Historic spring area needs attention

Spring Place, home of the first Christian mission to the Cherokees and then the first county seat for Murray County, is one of the most historic communities in our area. Today, it's designated a Georgia Historic Township and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And it all began with a spring!

Abundant springs first attracted prehistoric Native Americans to the area, and dozens continue to flow today. But the spring which provided water for the Moravian Mission and actually gave us the name Springplace, later altered to Spring Place, is on Lucy Hill School Street just off Ellijay Street which runs from Ga. 225 to Ga. 52A in the center of Spring Place.

After the Mission property was confiscated by the state of Georgia and turned over to Murray County, the "once sacred ground," as one historian wrote, was eventually the site of a tavern, a "courthouse," at least two schools, a large wooden gymnasium, a playground and finally a community picnic shelter through the next century and a half. Today, it's owned by the Murray County school system but supported by community members and Spring Place alumni.

In the 1950s the Spring Place Ruritan Club sponsored beautification of the spot and built easy access to the cool, clear water. After the gym burned in the 1960s, the club helped with the construction of a picnic shelter that was used by students on field trips and members of the community for almost 40 years. The club then spearheaded the rebuilding of the picnic shed and complete restoration of the spring in time for the Spring Place Bicentennial in 2001. Both the school system and the Murray County Commission contributed to the effort. The area is now in need of attention again.

The last few months have taken a toll on things — fallen trees, debris in the spring, weeds along the bank and a couple of hits by vandals have resulted in a not-so-pretty spot, at a time when folks are looking for more outdoor gathering places. So, again, the Spring Place Ruritan Club in cooperation with the Murray County school system and the Spring Place Historic Township are planning a work day on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon (at least) to rectify the situation.

Lots of Spring Place kids played here, lots of families gathered here, the community began right here, so Ruritans ask all who are willing and able to join them in this effort. Bring your tools, waders and such to help rake, trim, cut, clean out, etc. There's plenty of room to socially distance and get the job done. Willing workers are greatly appreciated.

For more information, contact Chuck Smith, Ruritan president, at (706) 264-3968 or Tim Howard, Township chairman, at (706) 695-2740.

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