FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marietta, GA. – The Georgia Association of Museums (GAM) is excited to announce its annual conference, April 26-28, 2021. As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues statewide, GAM is pleased to offer a hybrid experience to conference-goers, who may opt to attend in-person sessions in Statesboro, GA, or virtually using the Zoom teleconferencing platform.
“We are excited to bring our first ever hybrid conference to Statesboro,” said Matt Davis, GAM President. “Statesboro has helped create a great program with wonderful evening events and sessions, museums to visit, and protocols in place to keep all members safe. I look forward to seeing everyone, either virtually or in person, in April.”
Building on the success of GAM’s 2019 and 2020 conferences, which set attendance records and drew museum professionals from three states, the 2021 conference slate will feature 15 sessions that address all aspects of museum operations, appealing to those from volunteer-led organizations as well as the state’s flagship institutions. Keynote speaker Zinnia Willits, Executive Director of the Southeastern Museums Conference, will energize GAM’s members with her reflections on the field after a tumultuous yet inspiring year. Recipients of GAM Awards, which recognize excellence among Georgia’s museum employees, volunteers, and supporters, will also be honored.
In-person sessions and workshops will take place in the Russell Union and Williams Center at Georgia Southern University (GSU). These wonderful facilities will provide a central location for attendees and vendors to gather, along with the technology to connect with virtual conference attendees. In addition to GSU’s existing campus safety measures and limited seating capacities, all in-person attendees will be required to wear masks correctly and maintain six feet of social distance from others.
A great slate of programming at Statesboro museums also awaits in-person attendees. Evening events will take place at three local institutions supported by GSU – the Botanic Garden, the Center for Wildlife Education and Lamar Q. Ball, Jr. Raptor Center, and the Georgia Southern Museum – as well as the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, home of the Museum on Main. Attendees will visit other area museums on their own throughout the week before relaxing at host hotel Home2Suites near GSU’s campus.
“Statesboro and Bulloch County are steeped in history and appreciate tradition, yet the communities also have long encouraged education and innovation,” said Brent Tharp, Georgia Southern Museum Director and GAM conference host committee chair. “That makes it the perfect place for the museum community of Georgia to gather, learn, share, and revive.”
To register for the conference or for more information, visit gamg.org or contact GAM Administrative Director Michele Rodgers at [email protected]
Want to truly make memories that will last a lifetime? Plan ahead to take back roads to your next vacation destination!
Chart a course that allows you to navigate back roads as often as possible and forget the blur of blinding billboards and big rigs. Enjoy the scenery provided by small towns and build unique stops into your route while leaving a little wiggle room. You never know when you might drive through a small town hosting a festival or parade so look at side trips or unplanned expeditions as a bonus! Historical venues, interesting restaurants, local breweries, or perhaps even guided tours can provide plenty of additional reasons to pull over, too.
Being flexible and keeping an open mind will maximize your experience. Make sure your travel companions, whether family or friends, are all on the same page about this up front. Pack unique snacks, create a travel-themed play list, and share fun road trip games to maximize your fun!
Enjoy traveling at your own pace with no worries of lost luggage or departure deadlines. Cherish your time in the car together and remember that adventure can be found in the most unexpected places.
What could have been an eye-sore (albeit a useful one) is thankfully a place of beauty and peacefulness in downtown Statesboro.
Amidst the vehicle traffic, nestled in the forked intersection where East Main Street and Savannah Avenue merge at the edge of downtown, stands a flowing, time-worn fountain at the threshold of a serene alcove of azaleas and camellias known as Triangle Park.
In the late 1890s the triangular piece of land was owned by W.D. (Dan) Davis and was the home of the artesian well that supplied water to the “village” of Statesboro. As the town grew, and outgrew the capabilities of the well, it seemed that the logical solution for an expanding city would be to use the land for a higher capacity water works system. The citizens voted in favor of the project in 1903, and the land was purchased from Davis by the City.
There was only one problem. A small group of citizens (four to be exact), with a healthy dose of forethought and vision, believed that the new water works system would have a negative impact on the atmosphere and aesthetic of downtown Statesboro. They were concerned that the noise of the system would be disturbing to the public and even frighten horses as they pulled carriages and buggies into town. They also thought a water works system would be a visual blight on the otherwise picturesque downtown.
Since water was a utility and a necessity for a growing city, the small group needed a solution that would accompany their complaints that could be presented to City Council. Their solution? They purchased four lots located on Hill Street for the City to use for the new water works system.
The lots were presented as a GIFT to the City. However, it was not an unconditional gift. They offered the new land to the City on the condition that the City turn the small triangle of land into a park and never allow any building to be constructed on the property. The City agreed and built the new water works on the newly gifted lots on Hill Street.
It took a few years, but then in 1907 the City began to make progress on the park by planting rows of sycamore trees that would soon grow tall enough to provide ample shade to park-goers. Then, finally, in 1926, Triangle Park was officially named and opened for public use with seating, swings, and playground equipment. The following year, in 1927, the City installed a pool with a tall flowing water fountain.
Over the years the park has seen many changes. A horse watering trough was added. The sycamore trees and playground equipment were removed. Azaleas, roses, and camellias were planted. And a plaque in honor of Vietnam veterans was installed.
The fountain and pool remain as the focal point of the park and a favorite location for locals and visitors photographing life’s special moments.
The Water Trough
If you’ve been to Triangle Park, you may have noticed the old horse water trough now used as a planter. The trough was originally located near the iconic (and long gone) Walnut Tree in downtown Statesboro on East Main Street in front of the Courthouse.
The trough was created around the same time that the new water works project was being completed, and possibly even funded by the same bonds that were approved by voters to build the water works system.
At the time, around 1904, downtown Statesboro did have a few water troughs but they were of poor condition and not well maintained. As a means to encourage locals and visitors to frequent, and linger in, the downtown business district the City decided to build and maintain a sturdy new watering trough. In 1905 the trough was completed and placed on East Main Street at the edge of the Courthouse Square.
The water trough was eventually moved to Triangle Park where it remains to this day. Without the need to serve as a water source for parched equine, the City has converted the trough into a planter with a small plaque commemorating its history.
National Travel and Tourism Week is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community. It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal wellbeing.
“Although most travel and events have been put on hold, one way to help make sure Statesboro continues to be a destination is supporting its restaurants, attractions and boutiques so they can continue to draw tourists once this public health emergency is over” said Visit Statesboro’s Executive Director, Becky Davis.
Win $100 in Statesboro Gift Cards!
Visit Statesboro is asking you to become a Tourist in Your Hometown this week to help celebrate one of the biggest industries in Bulloch County. Submit photos we can use to showcase the best we have to offer in food, festivals, events and attractions and you could win $100 in Statesboro restaurant gift cards!
Email photos to [email protected]
Submit as many photos as you’d like from anywhere in Bulloch County. Submissions will be posted on social media and winner will be announced May 9th.
You’ve heard of the Statesboro Blues, True Blue, and the Blue Mile, but did you know about Statesboro’s Blue Front?
Sometime between the “Blues” and the “Mile”, there was an area in downtown Statesboro known as the Blue Front. Today, it’s only a parking lot on the north side of West Vine street, across from Vandy’s. But in the 1930’s and 1940’s it was a vibrant place of commerce for African American business owners in Statesboro, as well as a social hub for African American teens and young adults.[google maps/earth photo here]
Sadly, by the 70’s all the businesses had closed or left. But in its heyday you could find a barber shop (maybe two), a tailor, a dry cleaners, a restaurant, and a pool hall; just to name a few.
We have yet to find any photos of the Blue Front from during the time period when it was most active, but we did find advertisements in several editions of the Bulloch Herald and Bulloch Times newspapers from the 1940’s that mentioned the location.
In 2019 the Bulloch County Historical Society placed a Historical Marker near the intersection of West Vine and South Walnut with more information about the businesses that were on the Blue Front.
When you visit the area, don’t forget to swing by Vandy’s for some delicious BBQ takeout!
On and Open is a centralized digital marketplace for local, small businesses and non-profits offering discounted gift cards and products to help supplement the loss of cash flow due to the coronavirus.
Their goal is to ease the strain that many small businesses and non-profits are facing, specifically when it comes to cash flow. The program helps Statesboro and surrounding area small businesses and non-profits to keep their lights on and their doors open.
100% of the proceeds from every gift certificate purchased will go straight to the vendor.
How It Works
- You go to onandopen.com.
- Purchase a discounted gift card.
- They deliver the payment and your information to the vendor(s).
- The vendor will coordinate the delivery of the gift card to you.
For Your Business
If you’d like to have your business’s products or services featured, email [email protected]
The roof of the Kiwanis Pancake House was heavily damaged during high winds on March 3, 2020. In optimistic and encouraging preparations for the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair in the fall, the work has begun on repairs.
The Kiwanis Club of Statesboro has contracted with Quicken Steel of Claxton for the replacement of the roof over the Pancake House. Demolition of the old roof and wooden framework began on Saturday, April 25. The new roof will extend over the entire Pancake House, including the open dining area as well as the kitchen and storage room. The new roof system will be of all steel construction. There are also plans for more seating spaces. It’s expected that the roof will be completed by late May.
The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair is scheduled for October 19-21, 2020, so mark your calendar!
Property developer Scott Taylor is not just concerned with renovating the packinghouse building; he also cares deeply about renovating its dark story. Legend tells that the owner of the packinghouse, Brooks Simmons, tragically lost his fortune in the Great Depression and was so consumed by despair that he locked his employees in the building and set it on fire, before taking his own life.
Taylor assures us that this is simply not true. The packinghouse was built in 1917 with resources pooled from 600 different investors, not a solitary owner. When the packinghouse closed in 1920, it constituted a deep financial loss for those involved. Brooks Simmons did serve as the president of the Bulloch Packing Company for a time, as well as the Bank of Statesboro which he inherited from his father. He eventually lost the bank after the stock market crash of 1929, nearly ten years after the packinghouse closed. Simmons did take his own life, but at his home in Atlanta.
Yet, urban legends have tremendous staying power. The building’s spooky aesthetic and haunted reputation make it a popular film location for post-apocalyptic and horror films by Georgia Southern and SCAD students. Last October the Georgia Southern Football team used the location to shoot a video unveiling their new uniforms. Inspired by the movie It, the video has been viewed almost 140,000 times!
At the outset of the project, Taylor sought historical expertise from Georgia Southern alumnus, Miranda Hazelwood. Hazelwood, who was a senior history major at the time, conducted research not just on the packinghouse, but the history of the property itself all the way back to the mid 1800s. Taylor also purchased an old house adjacent to the packinghouse property, which he is actively engaged in renovating. The old home likely belonged to a tenant farmer on the property well before the Bulloch County Packing Company acquired it.
Taylor wants to incorporate the rich history of the property into his vision for the new apartment spaces that will fill the old building. He envisions an open green space around the apartments with historical signage, telling the story of the packinghouse, Simmons, and dispelling the old lore. He says that he wants to provide a sense of resolution by bringing the packinghouse back to something aspirational, as it was when it began, rather than something negative.
Check out https://www.facebook.com/ThePackinghouseProject/ for updates and pictures of the process. You can see the uniform-reveal video that was filmed at the site here: https://www.wtoc.com/2019/10/29/eagles-reveal-alternate-helmets-with-it-inspired-video/.
Locals have all heard the legend of the old Packinghouse. Many have seen the large, hulk of a building, the remnant of an industrial past. Yet this building that has been largely empty for 100 years may soon get a second chance. Georgia Southern alumnus Scott Taylor is a property developer who moved back to Statesboro from the New York area. He purchased the building several years ago and has big ideas to breath new life into what has long stood dead and lifeless.
Taylor saw the property late in 2015 when it came up for sale. “At first I was not one hundred percent sure,” he said, “but I loved the unique industrial style of the building.” Taylor has been cleaning out the packinghouse and plans to convert it into unique apartments. Taylor was inspired by the revitalized industrial style of New York City’s former meatpacking district.
He admits that the biggest challenge for the project is the “sheer size of the building.” He has extensive experience in investment property renovation and development, but this was his largest project yet. The inside of the building needed to be cleared of all debris and cleaned out. He certainly faced a challenge freeing the building that was “entombed in kudzu.” Taylor said “It was like cleaning up after a hundred-year-old party” with cans, trash, and bottles strewn across the interior and graffiti scrawled over the walls.
After the clean-up phase, Taylor did the initial layout plan himself. “It was a challenge to create functional spaces and designs that make sense within the existing footprint,” he says. “But it was kind of fun to see a design that would work to repurpose the building into something cool and aesthetically pleasing.” Taylor has big hopes for the future of this iconic Statesboro landmark. Optimistically, he says that renovation and construction plans could start as early as this summer and be finished within ten months. He says “ I think people will be impressed and pleased with the result.”
Story to be continued in Part II…
In the chronicle of Statesboro lore, many remember the legendary nightclub, The Flame. Situated off of Chandler Road, the somewhat notorious nightspot opened Friday, November 13, 1970 and catered specifically to Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff. A group of Statesboro investors called College Center Incorporated conceived of the establishment. When the club opened, patrons could pay five dollars per month or two dollars for admission as a non-member. Over the years, The Flame became a venue for local and regional bands like The Critical Mass and Wheatstone Mission.
The November 24, 1970 edition of the George-Anne covered the opening weekend. A description of the interior decor is enough to take you straight back to the days of disco:
“The color scheme includes cadet blue, oxblood gold, and lime green. An optical illusion of vertical stripes is behind the bar. The entire club has blue-green carpeting, except for the green-checkered dance floor.” In addition to visual stimulation courtesy of the decor, the club featured pool tables, pinball machines, a jukebox, and a bar serving affordable libations. By catering to the university crowd exclusively, the Flame provided a space for students to blow off steam, decompress after classes, and enjoy live music and entertainment. One writer called it “the closest Statesboro has to big city entertainment ” in 1977.
The club had the tragic fate of living up to its namesake and burning down not once, but twice. It also came under fire (figuratively this time) for its lack of parking, and contribution to dangerous pedestrian traffic off of Chandler Road. With its demise, many students and alumni lamented the loss of their favorite haunt and an iconic piece of campus life. Whether alumni called it “The Flame” or its “classier” nickname “Le Club Flambeau,” many who attended Georgia Southern in the 1970s and 1980s remember the club as an iconic facet of campus culture.”