10/24: On Lilburn building; Outer Loop toll road; more

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.56  |  Oct. 24, 2017  

LILBURN WILL OFFICIALLY WELCOME the Bus Station Bistro and Creamery to Lilburn City Park on Saturday, October 28, at 10 a.m. This double-decker tour bus just came over by boat from the United Kingdom. The owners, Lilburn residents Mike and Ianthia Smith, plan to convert the bus into restaurant seating, overlooking the park. They plan to tool around town this weekend in the bus before parking it permanently and beginning construction of an adjacent kitchen.
TODAY’S FOCUS: For 107 Years, Only Two Families Have Owned This Building in Lilburn
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Forsyth, Cherokee, Bartow Should Join Gwinnett in Outer Loop Toll Road
SPOTLIGHT: U.S. Asset Management
FEEDBACK: Seems Like Lots of Money for Someone to Produce a Unified Plan
UPCOMING: Lights On Afterschool Program To Be October 26 in Sugar Hill
NOTABLE: Dr. Anderson New Board Member at Peach State FECU
RECOMMENDED: The movie, Breathe
GEORGIA TIDBIT: William Bartram Seeks Out Life, Peppered with His Drawings
TODAY’S QUOTE: Paine Sees Slight Difference Between These Extremes
MYSTERY PHOTO: Another Lighthouse Awaits Your Identification
LAGNIAPPE: DAR Chapters Collaborate on Teaching about Colonial Period

For 107 years, only two families have owned this building in Lilburn

93 Main Street in Lilburn

(Editor’s Note: The following was provided by Brenda Dana of the Lilburn Woman’s Club. She tells us that Antiques in Old Town Lilburn and the loft residence above will be on The Old Town Lilburn Christmas Walking Tour of Homes on December 2, 2017 from 6 to 9 p.m.  The owners and residents of Antiques in Old Town, Hugh and Rowann Wilkerson, are knowledgeable about the history of Lilburn. During a recent interview, Hugh shared some of the town’s origination which follows.—eeb)

By Hugh Wilkerson, Lilburn, Ga.  |  The Town of Lilburn was established in 1890, and houses were built beginning in 1895. 93 Main Street is the oldest commercial building in town and was built in 1910.

In 1820, there was a government land lottery in Gwinnett County, which was divided into 135 square land lots in the 6th District lottery.  Names were placed in one barrel and the land lots of 250 acre tracts were placed in another barrel.  A name and land lot were drawn from each barrel.

William McDaniel acquired title to District 5, Land Lot 135 from the original lottery winner, and settled on the original 250 acres , today’s U.S Highway 29/Rockbridge Road area.  Making camp by the creek, McDaniel decided to name the area Camp Creek, which remains the name to this day.

McDaniel was the original name of Lilburn through the Civil War until the railroad arrived in 1890.  The name was changed to Lilburn in 1896 with the arrival of the Seaboard Airline Railway. The city’s name changed for Lilburn Trigg Meyers, who was the major stockholder’s son and also the general superintendent of the railway. The city was incorporated in 1910 as Lilburn.

Known as Alford’s General Store, 93 Main Street was built in circa 1910 and operated through the 1950s. The building was erected by Dr. Charles Kelly whose family lived in the area.  Dr. Kelly had attended medical school at what is now known as Emory University. Alford’s General Store occupied the main floor and the second floor held Dr. Kelly’s office in the back with a public meeting space in the middle and a barber shop front facing the street.

In the 1920s there was a major fire in the city burning many buildings. The general store was the only building that survived the fire. Burn marks in the flooring and around the windows can still be seen today.

In the 1929 “Great Depression,” the businesses went into a major decline and in 1937, when the city charter expired, the city ceased to operate.

In the 1930s, electricity came, and the store actually had the distinction of having the first telephone in the city.  If you wanted to make or receive a phone call, the general store was the place to be.

In 1948 Dr. Kelly died and about the same time Alford’s General Store closed. For many years after, the space was used as a warehouse but remained in the Kelly family.   In 1967 Kelly’s son sold the building to my father, James Wilkerson who continued to use the space as a warehouse.  In 1994 Antiques in Old Town opened in the space.  James Wilkerson died in 1996, and I became owner of the building where we operate Antiques in Old Town today.

My wife, Rowann, and I converted the upstairs to a residential area and moved above the shop in 2012.  Today the main floor is an antique shop. Behind the main shop is a large area with booths leased by people in the community, selling antiques. We host a weekly community breakfast in the back of the shop.  This group is known as LOFA – Lilburn Old Friends Association, and everyone is invited.

Note that from 1910 to 2017, that 93 Main Street has been owned by only two families, the Kellys and the Wilkersons – a total of 117 years!


Forsyth, Cherokee, Bartow should join Gwinnett in Outer Loop toll

A toll station between Washington, D.C., and New York City.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  Let’s applaud the Gwinnett County Commission for its “original thinking.”

The announcement last week that the Commission would suggest that a toll be used to finance the rest of the Sugarloaf Parkway loop took many by surprise. It shows that this body is willing to investigate new aspects of road building, including the possible use of tolls to pay for the connection between Interstate 85 and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard near Sugar Hill.

The use of a toll on this part of the four lane circular highway not only would be a new way to finance road-building in Gwinnett, but it would relieve the Gwinnett General Fund from the cost of this road construction, allowing monies to be spent for other services of the county.

We’re proud of the Commission for this suggestion. This is, indeed, providing the type of leadership we hope to get when we elect people to office.

Ask anyone who travels by automobile in the Northeast, and they know of toll roads. The web site, Financial Nerd, has listed the tolls on the Washington, D.C., to New York City route.

Tolls to NYC are as follows.

Site                                                   DC to NYC            NY to DC

Baltimore Tunnel                               $3                                  $3
Perryville                                             $6                                    0
Delaware Bridge                                  0                                    $4
Lincoln Tunnel/GW Bridge             $13                                  0
Delaware State                                    $4                                  $4
NJ Turnpike                                      $12.55                           $12.55
         Total                                         $38.55                         $23.55

Note: The Delaware Bridge toll is only southbound, and cost $4.  And the Perryville and Lincoln Tunnel/GW Bridge tolls are only north bound, at $6 and $13 respectively.

All said, it cost an automobile $38.55 in tolls driving the Washington-New York route.  But the cost is only $23.55 on the way south.

Toll roads have generally not been used much in Georgia. The first toll I remember was for the Torras Causeway from Brunswick to St. Simons Island. The cost was 25 cents going east. That toll was finally lifted when all those quarters paid for that roadway.

There was a toll at one time to cross over the Intracoastal Waterway to get over Jekyll Island. That, too, has been “lifted.” However, now the Jekyll Island Authority charges you $6 for a one day parking pass;  $28 for a seven day pass; and $45 for an annual parking decal, to get onto the state-owned island.

Another more local toll is on Georgia Highway 400 from Buckhead to Interstate 285. That toll was once 50 cents each way, and toll booth were removed, but now requires a Peach Pass for payment. The essential toll is scheduled to be lifted in 2020, but who knows? This road has 120,000 vehicles on it each day.

Charges are being used on Express Lanes on I-85 and I-75, but that is not a toll, since all motorists are not required to use the lanes.

What is really needed is a true Outer Perimeter connecting I-85 near Buford to I-75 near Cartersville.

What we would hope would happen is that Forsyth, Cherokee and Bartow County should recognize the benefits that such a road would provide, and join with Gwinnett in making the entire stretch of road from I-85  to I-75 near Cartersville a four-lane toll road. Heavy traffic on this road would help it to be paid off quickly.  It would be a feather in the four local governments’ cap, and solve a problem that the state refuses to solve.  In addition, it would essentially cost these governments nothing, since users would pay for the road.

Attaway, Gwinnett government, for stimulating thinking on this problem.


U.S. Asset Management

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Seems like lots of money for someone to produce a unified plan                 

Editor, the Forum:

Just read your article about Gwinnett County hiring a contractor for the 2040 Unified Plan for $995,120. That is a lot of money for something that is regularly ignored at rezoning meetings.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash said the process will give the public a voice in how the community develops. “The new comprehensive plan will guide our future land development and economic growth and, we hope, help build support for local government policies,” said Nash.

Funny that when you oppose a rezoning request in Gwinnett, your voice and the voices of dozens of neighbors who stand with you doesn’t get heard.

— Tim Sullivan, Buford

Stand up for what is morally correct: Medicare for all

Editor, the Forum:

If only we could have a civil conversation about Medicare for all. I believe there are many good points here.

“Stand! For the things you know are right” Yes! We are the richest country in the world and we should do our very best to keep it that way. Capitalism is why we are. That is why when a good idea like Medicare for all comes up, it becomes infused with political rhetoric like throwing the word “progressive” (we all know to be code word for Communist.) It is a cynical attempt to shame people to with a desire to “stand” for what is morally correct.  It can make us cringe.

How about having this conversation on the real merits of such a program. I do believe it can be a good thing. We must, as Americans, have these conversation without the demeaning insults that some people insists on slinging.  Indeed, give peace a chance.

– Frankie Miller, Lilburn

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Lights On Afterschool program to be on Oct. 26 in Sugar Hill

Gwinnett County children, parents, business and community leaders will come together in Sugar Hill at E.E. Robinson Park on October 26 at 5:30 p.m. This is for a Lights On Afterschool event, hosted by Live Healthy Gwinnett, to celebrate the achievements of afterschool and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon.

Recent data shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In Georgia, 16 percent of children participate in an afterschool program, yet 40 percent would be enrolled if a program were available. Further, 90 percent of Georgia’s parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program, and 79 percent agree that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind.  More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep Georgia’s kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Tina Fleming, director of Community Services, says:  “Walk Among the Stars celebrates the remarkable work being done by government organizations and community partners. It is a powerful reminder that out-of-school time programs offer a range of supports to children and families. Unfortunately, our community does not always have enough and/or accessible afterschool programs, and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons or on the streets where they can be exposed to at-risk behaviors. We must focus on working together to offer more programs and make sure lawmakers invest more in out-of-school time.”

Seminar at Peachtree Ridge Tuesday morning explores school options

Tuesday, October 24 will mark the fifth Annual PERKS seminar at 11 a.m. at Peachtree Ridge High School.  This allows parents who were exploring options when selecting schools for their children. The target audience consists of:  parents of pre-school, home-school, and private school children, Realtors who sell homes in the cluster, and parents of public elementary and middle schoolers who are worried about the transition to middle and high school.

The purpose of the seminar is to educate the community about what is happening in the Peachtree Ridge cluster.  It is one of only two elementary schools in the county to be STEM certified. It is first in County in 8th grade Math Milestones in Proficient and Distinguished categories, and an AP Champion High School.  The seminar will explore how the teachers and administrators work together to vertically integrate the curriculum, so all students will be successful at the next grade level.  All seven principals from the cluster schools are in attendance to talk about their schools and answer questions.

Howl on the Green returns to Duluth on Oct. 27

Halloween Costumes Dress out for Duluth Howl

Duluth’s award-winning Halloween event, Howl on the Green, returns on Duluth Town Green on October 27.  The annual event brings thousands to the Duluth Town Green while giving families a safe and friendly environment. The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. with food trucks, activities for kids, inflatables, games, a haunted hay ride, and trick-or-treating on Main Street. At 8 p.m., there will be a Halloween costume contest for kids, adults and pets. The event will then turn into fright at 9 p.m. It lends itself to a more mature audience with activities consisting of aerialist, spooky creatures, live entertainment and of course FIRE. Children are welcome to stay to enjoy the show.

Lionheart Theatre schedules plays for holiday enjoyment

The award-winning Lionheart Theatre Company of Norcross is winding up 2017 with some irreverent laughs and a warm holiday tradition.  Shows on tap are:

November 3-19: Laughter on the 23rd Floor by Neil Simon. Inspired by the playwright’s youthful experience as a staff writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, with all the attendant comic drama as the harried writing staff frantically scrambles to top each other with gags while competing for the attention of star madman “Max Prince.” The show includes adult language.

November 30-December 3: Holiday Punch. Enjoy an adult evening of 10-minute plays written to kick off your Holiday season.

December 7-17: A Christmas Carol by Michael A. Youngs. Here is a delightfully refreshing version of Charles Dickens’s classic Christmas tale told from a new perspective — a young boy’s grandfather.

Tanya Caldwell, Lionheart’s producing artistic director, says: “It’s been a banner year for Lionheart. We’ve won numerous awards, have worked with the area’s best actors and directors, and have been blessed with full houses. The community has been so supportive and I think our last three productions will be a celebration.”

Tickets for all Lionheart events are available at www.lionhearttheatre.org.

Temporary closing of street at Courthouse; Seek alternate route

One entrance to the public parking lot at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center has closed for construction while a project to reopen and upgrade Langley Drive and the building’s entry plaza progresses. Langley Drive will be closed at Constitution Boulevard for up to six weeks. During the closure, traffic will detour on Constitution Boulevard to Nash Street and then to the east side of Langley Drive to enter and exit the front parking lot. Visitors to the building and those who are assigned jury duty during construction should consider allowing extra time for travel. Overflow parking is available on the top floor of the parking deck behind the building on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as in the Nash Street parking lot daily.


Anderson is new board member at Peach State FECU


Peach State Federal Credit Union announces that Dr. Linda Anderson is a new member of its  Board of Directors. Dr. Anderson serves as Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Talent Management for the Gwinnett public schools.  “We felt that it was important to continue to have representation from Gwinnett County Public Schools on our Board to honor our heritage,” said Marshall Boutwell, Peach State’s President/CEO.  Peach State was founded in 1961 as Gwinnett Teachers Federal Credit Union by GCPS employees and served all employees in the school system. Dr. Anderson takes the place of Dr. Frances Davis, who retired from Peach State’s Board. The directors at Peach State voted to name Dr. Davis as Director Emeritus at Peach State for her more than two decades of service.

GACS twins selected for All-National Choir in Orlando

Twin brothers Gavin and Ethan McDonnell, juniors at Greater Atlanta Christian School, have been accepted into the All-National Choir of the National Association of Music Educators. They are two of only 15 students who auditioned from the state of Georgia.  The brothers will perform November 2018 at the Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla. Oklahoma State University professor of music and director of choral/vocal studies Dr. Randall Stroope will lead the chorus. For selection, students had to submit unedited, unaccompanied video auditions to be considered for the choir.


The movie, Breathe

Reviewed by Cindy Evans, Duluth  |  We just saw Breathe in the movie theater. It’s based on the true story of polio victim, Robin Cavendish. It was both hard and beautiful to watch. Andrew Garfield  played Robin, and you really believed he was paralyzed. His wife, played by Claire Foy, was wonderful as she lived out her vows in love for better, for worse, in sickness, in health. It was very special to see how he helped many polio patients with his life and creativity and resourceful friends. Definitely recommend!

An invitation: what books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (100 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. –eeb


William Bartram seeks out life, peppered with his drawings

William Bartram’s 1791 book, Travels, reprinted many times, continues to fascinate American readers and attract them to the wilderness he loved. The great explorer and diarist spent much of his time in backwoods Georgia, where he recorded matchless descriptions of the area’s flora, fauna, and Native American inhabitants.


Bartram’s father, John, was his role model. John Bartram, America’s first professional botanist, loved to roam the woods in search of plants, and young “Billy” delighted in going along. Bartram and his twin sister, Elizabeth, were born at their father’s house in Kingsessing, outside Philadelphia, on April 9, 1739.

As a boy Bartram developed a talent for drawing, and his father sent some of his sketches to friends in England. “Botany and drawing is his darling delight,” Bartram’s father wrote to Peter Collinson, a well-connected English naturalist and, like the Bartrams, a Quaker. He added an afterthought: “Am afraid he can’t settle to any business else.”

As he grew older, Bartram tried clerking in business houses and working in printing shops, but he hated being shut indoors.

In 1765 Collinson secured a royal commission naming John Bartram as the “King’s Botanist” and authorizing him to explore Florida, newly acquired by Britain from Spain. John Bartram, now 65, took his son, aged 26, along with him. Starting in Charleston, S.C., the two visited Savannah and Augusta in Georgia, and boated up the St. Johns River in Florida.

The young Bartram loved Florida and decided to try his fortune as an indigo planter on the St. Johns. His father reluctantly agreed, but the experiment turned out to be another failure. “This frolick of his hath… drove me to great straits,” his father wrote to Collinson. Bartram worked as a draftsman for the surveyor William deBrahm, helping map the Florida coast, but his vessel was wrecked in a storm.

Discouraged, he returned to his father’s house, but his Florida adventure could not be counted a total loss. Collinson sent some of Bartram’s new drawings to a circle of his friends, one of whom was the wealthy plant collector John Fothergill. After another futile attempt at business, Bartram wrote to ask Fothergill to sponsor him on a botanizing expedition to Florida. Fothergill liked the idea and agreed to pay his expenses.

The great adventure that transformed the unfortunate Billy Bartram into the heroic William Bartram began when he disembarked in Charleston on March 31, 1773. His father’s Charleston connections proved helpful. John Stuart, the royal Indian superintendent, provided maps of the Indian country and informed Bartram of an important Indian congress to be held in Augusta in May. Bartram resolved to attend that meeting but spent the intervening time investigating plant life along the Georgia coast during the pleasant spring season. Bartram visited James Wright, the royal governor, in Savannah and enjoyed the hospitality of “the genteel and polite ladies and gentlemen” of Midway and Sunbury. He especially liked Lachlan McIntosh and his family and spent several days with them. His descriptions of the Altamaha River region would later inspire European poets.

(To be continued)  


Another lighthouse awaits your identification

Lighthouses are always good to photograph. Does this one seem to be leaning slightly, or is it the photographer? Tell us where you think this lighthouse is, and send your answer to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include where you live.

The Mystery Photo for the last edition was something of a cream puff, as several readers readily identified  the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City, Okla. The photo came from Molly Titus of Peachtree Corners.

First in was Joe Hopkins of Norcross: “I definitely know this one. It’s the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building. To the right is the Field of Empty Chairs, site of the building. Each chair represents a victim, mostly occupants of the building, arraigned in rows, designating which floor they were on. Sadly, the smaller chairs represent the children in the daycare center on the second floor. The playground used by the children is noted on the back of the Memorial and actual parts of the building remain. To the left of the picture is one of the Gates of Time. (A second one is behind the photographer.) The one in the picture is inscribed 9:01 while the other is inscribed 9:03. The time of the blast was 9:02. The reflecting pool is the section of Fifth Street where the blast occurred. A truly somber memorial.”

Others recognizing the photo were Mike Tennant, Johns Creek; Jim Savadelis, Duluth; Susan McBrayer, Sugar Hill; Stewart Woodward, Lawrenceville; and of course, George Graf, Palmyra, Va.


DAR chapters collaborate on teaching about colonial period

Three chapters of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution  were at the Fort Daniel Frontier Faire at Hog Mountain last weekend to demonstrate their PEP (Portable Education Program.)  The three Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Gwinnett County (Philadelphia Winn, Suwanee Creek and William Day) are collaborating in this effort to teach the Colonial period in America in Social Studies classes.  The focus of the 45-60 minute presentations to third and fourth graders is to compare and contrast life in America then and now. Among those attending were  Curt Yeomans; Bill Palmer, Sons of the American Revolution State Color Guard Commander; Ann Story, PEP Committee Chair; and Regent Kitty Watters


Drug Take-Back Day is October 28. Dispose of expired or unwanted medication in an environmentally safe manner by dropping them off in front of the Sheriff’s Office at 2900 University Parkway (jail location). Drugs may be disposed of between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Water Resources Fall Festival is on October 28 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Yellow River Water Reclamation facility at 858 Tom Smith Road in Lilburn. Learn how water is reclaimed, cleaned and returned to the environment. Wear a Halloween costume, enjoy games, decorate a pumpkin, have a hot dog and win prizes at one of the best wastewater treatment facilities in the nation.

(NEW) Author appearance: bestselling author and Edgar Award winner Stuart Woods will talk and sign books on Monday, October 30, at 7 p.m. at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center, at 10 College Street. The event is presented by the Gwinnett County Public Library. The event is free and open to the public. A silent auction and beverage bar will be sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Woods’ latest book, Quick & Dirty, is an action-packed adventure featuring Stone Barrington. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.orgor call 770-978-5154.

(NEW)  A Candidate Forum will be held in Lilburn on October 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lilburn City Hall. Meet the candidates running for Post 3 on the City Council: Shabaka Fletcher, Phillip Holland and Eddie Price.  Moderator will be Emory Morsberger. The event is presented by the Lilburn Woman’s Club and the City of Lilburn.

Extra Mile 5K Walk/Run will be held November 4 at Suwanee Town Center Park starting at 8 a.m. Registration begins at 7 a.m. The Extra Mile 5K benefits Annandale Village at Suwanee, to bring awareness to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries. To register visit www.Extramileclub.com.

Veteran’s Day, November 11 at 11 a.m., will be observed by Gwinnett County at the Fallen Heroes Memorial, in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Building.

Trafficking Forum (rescheduled): The Fall Community Forum on Domestic Minor Human Trafficking has been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 2140 Beaver Ruin Road, in Norcross. For more details, contact Muriam.Nafees@gwinnettcounty.com.

(NEW) Ribbon Cutting of a fire training tower at Maxwell School of Technology will be at noon, November 14, at the school located at 990 McElvaney Lane, Lawrenceville. For more information, all 770 822 7180.


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