Plaques on the square


In 1995, the county decided to put in a fountain on the town square by the gazebo. You may not know this but the small patch of ground on the corner across from the old courthouse building is owned by the city of Fayetteville. At one time the city swapped a piece of land they owned with the county and got that corner where they put a gazebo and benches. But I digress…

The county decided to create a monument around the fountain to the origin and history of Fayette County. So I began writing bits of information of our history to be carved on small individual grey stone plaques. The entire park area is covered with just over 57,000 brick pavers.

Each ring around the fountain represents a time period of 40 years, the first ring from 1821 to 1860, the second ring represents historical facts from 1860 to 1900, and so on. By the time we were finished, I had written about 60 plaques.

Imagine the communities in our county that are north, south, east or west in the county and the information on that community can be located facing its direction in the county.

The plaques may have either information on a community or on a person.

If you want to read about Woolsey, for instance, look on the south section from the fountain.

If you walk around the fountain starting with the ring closest to it and keep walking around until you have read each one on all five rings, you will have a brief history of the county up until 1990.

If you want to learn more, and I sure hope you do, several of us put together the printed version of our history in 1977 and the book can be checked out at any county library.

Here are some old communities you may want to learn about: Aberdeen, Bethany-Fife, Black Rock, Chestlehurst, Clover, Favors Mill, Friendship, Glen Grove, Helmer, or maybe Lowry.

Some folks you may have heard of and would like to know something about them, you might look for: Hugh Dorsey, Philip Fitzgerald, Varney Graves, Kathryn Langford, Margaret Mitchell, Lucy Redwine, or maybe John Stell. Just slowly walk around the fountain and you will find them.

We knew we would be finished with the fountain, pavers all laid down, benches in place and fountain working by the Olympics in the summer of 1996. Of course we thought it would be just grand if the Olympic runners that would be coming through Fayetteville could all stop for a short ceremony “christening” our new park. At first, the official Olympic Committee said it was out of the question.

About this same time I had been selected to be one of the torch bearers but not told just where I would be carrying the torch – it could be Savannah or Tennessee. Needless to say, I just wanted to carry it through Fayette County. Twelve Fayette Countians, by the way, had been chosen to be torch bearers here. We had to buy our own torch for $250.00 which we were more than glad to do. It had been designed by Georgia Tech and the pecan handle in the middle of it was all from Georgia pecan trees.

A week before they were to come through Fayetteville the official Olympic Committee said they would take 15 minute break, allow the procession to stop and help officially take part in the park dedication. And the best part? I could be the one who carries the torch up on the fountain stage for the dedication. I still treasure that moment. So bring your family some afternoon or evening, walk around the fountain reading the plaques, sit on the benches and try to picture that on July 17, 1996, there were 1,000 folks standing there all around you.