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‘Barnesville is an undiscovered gem’

Officials with the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the 376 visitors who bought tickets to Saturday’s Expedition had rave reviews about the ‘˜Buggy to Barnesville’ event. ’We are astonished with the quality of the homes, furnishings and hospitality of the people of Barnesville,’ said Georgia Trust president Mark McDonald. ‘This has been a wonderful event. Barnesville is an undiscovered gem.’ It was pointed out the families in seven of the 11 homes featured on the tour moved to town when they ‘fell in love’ with the architecture. ‘It’s a good lesson in why preservation works,’ McDonald added. Nancy Greene of Rutledge came to town to see the Gachet House. Her husband, the late Lane Greene, was the architect who spearheaded its restoration in the 1980s. ‘All the homes on tour were absolutely stunning, surprisingly beautiful with wonderful, friendly people,’ she said. There were visitors from all over Georgia along with couples attending from North Carolina and Tennessee. Among those was Tillie Clark of Elizabethtown, NC who compared Barnesville to Mayberry and called it quaint, charming and welcoming. ‘I loved the way everyone welcomed us. Even the police were smiling and on the streets helping us.’ Drew Payne and Christy Todd of the Griffin-Spalding County Historical Society said they were taking ideas back to their community. ‘Even though we’re only 13 miles away, I didn’t realize so many of the people in Barnesville have done so much to preserve and repurpose these historic homes for today’s use,’ he said. Todd was pleasantly surprised by the artistic community and that the residents here appreciate art and culture. ‘We are jealous,’ she reported. Mary May of Macon commended the planners with the options on the tour. ‘This is the most fun, loving town that I’ve ever been in. The organ concert by Cathy Willis was fabulous – she is so talented – and it was such a nice respite to attend it in the middle of the day.’ Georgia Trust board member Tom Wight of Macon commended Pat Edwards, chair of the local event. ‘I’ve driven through Barnesville but I am thrilled to get the opportunity to see all the resources. It was such a fun day,’ he noted. ’This is one of the most outstanding ones ever,’ concluded Rosemary Buttermore of Madison. She attends most of the Georgia Trust’s Rambles and Expeditions. The 11 homes on tour were Carnegie Library, One Carnegie Way; Claxton House (1896), 537 Thomaston Street; Smith-Dukes House (1912), 530 Thomaston Street; Piper-Manley House (1894), 536 Thomaston Street; Murphy-Ogletree House (1850), 870 Thomaston Street; Stephens-Gallion House (1874), 725 Thomaston Street; Collier-Smith House (1919), 873 Thomaston Street; Kennedy House (1850), 217 Zebulon Street; Bush-Bunn House (1910), 410 Community House Road; Sappington-Minton House (1877), 474 Brent Road; and the Gachet House (1821) 951 Highway 18 West. The tour of the Lambdin-McCarthy House (1849), 643 Greenwood Street was cancelled due to illness.

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