By Sharon Hall
CNI Regional newspapers
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation held its Fall Ramble in Dawson, Lumpkin and White counties last weekend, bringing about 225 people to tour the areas historic buildings and sites. Joining the Ramblers were many local and regional residents who took the rare opportunity to tour historic private homes as well as historic shops on the Dahlonega Public Square, North Georgia College & State University historic buildings and their first stopLumpkin Campground, a Methodist church camp founded in 1830 that was, when built, in Lumpkin County. It is now in Dawson County since the county line was shifted. The original building is still in use and still has a hard-packed red clay floor.
The Trust holds two Rambles each year, and it is quite an honor to be chosen as a destination, said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Joel Cordle. Cordle, who helped coordinate the Ramble with the help of the city council, Historic Preservation Commission, Lumpkin County Historical Society and North Georgia College & State University, as well as many individuals.
The main thing was the property owners themselves, who graciously opened their homes to the tour, he said.
One Trust member enjoyed the McAfee-Davis house on Dahlonegas Choice Street, built in the 1880s and now the home of Ken and Bonnie Richmond. One reason, she said, was that the house looked lived in.
And that it was. Bonnie was totally unprepared for the crowd. She had marked the event on the wrong date on the calendar.
I realized it when I had gone to the store and came home and there were cars all over the place, Bonnie said. I just told them they were going to see a lived-in house. The bed wasnt made and things were out of place in the work room. But they wanted to see the old part of the house, and hear about my grandparents, who used what is now my front room as their bedroom.
Bill and Mary Scotts home on Church Street in Dahlonegawas another popular stop.
People from all over came in a steady stream all afternoon, Bill said. They were so inquisitive and asked all kinds of questions about the house, about Dahlonega and its history, the college, gold panning.
Mary Arrington from Rome was most impressed with the 1915 Sara White house build by Fred Jones. White purchased the home in 2002 and renovated it with its origins in mind. She was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for her efforts at preserving the residence by the Lumpkin County Historical Society.
Arrington found the home charming, and very intimate.
This was not Arringtons first time on a Ramble to Dahlonega. She was also on a Ramble here in the 1980s. She was astounded at the growth of North Georgia College, she said, but was glad to see Price Memorial still remainedanother stop on the tour.
One of the favorite stops for Trust members was Seven Oaks, the home of Thomas and Tommye Scanlin. Scanlin estimated he had about 250 visitors.
The home is the former residence of Col. William P. Price, founder of North Georgia College. Built in 1871, the house is filled with antiques and art from the Scanlins eclectic art collection.
Im hoarse from all the questions and answers, he said. Everybody talked about different things, but they talked about the folk art as much as anything.
Ginger Duke and Helen Tapp, two visitors from nearby who joined the Ramble, were particularly interested in the houses gingerbread, the ornate trim dating from the Victorian era used on the roof of the porch.
Scanlin provided lunch on the lawn, a chance to meet folk artist Billy Roper and to pan for gold, as well as a ride to Mt. Hope Cemetery and backin a 1934 Rolls Royce limo one way and a modern one for the return trip. Dr. Pamela Sachant, the universitys fine arts department head, acted as docent for the historic site.