Of all the time travel vehicles dreamed up on the pages of books or the big screen, a motor coach doesn’t jump out as the most exciting. Don’t tell that to the enthusiastic group who spent last Saturday riding around on such a bus taking in the most historic of locations in Gwinnett County.
"A Ride into the Past" carried history buffs throughout the county in air conditioned comfort. Beginning and ending at the Lawrenceville Female Seminary, home of the Gwinnett History Museum, the sightseeing event is part of the History & Culture Program of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.
The day’s itinerary included driving by the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, Rhodes Jordan Park, Lawrenceville Methodist Campground, Coolray Field (home of the Gwinnett Braves AAA baseball team), the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, past Bona Allen Mansion and Roy Rogers statue in the old town part of Buford, near the railroad tracks and Tannery Row.
Highlights included Rodgers Bridge Road, the original site of Joan Glancy Clinic in Duluth as well as the Southeastern Railway Museum and a stop in at the home of Alice Strickland, the first female mayor in Georgia, a residence which now houses the Duluth History Museum.
Gwinnett History Museum curator Kim Elmore notes, “Our time on the bus between locations was filled with stories from Gwinnett County history. Listeners were warned that there would be a test, and there was. We drew names at random and they could answer a quiz question for a prize. Cheating, including asking their neighbors for help and looking for the answer in our booklet, was allowed.”
At noon the bus pulled into downtown Norcross to enjoy a little shopping and lunch. Gathering again in Betty Mauldin Park, next to city hall and known for its loud bell, tour goers were a bit startled when a rather old women in period costumed inquired if they were under that big old tree “for a hangin?”
Tales weaved with true history delighted the visitors as the character, a cast member of the Norcross Ghost Tour, including this author, tingled spines and sparked curiosity. Most popular were the moonshine spins, the rags to riches to rags story of Edward Buchanan, and the requested "who shot the sheriff" yarn that may quite possibly be the root of the long standing rivalry between Norcross and Duluth.
"We try to do at least two tours each year following differing routes, and we are always learning new entertaining and educational stories to share," said Elmore.
The next scheduled tour will be October 29, 2011, focusing on historical cemeteries.
More information at www.gwinnettehc.org