Georgians Newsletter

Table of Contents

Did you know?

In 1828, Auraria, near the city of Dahlonega, was the site of the first Gold Rush in America.

The popular theme park – Six Flags over Georgia, was actually named for the six flags that flew over Georgia: England, Spain, Liberty, Georgia, Confederate States of America, and the United States.

Please forward to your family and friends. Spring is a great time to explore Georgia and connect with Georgia businesses, local communities and charity organizations throughout the state. We appreciate your comments, and article ideas. And please visit us at Together, we can accomplish amazing things!

Atlanta Metro


The 14th annual Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez brings the finest lady professional golfers in the world to Henry County, May 9-15, 2005. The 72-hole event will be contested at Eagle's Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Georgia.

Golfers will compete for a total purse of $1.6 million, one of the largest on the LPGA Tour, and a first place check of $240,000. Last year's champion, Jennifer Rosales, is scheduled to defend the title she captured by one stroke over Grace Park, Rosie Jones, Becky Morgan and Jung Yeon Lee.

The Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez will be televised to more than 84 million U.S. households through ESPN/ESPN2. Nearly 100,000 spectators are expected to attend one of the premier women's sporting events in the Southeast.

Tournament proceeds benefit WinShape Homes®, created by Chick-fil-A Founder and CEO, S. Truett Cathy, Adventures in Movement (AIM) for the Handicapped, Nancy Lopez's favorite charity and the East Lake Community Foundation. The 10-year donation total (since Chick-fil-A, Inc., became the title sponsor) is now more than $5.75 million.


Monday, May 9: Sylvania Pro-Am and LPGA Qualifying Round.

Tuesday May 10: BB&T Pro-Am at East Lake Golf Club, LPGA Practice Rounds, Kid's Clinic.

Wednesday, May 11: Heinz North America Championship Pro-Am.

Thursday, May 12: First Round of LPGA Championship Play "Seniors' Day" - First 1,000 fans receive a gift, Executive Symposium at 10:00 a.m., ESPN2 Telecast from 2-4 p.m. EST, and Nancy Lopez Award Dinner Presented by Publix.

Friday, May 13: Second Round of LPGA "Ladies Day" - First 1,000 fans receive a gift, and ESPN2 Telecast from 2-4 p.m. EST.

Saturday, May 14: Third Round of LPGA Championship Play "Family Day" - First 1,000 fans receive gift, and ESPN2 Telecast from 2-4 p.m. EST.

Sunday, May 15: Final Round of LPGA Championship Play "Uniformed Services Recognition Day" Presented by Henry Medical Center, First 1,000 fans receive a gift, Free admission for individuals and families with military identification, ESPN2 Telecast from 4-6 p.m. EST and Awards Ceremony.

For tickets and more information, call (770) 474-GOLF. Article provided by Sarah Robbins.

Georgia Coast


The St. Simons Lighthouse is clearly one of the most recognizable landmarks of St. Simons Island and continues to serve the Georgia coast today. As you would expect, the lighthouse has a fascinating history.

The original lighthouse was completed in 1810 and constructed from a material called tabby - a mixture of lime, water, sand, and oyster shells. The tabby material was acquired from the ruins of Fort Frederica, built in 1736. The lighthouse and keepers dwelling were completed for a cost of $13,775.

President James Madison appointed James Gould as the first light-keeper. Gould was a fitting choice as he was also the contractor that built the lighthouse. Gould served as the head keeper for twenty-seven years.

During the civil war, Confederate forces built Fort Brown on the grounds of the lighthouse to defend St. Simons Island. Confederate soldiers dynamited the structure in 1862, as they pulled out of the area on their way to fortify Savannah, to prevent Union ships from using the lighthouse as a navigational aid.

The current structure was completed in 1872 under the keen eye of well known architect Charles B. Clusky and is located on the site where Fort St. Simons once stood – the fort was a British stronghold captured by the Spanish in 1742 prior to the Battle of Bloody Marsh. The lighthouse and dwelling were constructed at a cost of $45,000.

During the 1872 construction a third-order, L. Sautter Company Fresnel lens was installed. The lens is fixed and produces a steady light beam; however there are four flash panels that revolve around the outside of the lens producing a bright flash every 60 seconds. The original lens is intact, casts a beam of light that can be seen eighteen miles out to sea and guides ships even today.

In March 1880, Frederick Osborne - the head keeper of the new lighthouse – had an argument with his assistant. The assistant shot and killed Osborne. The assistant was later acquitted of murder charges. The ghost of Frederick Osborne is said to roam the lighthouse. And to this day folks claim to hear mysterious footsteps in the tower.

The lighthouse and the light-keepers dwelling are carefully preserved and are part of the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum and operated by The Coastal Georgia Historical Society. The structure stands 104 feet tall and is one of only five lighthouse structures remaining on the Georgia Coast. Your climb up 129 interior spiral steps to the top is rewarded with great views of the St. Simons Island area and Jekyll Island.

The museum and lighthouse are open to the public. Information regarding admission fees and times can be found at

Historic South


The Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville opened its doors 166 years ago. Over a period of thirty years, eight governors and their families called the Mansion home. The Mansion recently celebrated the completion of a $9 million restoration effort that has brought the building back to its c1851 appearance.

Milledgeville served as Georgia’s state capital from 1807–1868. Construction on the Governor’s Mansion began in 1836 and was completed in 1839. It is considered one of the best examples of High Greek Revival-style architecture in the nation. On November 23, 1864, General William T. Sherman claimed the Mansion as a “prize” when he and thirty-thousand Union troops marched into Milledgeville during the “March to the Sea.” During the occupation of the city, Sherman used the Mansion as his headquarters.

Following the Civil War, the Mansion was converted into barracks for the cadets of Georgia Agricultural and Military College (now Georgia Military College). In 1889, the Governor’s Mansion was given to Georgia Normal & Industrial College (now Georgia College & State University). The Mansion served as the founding building of the institution and is clearly its’ most treasured structure.

Charles B. Clusky, the Mansion’s original architect, would be pleased with the amount of attention to detail and care demonstrated by the restoration team. Over five years of intensive historical, structural, and material research were conducted before the restoration began. This research was used as the blueprint for the three year physical transformation of the building.

Throughout the Mansion, great attention has been paid to authentically restore the building’s original floor coverings. Spaced throughout the main floor of the structure are beautifully replicated Axeminster and Brussels pattern carpets, which are 100% wool and laid out in their historic configurations. Of special note is the meticulous restored floor cloth, which is based on an original piece discovered in the attic of the building. The fragment was meticulously researched, and a faithful replication was hand-painted by a team of artists. Today, visitors can view the floorcloth in its original location within the building.

Original architectural features continue to unfold as you tour the Mansion. Be sure to notice the octagon shaped Governor’s Office, where the governor worked and conducted private meetings away from the state capital. The front portico of the Mansion was used by many governors as a stage for inaugural speeches, political reviews, and governmental pronouncements. The front portico also served as a stage for speeches by Confederate Generals such as P.G.T. Beauregard during the Civil War.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised passing through the inner corridors and then suddenly greeted by a fifty-foot tall rotunda gilded in 23-karat gold. The rotunda was used as a greeting area for formal events held in the Mansion as well as a waiting room for those who wished to meet with the governor. The rotunda is visible only from the interior of the Mansion and little evidence of its existence is exposed from the exterior of the structure.

The 21,912 square foot Mansion was originally constructed for $50,000 in the late 1830s and cost $9 million to restore. Funding was provided by the Georgia General Assembly and the Woodruff Foundation. The original layout, colorations, lighting, and appearance of the building have been restored. Great care has been taken to ensure the authentic restoration of the formal gardens as well. Only flora and fauna species known to be in Georgia in the 1850s are planted on the grounds.

A fun and creative student study guide is provided online and includes lesson plans for teachers with over 15 fun, interactive activities for the students. Lesson plans are broken into three sections including pre-visit activities, tour activities and post-visit activities. These online lesson plans are very informative, fun, and a great history review for adults as well! Please see

The Old Governor’s Mansion is located at 120 South Clarke Street in Milledgeville, Georgia. Please see for more information, hours of operation and admission fees or call (478) 445-4545. We greatly appreciate the editorial contributions by Matthew Davis, Assistant Curator of Education for this article.

Georgia Mountains


60% of Rabun County is classified as National Forest land with beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails. This very special place is nestled in the northeastern tip of Georgia and located next to both North Carolina and South Carolina. The Chattooga River serves its eastern boundary with the famous Appalachian Trail as its western boundary. Boating, fishing, hiking, wineries, shopping and dining, are just a few attractions awaiting your visit to Rabun.

Rabun County is blessed with five beautiful lakes: Lake Burton, Seed, Rabun, Tallulah and Tugalo. It’s no surprise that boating and whitewater rafting are major attractions. Those with a passion for fishing will find Rabun a great place to fly fishing for trout, or wet a hook in search of big bass in one of the sparkling mountain lakes.

Rabun has three beautiful state parks: Black Rock Mountain State Park, Tallulah Gorge State Park, and Moccasin Creek State Park. Each has something special to offer. Black Rock Mountain State Park is the highest altitude park in the state. Tallulah Gorge State Park has the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon. Moccasin Creek State Park has a wonderful campground with the state fish hatchery attached. It's easy to see why it is a popular place for hiking and long walks.

Tucked into the hills of Rabun are two popular wineries: Persimmon Creek Vineyards and Tiger Mountain Vineyards. The Persimmon Creek Vineyards serve many popular restaurants throughout Georgia including the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation, the “Ritz Carlton – Buckhead”, “Pano's and Paul's”, and “Elizabeth's” in Savannah. Tiger Mountain Vineyards is known for its barrel aged 12 to 24 month red wines. They have gained international notoriety by recently winning 14 awards in international competitions, including a gold medal from the American Wine Society for their 1999 Cabernet Franc.

While in Rabun, be sure to visit the Dillard House and bring a huge appetite! Their delicious food and beautiful surroundings are a legend in North Georgia and beyond. Literally millions of diners have enjoyed their unique brand of Southern cooking. Meals are served "family style" and in generous proportions that are the hallmark of southern hospitality. Afterwards relax in a rocking chair on the front porch and take in the views of the valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. While you rock, marvel at the mountains that geologists say are the oldest mountains in North America.

Rabun County truly is where spring spends the summer. Come and spend the day, a weekend or longer! Make sure to visit the many antique stores and catch a few live auctions while you’re there. There’s just something special about the Georgia mountain air! Please contact the Rabun County Chamber of Commerce for more information. They may be reached on the web or 706.782.4812. Article provided by Margie Nelson.

Georgia Southern Rivers


The spirit of the south is rarely more evident than when you enter Brooks County! Brooks County, founded in 1858, is comprised of Barney, Barwick, Dixie, Morven, Pavo and Quitman, the county seat.

Brooks County is home to many wonderful antiques shops, southern buffets as well as fine dining, gift shops, and historical treasures. Explore the rich history of the south at the Brooks County Museum and Cultural Center. This area offers a unique blend of the past and the present.

Friendly southern hospitality and welcoming smiles will abound on Saturday, June 4th at the 2nd Annual Chamber Community Day Celebration. The event will be centered on the Brooks County Courthouse Square and Gazebo in Quitman. The Courthouse and the Quitman Historic District are just two of many places to be found on the National Register of Historic Places.

People from all over Georgia and north Florida will have a delightful time spending the day browsing the many arts, crafts, and vendors booths, eating a wide variety of foods, listening to music and karaoke, and enjoying our great south Georgia weather! Children will have fun playing games and enjoying the many activities including face painting, “make-n-take” crafts, potato sack races, water balloon relays and much more!

Get your pitching arm in shape because the dunking booth is sure to be a huge splash when many personalities of note take the plunge including Senator Tim Golden, House Representative Ellis Black, Sheriff Richard Chafin, Chamber President Darrell Skaling and more!

Bring the family to Brooks County on Saturday, June 4th and spend the day at the Community Day, take a trip back through time at the Brooks County Museum and Cultural Center, and visit the great shops in the Quitman Historic District---you’ll be treated to southern hospitality and company like you’ve never seen!

Call the Quitman-Brooks County Chamber of Commerce at (229) 263-4841 for more information or directions. Article provided by Maggie Smith.

Georgia Charity Profile


Celebrating 50 years of fundraising for valuable research, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation remains committed to ensuring a brighter future for the 30,000 children and adults who continue to battle cystic fibrosis (CF).

Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the respiratory and digestive systems. In the airways, CF creates an environment where nearly constant infections and inflammation produce a cycle of progressive lung destruction. In the digestive system, the ability to get nutrition from food is severely impaired without the aid of pancreatic enzyme replacements.

Cystic Fibrosis may be a “small” disease when speaking of the number of patients affected—but through the efforts of the CF Foundation, it is having a “big” effect on modern medical research. The CF Foundation has implemented very innovative strategies for research to move closer to finding a cure. Lauded by Smart Money magazine as “a charity that won’t waste your money,” the CF Foundation commits more than 90 cents of every dollar to CF research, care and education. Smart Money has deemed it “the most efficient voluntary health organization in the country.”

The true inspiration comes from progress made in the quality of life for those with the disease. When the CF Foundation was first established in 1955, children with CF rarely lived to attend elementary school. Since the discovery of the CF gene in 1989, the pace of CF research has greatly accelerated. Today, almost 40% of individuals with CF in this country are adults. Though a single life has yet to be saved from this devastating disease, the fact that people with CF are growing up, attending college, establishing careers and having families of their own is a sign of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

In a continued effort to raise money for research, the CF Foundation hosts numerous fundraising events every year. The largest and most hands-on event is the Great Strides Walk-a-thon. In 2004, the national Great Strides campaign alone raised $24 million for valuable research. Locally, the Georgia Chapter organizes fundraising events on a year-round basis, which are target-markets to special interest groups. Through dinner dances, golf tournaments, sporting events, and walks, you can help make a difference!

Together with volunteers and donors, the shared goal is to turn discoveries into drugs and a better future for everyone battling CF. Our phenomenal community has already significantly improved both the length and quality of life for people with CF. The full measure of success, however, will be the day that CF exists only in the history books!

For more information on how you can help the CF Foundation in its efforts, visit or call 1-800-476-4483.

Article provided by Tori Oetgen, Special Events Coordinator, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Georgia Chapter.

Making a Difference


As a young girl, Jama Hedgecoth would bring home injured and orphaned animals, nurse them back to health and find homes for them. She had a vision of opening a facility that would be a home for abused, orphaned, and troubled children as well as a rehabilitation center for wildlife.

Jama achieved her dream by founding Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center, Inc. and Noah's Ark Children's Care Home's, Inc. She facilitated the development of natural habitats for animals, built an animal rehabilitation facility/clinic, nature trails, as well as a welcome center, training, and administration building. Added to this is a Residential Group Home which houses children ages 6-17.

Jama's desire to help both people and animals led to the inception of Noah's Ark with a mission of "bringing children and animals together for the purpose of providing unconditional love, unconditional service, and a future full of hope." This unique approach facilitates a healing process for the children and the animals.

The animals at the rehabilitation center play a large role in providing unconditional love needed by the children. This, along with a great need for children's care homes, makes Noah's Ark a vital refuge for many hurting children and animals.

Several special programs are available for the handicapped, elderly, and school children. Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is funded by the general public and receives no state or federal funds. Over 1,000 animals a year participate in the rehab program and an average of 800 to 900 animals live on the property year round. Animals under care include wildlife, exotic, and domestic animals.

Nature trails and animal habitats are open to the public at no charge. Noah’s Ark Children Care Home and Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center are both 501 (c)(3) public supported non-profit organizations.

The Animal Habitat is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 12 to 3 p.m. weather permitting. Please schedule a visit soon, visit online at or call 770-957-0888. We hope you’ll reach out and volunteer your time and resources to help Jama in making a difference in the lives of children and animals in need. Article provided by Sarah Robbins.