Adairsville celebrates 150th anniversary of the Great Locomotive Chase
by John DeFoor
Apr 16, 2012 | 1690 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
xConnie Smith reenacts life in the 1860s at the Rail Depot in downtown Adairsville Saturday during Heritage Day. 
JOHN DeFOOR/The Daily Tribune News
xConnie Smith reenacts life in the 1860s at the Rail Depot in downtown Adairsville Saturday during Heritage Day. JOHN DeFOOR/The Daily Tribune News
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Adairsville celebrated the 150th anniversary of The Great Locomotive Chase in a three day event called Heritage Day, held in downtown Adairsville, Thursday through Saturday afternoon.

"It was a lot of effort on the part of a lot of different people," said Cooky King, the Director of the Adairsville Welcome Center. "We all pulled together -- The Depot, merchants in town, the banks, the [Adairsville] Downtown Development, schools came. The [Adairsville] High School construction department made us little sample telegraph pieces. So, it was a combined effort between everyone in town."

"We're trying to bring back some of the old games, food and things like that and get people in period dress," said Jerri Holloway, Director of Adairsville Rail Depot. "It's totally different than the one in the fall."

Saturday's activities began at 10 a.m. with reenactments, costumes from the 1860s and games. Early Saturday, children participated in a costume contest to best represent the 1860s. Games included Egg Roll, Spill the Beans, Five Pin Bowling, and Tip the Clown.

Eleven-year-old Cooper Poore's favorite game was Spill the Beans. "'Cause it's a real big challenge. It was really hard just to hit the button to make the beans spill."'

Anna Sullivan, an Adairsville band parent, helped operate the games for Poore and other kids. According to her, 75 percent of the profits from the games went toward band fundraising.

"The uniforms are at least 8 years old, and as you can imagine they are starting to look ragged around the edges," she said. "One of our major projects right now is to try to raise money so we can get new band uniforms and that's what we're working towards."

"It has a historical significance," Sullivan said about the three-day event. "For example, my children who have grown up with so much technology, I think for them to know and understand what it was like to be a child and live during that time. To be reminded of how far we've come."

Meanwhile 11-year-old Poore says the Locomotive Chase is important to remember, "Cause it's part of history and we should always remember some things of history."

At noon the Sans Souci Women's Club held a cake walk. An hour later the United Methodist Church Family Life Center presented two films: the 1956 Disney production "The Great Locomotive Chase" and silent film "The General."

"[The Great Locomotive Chase ] is our main claim to fame," Holloway said. "It basically put us on the map."

The event ended around 6 p.m. after a performance of several gospel songs from the Black Historical Society and event doors prices.

"We have organized a Black Historical Society here in town, which we are very pleased with," King said. "We've been trying to get the history of the black community for years. But we've finally got a Black Historical Society together and they've jumped right in and really have been participating, and we're really proud of that.

"Not ever having done it before, we didn't know what to expect," King said, about Heritage Day. "But it's been steady, all day. Thursday was great -- we had almost almost 200 people through. Today worked well considering it's first time event." She said they may consider holding another event next year. "In two years we know we'll have the Atlanta campaign [anniversary], which included the Battle of Adairsville. So we'll have to do something in two years anyway. Next year would be a good practice.

"Just getting everyone in town to work together has been a wonderful thing for me," she said. "I've just really enjoyed getting to know them and having them all work together for one thing."