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Barrow to celebrate its centennial July 7

POSTED: July 4, 2014 2:00 p.m.
Bonny Harper/Barrow County News

A sign in front of the courthouse announces the event.

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Next Tuesday, July 7, will be the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Constitutional Amendment for the creation of Barrow County, and there will be a celebratory event at the courthouse.

Governor John M. Slaton signed the amendment July 7, 1914, formally beginning the end of a struggle that had been going on since as early as 1835.

Kathy White, Co-Chair of the Barrow County Centennial Celebration Committee, said the signing of the amendment was the "first step" toward the final creation of Barrow County, as there were still elections after that date for the people to ratify the amendment, and then to elect officers who took office in January of 1915.

The creation of Barrow County as it exists today solved many legal problems the residents of Winder faced, with three different counties all claiming a share of current Barrow’s county seat.

"The county lines for Gwinnett, Walton and Jackson intersected approximately under the red light in the middle of Athens and Broad Streets," White said. "It was bizarre that you could stand in one place and take a step in either direction and be under a different jurisdiction."

To commemorate the first official step in the creation of Barrow County, then, the first of multiple celebratory Centennial events planned for this year will take place on July 7 at the Barrow County Courthouse.

The event, which will be held in the Commission Meeting Room at 7 p.m., will include: the presentation of a poem by Dr. C.B. Skelton called "Beautiful, Bountiful Barrow"; a reading of the official proclamation from the 2014 legislature commemorating Barrow’s 100th birthday; live music by the Chancel Choir of First United Methodist Church; and the dedication of the historic obelisk.

White said the obelisk used to be in the middle of the road in front of the courthouse, and at some undocumented point it was moved to the corner of Church and Athens Streets.

"It was sort of overlooked for ages," White said. "Growing up I never heard the obelisk mentioned."

After rediscovering where the obelisk was originally placed, White said it has now been relocated back to the courthouse grounds, and there will be an explanatory plaque for it. The dedication of the historic obelisk will be the focus of Tuesday’s commemoration.

White said there will also be commemorative items for sale, including a Centennial T-shirt, reusable shopping bags, books about Barrow County and a Christmas tree ornament of the courthouse.

The Centennial Celebration Committee’s next planned event will be Founders Day celebrations Sept. 6-7, which will feature the burying of a time capsule, expected to be opened 100 years from now. Specifications for how to make a contribution to the time capsule will be publicized before then.

White added that other communities and organizations are encouraged to plan commemorative events of their own.

"What we really want to do is to raise awareness and involvement of the community and get people of all ages and all groups to plan some activities to help celebrate Barrow’s 100th birthday," White said. "It’s one of those things that should involve all the citizens of Barrow County, not just a small group."

 

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