The Journal
The Latest from the History Center
Journal Newsletter Journal Sept 16-20
September 23, 2019

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Our Museum Services Manager, Sommer, will be writing a series of articles on the history of Northeast Georgia towns! Enjoy this first installment about Helen, Georgia.

The area surrounding Helen, Georgia was occupied by the Cherokee in the 1800s after the disappearance of the Mississippian peoples. When European settlers arrived in the area, the two cultures coexisted in an uneasy relationship until the Cherokees were removed to the west. The town of Helen, Georgia was officially founded in 1913 and was named after the daughter of an official in the lumber industry. Helen's main source of income was logging until the 1930s when most of its hardwood trees had been cut down and companies moved elsewhere. The Chattahoochee National Forest was established in 1936 by the Federal Government in hopes of providing the region with the necessary money to keep the town afloat through tourism, but it wasn't until the 1960s that Helen truly thrived through tourism.

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In 1968, a group of local businessmen were consulted by John Kollock, a well-known regional artist, about improving tourism in Helen. Kollock had spent time in southern Germany during his military service and suggested that Helen be transformed into a Bavarian village. The transformation was led by entrepreneur Pete Hodkinson and by 1972, Helen had the cobblestone pathways and German-styled towers and buildings that we love today.

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Today Helen has over 150 shops, 40 restaurants, and 1,200 hotel rooms. It attracts over one million guests every year! Want to learn more about Helen? Visit the Museum Gift Shop to grab your own copy of The Story of Helen Georgia by Matt Gedney and other books covering its history.

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This week From the Archives is a wooden crate from Hudson’s Bay Company. The Hudson’s Bay Company was established in Canada in 1659 specializing in fur trade. With an investment from Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the company founded a fort on the Bay and successfully built themselves up as one of the most successful fur traders in the world. Hudson’s evolved into a mercantile business and created shops throughout Canada; it was the first of the country’s department stores. Today, Hudson’s owns departments stores such as Lord & Taylor and were the official outfitter for the Canadian Olympic team 11 times.


Hudson’s 1670 scotch whiskey is named after the year King Charles II gave the company a royal charter. The bottles were sold throughout from 1930s to the 1980s until they sold the rights to the whiskey to Seagram, another distillery in Canada. Hudson’s whiskey is still sold in the U.S. today, yet ironically is unavailable in Canada.

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“There’s gold in them thar hills!” In this episode, Ken and Glen discuss how a Gold Rush plays out for the people involved, the communities that develop around the strike, and the legacies afterward.Listen at this link: Gold Rush

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If you have a topic you'd like Ken and Glen to discuss, email your ideas to us at!

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Forum - The Buford Dam & Lake Lanier

October 8th at 7 PM

Only $3 or Free for Museum Members

Geoffrey Whitehead of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will present on the history of the Buford Dam and the creation of Lake Lanier. The dam and lake were created to control downstream flooding, provide a reliable source of drinking water and hydroelectric power, and recreation purposes. During this forum you'll learn about the controversy over this huge endeavor and its impact on the surrounding community and environment.

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Family Day - The Grandeur That Was Rome!

October 13th from 1-4PM

Free to the public thanks to the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center

October is our month to take a journey farther back into the past than usual on a Family Day - and this year we go back to Rome! With The Grandeur that was Rome join us to experience the rich tapestry of Roman daily life with hand-on activities, living history interpretation, performing arts, cooking, and combat demonstrations!

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

October 26th & 27th at 8 PM

Suggested Donation $5-$10

Join us for a dramatic reading of our favorite spooky tales from the popular series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The Big Toe, Room for One More, The Hook, The Viper, and -- AAAHH! So much more!

Admission to this event is a suggested donation of $5-$10 but no one will be turned away if they cannot make a donation. While all of the stories are family-friendly, please consider that these stories will be told in a dark setting and may not be suitable for children under 8 years old.

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For more fascinating photos and information on our region's past, follow our social media!



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Photograph of The Racket Store in Hartwell, sometime in the 1910s. The owner, T.H. Johnson, is on the far left.

The Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University - 322 Academy St NE Gainesville, GA 30501 - 770.297.5900 -