Woodstock’s history.

The 2013 Woodstock calendar will need a bigger space on the wall as the Shoppes of Atlanta Outlet Mall opens in July. When I drive by that location now, I can hardly remember how it once looked.

Somewhere in the wilderness that once covered those many acres from northern Main Street westward was a well-kept secret — a huge dewberry patch.

James Poor always knew when those early, juicy, supersize berries were ripe and waiting, and he and my Mama would go early and often to pick the “cream of the crop.”

There were trails that led to the river, and on Sunday afternoons we could walk to the railroad trestle and back. We had no inkling of what lay ahead for that property.

And we have no inkling of the surprises that 2013 might hold.

A quick look at 1913 is a reminder of how far we have come in a century.

On March 1, 1913, the establishment of federal income tax was signed into law.

On the lighter side, on Feb. 19, 1913, for the first time, a prize was included in every box of Cracker Jacks!

Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.
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