Judd brought the world to Dalton

Visitors to the Freight Depot take in the displays about Lenna Judd.

From the jade jewelry she collected in China to the postcards she collected in London, Paris, Rome and other European capitals, Lenna Gertrude Judd brought back memories of her many trips around the world to her home in Dalton.

And now, many of those artifacts are on display at the Old Dalton Freight Depot Gallery in downtown Dalton.

"She was such an extraordinary lady," said John Fowler, executive director of the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia at Dalton State College, which is sponsoring the exhibit, called "Dalton and the World: The Odyssey of Lenna Gertrude Judd."

"She was a world traveler, but she was also a very vital part of this community," Fowler said. "She contributed to so many organizations and charities. She bought the first X-ray machine for the hospital."

Judd was a member of a prominent New England family that owned the H.L. Judd Co., makers of hardware for draperies and other household items based in Wallington, Conn. One of the company's manufacturing plants was in east Chattanooga.

She and her husband, M.E. Judd, stopped in Dalton during a bicycle trip to Florida in 1903. They fell in love with the area and believed it would be good for M.E. Judd's health, so they moved to Dalton. They built a house near a spring on a dirt road that would become Walnut Avenue. Later, after her husband's death in 1921, Lenna Judd built a mansion on the same site and filled the 150 acres surrounding the home with flowers, trees and shrubs of many kinds.

And she filled the home with the souvenirs of her many travels.

Evelyn Myers bought the home, including the artifacts, from Judd's grandson Morton Judd in 2000.

"I was really excited when the Bandy Center approached me about this," said Rick Myers, Evelyn's son. "And I'm really glad to see what they have done with this. It's only a fraction of what I have on display here, and I hope we'll be able to display more of it in the future."

Dalton resident Jim Malin said he'd always known about Lenna Judd but never realized she was such a world traveler.

"I grew up knowing about the Judd House. I probably drive by it every day. But I never knew about this aspect of her life," he said. "To travel to all of those places back before jet planes must have been quite an adventure."

"Dalton and the World: The Odyssey of Lenna Gertrude Judd" is on display at the Old Dalton Freight Depot Gallery at 305 Depot St. The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will remain there for about the next two months.

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