In the midst of Gwinnett’s Bicentennial Celebration, I am very grateful for the work of the pioneers and all those leaders to follow who built the foundations for today’s Gwinnett County. I also feel very appreciative that some tangible evidence of what life was like here more than a century ago has been preserved.
Take, for example, Marvin and Phyllis Hughes. In 1984, they bought one of the oldest houses in Gwinnett to save it from demolition. It was built around 1827 northwest of Lawrenceville by Isaac Adair. Over a period of 10 years, they took it apart board by board, carefully labeling and moving each piece and restoring any that were rotten.
In 2000, the Isaac Adair House was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Its new location was 2.5 miles southeast of Lawrenceville on a spot which, by 2008, was in the path of the proposed Sugarloaf Parkway extension. The County bought the house and moved it again, this time to a site next to the Lawrenceville Female Seminary.
Now the Isaac Adair House is open to Gwinnett residents and visitors for tours, community meetings, and events. It’s a wonderful place to learn about life in Gwinnett in the early 19th century.
The County’s Department of Community Services recently inducted 18 groups and individuals into a new Preservation Hall of Fame. Along with the Gwinnett Historical Restoration and Preservation Board, they honored the preservation efforts of people like the Hughes that allow us to see and touch remnants of an earlier way of life.
The Hutchins, Livsey, Nash, Hudgens, and Williams families were recognized for their contributions. Honored groups included the Gwinnett Historical Society, the Hooper-Renwick Legacy Preservation Committee, the United Ebony Society, and the Historical Restoration and Preservation Board.
Individual honorees included Alice McCabe, Annette Williams Tucker, James Flanagan, James D’Angelo, Marvin & Phyllis Hughes, Marvin Nash Worthy, Robert Bowman, and Wayne Hill. I was humbled to be one of the recipients for my role in establishing preservation grants and acquiring historical sites during my years as finance director and county administrator.
May is Historic Preservation and Archaeology Month, so the timing was appropriate. It’s also the time of year when the weather has warmed up, perfect for getting out and exploring our community. There are so many fascinating historical sites right here in Gwinnett, including the Fort Daniel site that dates back to a time before Gwinnett County was even founded.
The Bicentennial website, www.gwinnett200.com, features an interactive historic site locator that includes buildings, museums, markers, monuments, churches, and cemeteries. There’s also a complete calendar of hundreds of bicentennial-themed events taking place through the end of this year.
I believe that preservation efforts in Gwinnett improve our quality of life, offer educational opportunities, recall 200 years of our history, and ensure that important resources will be available for the next generation of Gwinnettians. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these resources and visit some of these amazing places!