Through the years, the Rose Lawn Museum has become a home away from home for Jane Drew.
As the director for the Cartersville venue, the Adairsville resident enjoys introducing people to the former residence of the late Rev. Sam Jones, whose life and message inspired people around the world.
While the Methodist circuit rider's ministry started small -- preaching at various churches and open-air tabernacles surrounding Cartersville -- Jones gained notoriety during the late 1800s, drawing thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle -- now known as Ryman Auditorium -- a venue in Nashville, Tenn., that was built in his honor.
"Second to my home in Adairsville, my favorite place to be is at Rose Lawn," Drew said. "I have tried to make this historical, grand house museum welcoming to the residents of Cartersville and Bartow County and, in turn, it has become a wonderful, inviting place for me."
Name: Jane Drew
Occupation/title: Director of Rose Lawn Museum, 224 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville
City of residence: Adairsville
Family: I have been married to Terry Drew for 44 years. We have been blessed with a wonderful daughter, Lori Hopper, and son-in-law, Neil Hopper, and two precious grandsons, Christian and Benjamin. Our family shares the loss of a precious son, Jason, who was killed at the age of 15 in a car accident.
Education: I am originally from Carrollton where I graduated from Carrollton High School and attended West Georgia College for two years. As soon as my husband completed his undergraduate degree from West Georgia, we relocated to Bartow County, and we were both hired to work in the Bartow County School System.
When did you become the director of the Rose Lawn Museum and why did you want to be a part of this venue?
A. The home has always been of interest to me. Upon arriving to Cartersville, our very first apartment was located on West Cherokee Avenue. From that point in time, I have always been in a love relationship with the old mansion and with all of the stories that were told of those who lived there.
Several years before retiring from the school system, our commissioner, Clarence Brown, asked me to serve on the Board of Rose Lawn. After retiring from the Board of Education, the commissioner appointed me as director of Rose Lawn, a job that I truly cherish.
What is the purpose of the museum/venue? What programs, services and/or events does it offer the community?
A. Cartersville is known throughout the state for its varied museums and cultural art programs thus bringing many tourists to our county and city. Primarily, Rose Lawn operates as a nonprofit, historic house/museum and event home and exemplifies the ultimate in Southern hospitality. The house is considered to be an architectural wonder and is a decorator's dream. Daily, we share the intriguing story of the house evolving from several pine rooms to the architectural treasure that stands today. Most importantly, we love to tell the intriguing ministry story of the Rev. Sam Jones who was the "Billy Graham" of his day. We also highlight Sam's marvelous conversion story of Capt. Tom Ryman. Captain Ryman subsequently built Nashville's finest building, the Ryman Auditorium, [the former] home of the Grand Ole Opry, specifically for Sam to preach in. One of our rooms contains the belongings of Rebecca Latimer Felton and shares her story as the first female U.S. Senator and her connection to Reverand Jones. Another room of interest is our "Civil War" room dedicated to war relics and memorabilia.
With the 235 period roses from that era gracing the property, Rose Lawn also offers a grand setting for weddings. Our popular Arts Festival at Rose Lawn has evolved to become one of Georgia's finest art venues. Often, we support our different charities and organizations allowing their functions to be held on our grounds. Presently, the house is rented every Sunday evening for the purpose of worship and planting a new church. I think Sam would be most proud of this endeavor.
What do you want people to gain from visiting Rose Lawn? What are some of the most interesting facts about the late Rev. Sam Jones?
A. At this year's Jones family reunion, I think that one of Sam's relatives said it best. "When one first steps on the property there is little doubt that you are in a special place. Even the roses have returned to the grounds harkening a glory of an earlier era. The details of the interior have been so carefully chosen and arranged that it is easy to imagine the ambience of a century ago. Sam and Laura would be pleased." I consider that statement to be the highest form of recognition.
Regarding interesting facts of Sam Jones, I believe that he was one of the most famous American evangelists that ever lived and we daily compare him to Billy Graham. In fact, I have been told that years ago Billy Graham visited Rose Lawn. Also, Billy Sunday, George Stuart, Gypsy Smith and other prominent revivalists have also paid us a visit. Again, today, we have 21st century ministers and spiritual leaders dropping by to see what remains of Sam's great works. I was certainly overwhelmed to find out that the number of Christians doubled in the United States during his revivals. He was considered to be a humorist, philanthropist, author, reformer, preacher and evangelist. Ironically, he asked to be called, "just plain Sam Jones."
Lately, there has been much interest in the Ray Hughes documentary "The Great Unknown: The Story of Samuel Porter Jones." Also, forthcoming will be more information about a movie of the life of Sam Jones and Tom Ryman.
What do you enjoy most about working at Rose Lawn?
A. I enjoy the excitement of visiting with people daily and hearing their stories and sharing the fascinating story of Sam Jones. I enjoy the responsibility of entertaining both the well-known and the not so well-known. People visit us for lots of reasons. Some are interested in the décor and architectural features of the home; others are interested in the story of Sam and the spiritual significance that has resurfaced. I try to be sensitive to their interest.
What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
A. The personal satisfaction of bringing beauty to Cartersville by reestablishing Rose Lawn's gardens, decorating Cartersville's time-tested treasure, coupled with inheriting a ministry of "America's Wonder of the Ages" has been so rewarding and fulfilling. I have also had the honor of serving for many years on Cartersville/Bartow National Day of Prayer Board where we have received national recognitions for our endeavors.
Professionally speaking, at last year's GMAG, Georgia's Museum Conference, I was honored to host a day session of training alongside of the Booth Western Art Museum, Tellus and Bartow History Museum, sharing our ideas and success stories. Just to be considered to be a partner with Cartersville's finest museums was unbelievably special.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
A. Compassionate, mild-mannered, and generous with my time and talents.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A. I am much, much stronger than I appear. The grief that I have experienced from all the loss that I encountered at such an early age has strengthened me way beyond anything imaginable. Now, my purpose in life is to help others who suffer with grief. If I can help a mother or father who is grieving with a loss of a child, then my living is not in vain.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A. The best advice that I have ever received was to be a great follower because great followers make exceptional leaders. And of upmost importance, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I was a follower for years in the school system and now I serve as a leader for Commissioner Clarence Brown as director of Rose Lawn, Cartersville's only house museum.
What is your favorite Bartow County restaurant/meal?
A. I actually have two favorite restaurants: Moore's Market, especially in the spring and fall, and Appalachian Grill in the winter. Their shrimp bisque is the best.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. I spend every spare moment that I have watching my grandsons grow and develop into fine, young Christian men. Anything that they are involved in, my husband and I are interested and try to be a part. By design, we live only a "stone's throw" from one another. I am truly blessed to see my daughter, son-in-law and grandsons on a daily basis. In fact, we all have dinner together most nights.