Advertise With Us

A new sense of community within a community

A new sense of community within a community

By Steven P. Starling

There are many memories of everyday life and community, as it used to be.  We never knew we would miss these plain times, we didn’t think of them giving way to the years.  There is a “sayin” my brother Walton started using years ago; he could have heard it in his youth, or most likely from our Daddy.  When we pass an old farm or home place that has served the purpose of producing crops and raising generations of family he says, “well, another old place fallen on hard times and hard ways”.


Steven P. Starling

He says it with a  reverence and mournful tone.  What is left of these vanishing scenes are usually bits and pieces of past lives you can picture.  Even these old scenes of a falling down old house or barn, some just one or two sturdy, well built chimneys with their leaning out buildings scattered about are becoming extinct.  Most wear the death shroud of the green, vines and leafs of the inevitable Southern kudzu grave.  
There is no old pot bellied stove to gather round in any of the local stores.  Now we worry about good parking places, sale prices on rotisserie chickens, and making sure we get our key chain shoppers card scanned for deals and gas discount points.  There are no homemade  checker boards ready to start a leisurely or heated game, instead we show our friends the latest game we are playing on our cell phones. Instead of making sure there is dry fire wood ready to heat large, drafty, and uninsulated homes;  we just move a small plastic switch on the wall to reach a comfortable temperature year round.  No huge enamelware coffee pot already brewing and boiling since the early hours of the morning.  The luxury we now have is to pour water, scoop ground coffee (or small plastic cup) and press a brew button.
Fallen on hard times and hard waysConcerns, worry, and small victories about crop progress is not the talk of the day.  Large scale and “truck” farmers both worried about the trials, tribulations, and yield expectations of acres of vital vegetation are no longer daily worries.  Now, we worry about the latest odd insect that has appeared on our 4 or 5 tomato plants “set out” in buckets.  Instead of warehouses of guano that used to help drive the economy of Grayson, today we go to large chain stores and actually purchase small bags of natural fertilizer  from animals.  Large yield farms, especially the life blood of cotton slowly disappeared, they gave way to changing times that were inevitable and mostly welcomed.
These scenes of old are now long gone but, are precious and treasured memories.  As Trip, Berckley, and later (and now) Grayson’s once well stocked old mercantile stores, multi-generational friendships,  and large yield farms slowly disappeared, they gave way to changed habits and ways.  Inevitable progress and world events required responsible development of our once small town.  We now have comfortable modern homes, new roads, traffic lights, modern educational advances, and all the trappings of a successful metro Atlanta suburb. 
The closest you will get to these memories of olden days is a peaceful, charming white house built in the late 1890’s.  Alive with the old and the new.  The old home faces the well travelled Rosebud Road.  It blends into Grayson’s much loved, and well visited City Park and City Hall campus. I speak of the Kennerly-Cox house, now the home of The Grayson Arts and History Center.  It is a typical old Grayson home. It was built in one of the varied styles of many other homes that helped shape the town of Trip that Rev. J. P. McConnell dreamed of and developed from 80 acres in the early 1880’s.
The Grayson Arts and History Center still has beautiful old oaks in the front, a partial sand front yard, with only as much grass as the shade of the oaks will allow.   The house has changed as little as possible since Doyle and Flora Cox did some minor remodelling in the late 1950’s.  A beautiful face lift and polish to make the house better suited for public use and comfort was done with much detail.
As you come through the front or back door of Grayson Arts and History Center you are welcomed by many loyal, happy voices of different ages.  These Arts and History Center volunteers that we are so honored to have are kind, caring people who have  made the Grayson area their home.  These volunteers are so treasured, and without them we just could not offer and provide all the special and everyday operations and “goings on” we do.
It is so evident that you are more than welcome when you visit the Grayson Arts and History Center.  Once you pass thru the doors, you are practically part of the family.  Grayson has created a new sense of community, with new residents and a handful of “ole Grayson folk”.  Depending on the day you visit, you could walk in to the smell of cookies baking, the kitchen table surrounded by chatter of the, now famous “pimento cheese” competition.  You will probably be offered to share lunch of any variety brought by the volunteers.  As the new sense of community continues you will be treated as an old friend, whether your first visit to the Center or a regular visitor.
Besides the impressive history displays that visitors can’t seem to absorb enough, I give several planned (and unplanned) tours a month.  There is a never ending flurry of activity at the Grayson Arts and History Center.  We have provided tours of many shapes and sizes,  school groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Red Hat Clubs.  New families who have recently moved into the area, and even “ole Grayson folk” come by to see the history displays.  The new residents are eager to learn the history of their new home, the “ole Grayson folk” come to visit and to see their youths memories again.
If you have not visited our gift shop, you will be impressed and amazed.  So many beautiful items, handcrafted decor, homemade jams and jellies, and many unique items are available.  We are proud to be showcasing some new local talent, creations of different varieties.  The Arts and History Center also published a wonderful cookbook several years ago.  “From Trip to Grayson, A Historical Cookbook” we even published a second edition in 2009.  Plans have already started for a third edition in the near future.  Rumor has it that there are only about 50ish copies of the second edition available for sale, you better come in soon to buy a copy.
I am the City of  Grayson Historian.  The Director of the Grayson Arts and History Center is Barbara Hinkle.  She is the driving force that keeps the Center productive, happy and healthy.  She has shared her many talents, countless donations, hours of hard work and is tireless in her unknown acts of kindness.  The newest addition to the Center is Joey Hancock.  He is now our: Writer in Residence.  We welcome him as an asset to our continued growth.  When Barbara and I decorated and opened the Center about 12 years ago, I do not think either of us realized what it would become or mean to the community.
Our 2014 calender has already gotten underway.  Various special Teas have begun again, the Valentines Tea was filled within a week.  We also are having a St. Patrick’s Day tea on March 8th, and a Mother’s Day Tea on May 10th.  Our famous “Christmas in July” will be on July 26th, from 10-4.  Also the Grayson Historic Preservation Society will hold regular meetings, with dates and times to be announced.
As you can tell we stay very busy because we want you to enjoy and be part of Grayson’s new sense of community.  For information on Grayson Arts and History Center or upcoming events you may call 678-985-7775. The center is opened from 10-2 Tuesday thru Saturday.

Steven Starling is teh City of Grayson Historian and a freelance writer. Add your piece of history below!