EVHS transports Bartow history to digital age
by Marie Nesmith
Jun 22, 2013 | 2159 views | 0 0 comments | 109 109 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EVHS volunteer Jane Thompson looks at the organization's new website that has enhanced features for researchers and students. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
EVHS volunteer Jane Thompson looks at the organization's new website that has enhanced features for researchers and students. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
With its new website, the Etowah Valley Historical Society has digitalized Bartow County history through its Bartow History Scholars Program and interactive map offerings.

“It’s research worthy,” said EVHS Vice President Joe Head. “It’s 24/7 accessibility. It’s convenience. It’s educational. [This has] been a partnership with ... the [EVHS, Bartow County] GIS office and Kennesaw State [University]. We now have an option and a voluntary opportunity to deliver Bartow County history, since it is so worthy, to school systems or to the general public that just wants to make themselves aware. Rather than having to find printed literature, go to the library, wait for a program somewhere to be offered, it’s now at your fingertips.

“So the new website is one platform. The fact that we’ve offered now the Bartow County Scholar Program is certainly an upgrade to that and then the fact that we needed to illustrate our history with an interactive map just enriched the entire site so much. It’s much more robust and it’s current. ... When you turn around and offer it to students who are 13, 14, 15 years old and they’re all about moving the mouse, clicking, touching, this makes it more applicable to them and perhaps more inviting for them to use it.”

Accessible under www.evhsonline.org’s Bartow history tab, Bartow History Scholars consists of three components: tutorial and factoids, practice quiz and a faculty guide. With seven topics to peruse — including Native American; Early Pioneers and Settlers of Bartow County; Military Activity; Industry and Business; African-Americans; Resources and Geography; and Politics, Communities and People — each tutorial will contain various links, like interactive maps, to further enhance the researcher’s experience. The maps — titled Historic Communities; Native Americans in Bartow; Historic Mining In Bartow; Cemeteries of Bartow; Cooper’s Land and Mining; The Civil War in Bartow; Historic Industries in Bartow; Natural Features in Bartow; and Land Lottery Map — also can be found on the EVHS website by clicking “Map Gallery/Bartow GIS” on the Bartow history tab.

“The EVHS chose a little over a year ago to update its website,” Head said. “A number of us were a bit more ambitious about it. ... We were brainstorming and I wanted to suggest to the board that we do something a little more reaching than just have a fresh website that certainly is appealing. In my years of participating on and off the board and also in higher education, I’ve always had a desire given the richness of Bartow County history that it be an option to be taught and that’s been a difficult question to pose to the school systems because they are indeed regulated public school systems.

“... But the fact that we have such rich history in Bartow County still begged the question of could there be a means in which to teach our history, at least certain portions of it? So I was posing the question that we could deliver Bartow County history content over the web as an optional tool for the history teachers in what I consider to be the seventh grade Georgia history classes — middle schools — and make it very easy for the schools, history teachers to participate in, that it would be a bonus credit model.”

With the school systems and Excel Christian Academy being receptive to the Bartow History Scholars Program, Head is hopeful middle and high school teachers will start utilizing the material this fall. Along with applying the program’s quiz, teachers also could form their own bonus questions based on the tutorial narratives.

To provide these new website features, the EVHS partnered with the Bartow County Geographic Information System and Kennesaw State University. With the assistance of Nancy Pullen, director of KSU’s Geographic Information Science program, KSU’s four GISc interns — Judy Morice, Robbie Bagby, Michael Vest and Matt Lloyd — invested more than 1,200 contact hours researching and collecting historical data last semester.

For Tim Poe, former Bartow County GIS coordinator, the opportunity to participate in this project was an “enlightening” experience. Poe — a graduate of KSU’s GISc program and currently the Georgia Department of Transportation’s GIS coordinator — was especially fascinated with the vast amount of American Indian facts and sites that were identified.

“There’s a gentleman who’s with the Etowah Valley Historical Society who’s very much an [authority] on Native Americans,” Poe said. “They were convinced that the rock wall that was on top of Ladds Mountain would cover 40 acres. One of our interns basically did a lot of research and really good GIS work and it’s actually only about 7 acres of land that it covers. And there was just a lot of really neat, little details [we discovered] about the county. The fish weirs, for instance, are in the Etowah River that the Indians built to help them collect fish. ... [They] are still there and you can see them with aerial photography.

“... There’s just so much about that rich history of the county that was amazing. A lot of the furnaces are under water in Lake Allatoona, so we were still able to basically get map positions for those and identify where those were at. So there’s so many little details of cool stuff. It’s really enlightening all together. One important thing that was interesting is that Cherokee County has the most identified [American Indian] archaeological sites ... in Georgia. I think they have just over 700, but Bartow County has 681. So we’re one of the most historically relevant counties in the state for Native American archaeological sites.”

For more information, visit the EVHS website, www.evhsonline.org.