Friends of the Vann House to dedicate new marker

The Friends of the Vann House, an auxiliary of the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, will meet this Sunday to dedicate a new marker at the beloved historic site in Spring Place. The outdoor gathering will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the two-story interpretive cabin that has recently undergone restoration.

The highlight of the meeting will be the dedication of a marker to celebrate the contributions of three longtime Vann House staff members who also played a part in the formation of the Friends group. The staff members include the late James E. "Ed" Hall, who was site manager from 1971-97; his wife, Pat, who worked at the site from 1963 until 1997; and the late Arminta Swilling, who worked for two managers at the site. Mrs. Hall, now a resident of Dalton, plans to attend the event with her family. Offering remarks during the dedication will be France Adams, Connie Jones, Tim Howard and the Rev. Chuck Smith.

Moved to the state historic site in 1956, the cabin was originally a one-story Cherokee structure, built in what became Murray, then Whitfield County, prior to the infamous Trail of Tears of 1838-39. The cabin was converted into a four-room, two story structure to be the home of the Erskine Ellises, the first manager of the site. When the Halls succeeded Mr. and Mrs. Ellis as full-time resident staff, the cabin was converted into an office and storage facility until the construction of the Chambers Interpretive Center in 2002. Since then, the cabin has housed special living history demonstrations and a display highlighting African American history in the Cherokee Nation. A few logs from the original cabin are still a part of the building.

The Friends of the Vann House contributed a significant amount of the funding for the restoration, which was completed about a month ago.

The Vann House is now open Thursday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is charged for tours of the museum and the house, but the meeting and dedication are free for Friends members and families. For more information, contact the site at (706) 695-2598.

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