Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More Than a Building With a Weird Metal Dog

I’m sitting here a little perplexed because I need a focus for this installment of ‘Every Now and then’, and I’m just not sure which way to go. My overall topic is the Cultural Arts Center, but there is so much to share!

I could write about the Roberts/Mozley House with its architectural elements and the history of ownership. I could write about the Cultural Arts Center regarding the impact the center has on life here in Douglasville regarding so many aspects of the arts.

Wait a minute….it’s MY column, isn’t it? So, I’m forging ahead with a two-pronged attack regarding the Cultural Arts Center.
First of all you can’t help but notice the home located on Campbellton Street with its graceful lines, large front porch and wide front windows. From a written history compiled by Judy Verg and published at the Cultural Arts Center website, seen here, the story of the home begins with the marriage of Colonel W.T. Roberts and Emma Quillian in 1886.

Miss Emma’s father was Reverend J.B.C. Quillian, an original settler in the county and owner of the land where the Cultural Arts Center sits today.  Work on the home began in 1901 after Miss Emma’s father passed away and when Colonel Roberts purchased some land from his mother-in-law. 
The New South, the local paper in Douglasville during January, 1902 printed various events and developments in world, national, state, and local news during the previous year. They mentioned the Aswan Dam opening along with the fact the Douglas County had hired a doctor for the new jail, the first typewriter had been purchased for Douglas County government use, and “W.R. Roberts, attorney, erected the beautiful nine-room residence on Campbellton Street in 1901.   An Atlanta architect designed and supervised the building of this late semi-colonial structure.”

Regarding the impressive home Verg advises, [The Roberts/Mozley Home is] “one of the few structures in Douglasville which embodies the characteristics of a period style…..with its air of classic Greek architecture, the low sweeping line of a grand front porch, and an entrance of mahogany doors enriched with the serenity of stained glass…”

I visited the center a little over a week ago to meet Laura Lieberman, the CAC executive director. She gave me a gracious welcome and allowed me to explore the house at will.  I enjoyed discovering all the design elements from the courting bench in the entry hall, the beautiful staircase, the fireplaces inlaid with ceramic tiles, the lovely woodwork and beautiful pocket doors with brass fixtures. The house is on the National Register not so much because of the design of the home itself, but due to Colonel Robert’s accomplishments, and I have to agree with Verg who states, “The house reflects the prominent social status of Colonel Roberts” [who was very active in politics and civic activities.]   
Per Fanny Mae Davis’ book regarding Douglas County history Colonel Roberts was a member of the committee to usher in the city’s first water system. During the city’s “Glorious Fourth Celebration” of 1886, the very first public celebration in Douglasville, Roberts read the Declaration of Independence aloud to an estimated crowd of three to four thousand people creating “a precedent followed for years afterward on Independence Day.” In 1900, The New South advised Douglas County citizens about the new telephone system and published the twenty-three numbers that had been assigned to date. The Roberts’ residence was assigned number 16.

During the seventeenth reunion of the Seventh Georgia Regiment held in Douglasville in 1901, Colonel Roberts gave “an address of welcome to the old veterans….on behalf of the people of the county.” Forty years before these men had been on the battlefield at Manassas.
This would be a good place to add even though Mr. Roberts was addressed as Colonel I haven’t found any reference to any military service, and there’s a very good reason for that.  W.R.Roberts grew up in Campbellton and at the age of 5 became fatherless when Melville Roberts was killed at Gettysburg. Roberts studied law and soon was a practicing attorney in Douglasville. It is very common for attorneys in the state of Georgia to be addressed as Colonel even when there is no military service evident. Many governors in southern states and in the states of New Mexico and North Dakota have the ability to confer the title of Colonel on certain people. When you delve into the research there are several stories regarding why this practice exists, but most certainly it is covered in Georgia’s legal code under section 38-2-111. Roberts partnered with J.R. Hutcheson practicing law and also served as Solicitor General of the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit until 1914...

THANK YOU for visiting “Every Now and Then” and reading the first few paragraphs of “More Than a Buiding with a Weird Metal Dog“ which is now one of the 140 chapters in my book “Every Now and Then: The Amazing Tales of Douglas County, Volume I”. 

Visit the Amazon link by clicking the book cover below where you can explore the table of contents and read a few pages of the book…plus make a purchase if you choose! 

1 comment:

  1. Moses McKoy Smith was my GGgrandfather. Thanks for the great information about Douglas County.


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