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More about that other hidden treasure

POSTED: December 12, 2012 4:00 a.m.

When I wrote a column about the Old Courthouse's decorations, including new lights around the square, one of the main purposes was to also tell about the hidden treasure inside that building.

Obviously, my memory trail of the Historic Courthouse-Woman's Club relationships became so winding that it had to stop before it led to the Historical and Genealogical Society office.

Since I really wanted to pursue that path, I'm now stepping into that part of the story.

In the '90s, as historical society members were preparing the Dawson County Heritage Book, they were a given a small room in the Old Courthouse as a workroom.

Then as other officers (9th District Opportunity, Voter Registration, etc.) expanded into larger quarters elsewhere, the society room expanded into a larger area of the first floor of that building.

Eventually, several interested society members began to meet there regularly on Wednesdays to collect pictures and artifacts and arrange them for display.

Even though active membership is small, those dedicated women have turned the two rooms into much more than a place to store records (although it is that) or to hold business meetings (and they do).

It is a place to reminisce if you're a native or long-time resident or to enjoy looking at walls filled with pictures of old and new churches, schools, public buildings, homes and even of some people - sheriffs over the last century, for example.

There are also interesting maps of the county and some physical artifacts, such as a chest of standard weights and measures given the county when it was chartered in 1857.

The group of Woman's Club members who came to decorate the exterior for Christmas included no "long-timers" who had memories of earlier Dawson County days, but they were delighted by their brief visit to that "hidden treasure" and vowed not only to return for a longer perusal but to bring others to share their pleasure.

Every Wednesday afternoon (or by special request) the historical and genealogical society room is open and you'll find at least two or three ladies busy at work.

It could be any or all of the faithful (Jackie, Peggy, Faye, Betty, Pat, Evelyn), and they will be happy for you to step back into your county's past.

The mailing address is P.O. Box 1074, Dawsonville, GA 30534; phone number, (706) 265-3985.

The society continuously builds files where people can do genealogical or historical research (not necessarily available on the Internet) or are just browsing for interesting records.

They really solicit old Dawson County newspapers, church bulletins, school yearbooks, family Bible records, military pictures or letters - especially from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Yes, they have some of these, and so does the library in the Historical Room, but they would like more and will be happy to copy any that someone is willing to share.

Another thing they solicit: People who are interested in learning and preserving the area's history to become members.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.


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