Editorial: Vann House Days an important opportunity to support historic preservation

Earlier this year the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society received a statewide preservation award for Excellence in Stewardship from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. One of the "significant resources" preserved by the historical society with its "steady hands," as outlined by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, is the Chief Vann House in Spring Place.

"Their stewardship began in 1952 when the organization took on the daunting task of saving and preserving the Chief Vann House in Spring Place," the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation said. "Those efforts paid off and since then the organization has saved and preserved the Wright Hotel, the Chatsworth Depot, the old Spring Place Methodist Church, the 1848 Blunt House, Hamilton House, Dug Gap Battle Park, the 1855 Huff House and the 1890 Crown Gardens and Archives."

This weekend, area residents and others have an opportunity to benefit from the historical society's efforts by attending the 2019 edition of Vann House Days on Saturday and Sunday, while also supporting historic preservation.

According to information from the Chief Vann House, the house "was built in 1804 by James Vann, the son of a Cherokee woman and a Scottish trader. Building off his mother's land and his father's business, James Vann rose to fortune so that at the time of his death in 1809 he was the wealthiest man of the Cherokee Nation with the largest plantation. His son, Joseph 'Rich Joe' Vann, inherited and expanded the businesses. Joseph oversaw more than 800 acres of farmland, taverns and the first European-style school and Christian mission of the Cherokee Nation."

Vann House Days, first held in 1978, "commemorates the locally-initiated effort which resulted in the purchase, preservation, restoration and reopening of the nationally known Cherokee mansion as a museum in 1958," organizers state. Regular admission fees will apply.

Befitting such a commemoration of such a historic site, Vann House Days will offer up tours and living history demonstrations to give attendees a feel for what life might have been like in the early 1800s. So if you want to see some spinning, weaving, doll-making, chair-caning and quilting, this is the place for you.

On the grounds of the house and at the Cherokee Homestead exhibit, there will also be churning butter, drying fruits and vegetables, corn shelling and grinding, Cherokee blow gun demonstrations, an herb garden and Cherokee stickball. For more information, call the site at (706) 695-2598.

This is an exciting opportunity to dive into history while also supporting a Murray County and state treasure. It is important that events such as Vann House Days are well attended so that these key links to our past, where we can learn so much, do not wither away, but instead enjoy popular and financial support to ensure their existence.

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