Historic Fannin County in “Images of America” book + Byron Reese Memorial

We had a little cooler weather last week, along with some rain, but it we’ve had a couple of beautiful warm days lately. The rhodendron is continuing to bloom, and I’ve heard the katydids for the first time. As far as I can tell, they aren’t singing at night yet, but they must be emerging, because I hear them in the afternoon.

Local pastor Keith Jones, President of the Fannin County Historical Society and son of local historian Ethelene Dyer Jones, has just brought out a collection of historic photographs of Fannin County. It is part of the Images of America series done by Arcadia Publishing and is titled, Images of America: Fannin County. There are some interesting photos of the Blue Ridge dam under construction, some photos of downtown Blue Ridge and stores, and some views of the CCC camp at Higdon. There is also a good photo of the Mineral Bluff tannery that shows the large frame house built for the superintendent. (It still stands at the base of Mineral Bluff mountain, just off Highway 60.) The best place to buy it is probably the library (in the courthouse). The price is $21.99.

The new Byron Reese memorial is finally open on 129, south of Blairsville. It is located just north of Vogel State Park. You can’t miss it, as it sits directly on the highway. It is a beautiful site, with a little creek running through, a restored barn, Reese’s writing studio, and other buildings. There is also a hiking trail. It features interpretive exhibits on Reese and on Appalachian farming. Scheduled hours from now into the fall are Thursday through Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 and Sunday 1:00 to 5:00. Byron Herbert Reese was a poet and farmer who also taught at Young Harris College. At one time, his poetry was compared favorably to Robert Frost’s, and he is remembered for his uniquely Appalachian voice and sensibility.

Sugar Creek Raceway has reopened as a Saturday night track. Admission for adults is $12 most nights. Racing starts about 7:00 PM. On June 9, they are featuring the mini sprints June 9. I understand that night will be $15. There have been some changes to the track, which first opened in 1968. The infield wall has been removed, and the pits have been moved outside the track to make a wider and faster track.

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