Joe Earle – LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Tue, 15 May 2018 20:16:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png Joe Earle – LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com 32 32 Not your ordinary museums http://likethedew.com/2009/09/12/not-your-ordinary-museums/ http://likethedew.com/2009/09/12/not-your-ordinary-museums/#comments Sat, 12 Sep 2009 20:18:09 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=5754 One person’s trash may become another’s obsession. That’s where collectors come from. And serious collectors -- the ones carrying at least double doses of the pack rat gene -- face a serious problem: Once you own a roomful or two of something, what do you do with all that stuff?

One answer: Open a museum.

You may know the Highs of Georgia’s museums -- the furniture and folk art at the High Museum of Art, the mummies at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, the dinosaur skeletons at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the endless supply of weird foreign soft drinks at the World of Coca-Cola -- but those just scratch the surface of Georgia’s monuments to collecting.

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One person’s trash may become another’s obsession. That’s where collectors come from. And serious collectors — the ones carrying at least double doses of the pack rat gene — face a serious problem: Once you own a roomful or two of something, what do you do with all that stuff?

IMG_0002One answer: Open a museum.

You may know the Highs of Georgia’s museums — the furniture and folk art at the High Museum of Art, the mummies at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, the dinosaur skeletons at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the endless supply of weird foreign soft drinks at the World of Coca-Cola — but those just scratch the surface of Georgia’s monuments to collecting.

It seems like just about every community in the state has some sort of museum. Many record local history. Some house works of art. Others promote civic pride. Still others house public monuments to the private passions that lead otherwise stable people to accumulate tons of telephones or mountains of rocks.

For the rest of us, while we may not be able of know the job of owning the stuff, a few bucks to pay admission means we can at least look at it all. And Georgia’s museums can provide some pretty unusual sights.

A word of warning, however: If you want to visit out-of-the-way museums, it’s probably best to call first. Otherwise you can find yourself feeling like a character trapped in some small-town farce.

My wife and I recently drove 165 or so miles to a south Georgia town in hopes of seeing a unique collection, only to find a note on the door of the museum saying it was closed while the volunteer on duty that day went to the doctor. The note directed visitors to the Chamber of Commerce office across the street. A note on the door of the chamber office said the sole employee had gone to the bank. We strolled the two blocks or so of downtown, had lunch at a local diner, and returned to find the chamber employee back at her desk. But she didn’t have her key to the museum and someone had taken the one that was supposed to be under the mat at the museum’s front door. Subsequent calls to what seemed like half the town produced no keys, either. We left town without seeing the inside of the museum
But visits to other museums have gone smoothly and yielded some peculiar sights.
Here, then, are a few of Georgia’s unusual museums.

The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum Inc., Madison

IMG_0003Just what is a “microcar“? Forget Hot Wheels, these cute little cars are roadworthy vehicles built for grownups, if perhaps small ones. And this roadside museum, which claims it displays the largest single collection of microcars in the world, offers a chance to walk among scores of the undersized vehicles. The collection includes sedans, station wagons, three-wheelers, cars the driver gets into from the front, things that look like the cockpits of airplanes without the wings and model cars built from kits sold through the back pages of popular magazines. There’s even a police car. These microcars were made mostly in the years after World War II and manufacturers include big names such as BMW, Fiat and Messerschmitt, the German aircraft maker.

How to get there: The microcar museum is located at 2950 Eatonton Road, Madison, Ga. Take I-20 to Exit 114, then take U.S. 441 sourth 2.2 miles.

Details: Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 1-4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Admission costs $5.  http://microcarmuseum.com/

Georgia Rural Telephone Museum, Leslie

photo1When it comes to telephone information, who’re you gonna call? 4-1-1 has nothing on this sprawling museum, housed in a converted cotton warehouse in the tiny town of Leslie. The museum claims it offers the largest collection of telephones and telephone memorabilia in the world. Surely no one will dispute that as the museum displays hundreds, perhaps thousands, of phones. The collection traces the history of telephones and provides examples of the earliest phones, “coffin” phones (the hand-cranked ones named for the wooden boxes that hold the batteries), “candlestick” phones (the ones that show up in old movies), pay phones, push-button phones, phone company memorabilia, telephone poles, and operator-operated switchboards. There are antique vehicles, too, and the switchboard used in Plains when Jimmy Carter was president.

How to get there: Take I-75 South to Exit 101, then take U.S. 280 West to Leslie and follow the signs.

Details: Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tours are offered every hour. Admission costs $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $2 for students. http://grtm.org/

Atlanta Fed’s Visitor’s Center and Monetary Museum, Atlanta

ringcaseThe O’Jays could provide the soundtrack for this museum: Money, money, money, money, mo-ney. Want a close-up look at plenty of the green stuff? Want to know why it’s called “the green stuff”? The Fed, folks who presumably know about as much about cold, hard cash as anybody on the planet, provide a history of money and the American banking system in a display in the lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Midtown. The museum displays a map of the U.S. made of state quarters (Each state is composed of it’s own 25-cent pieces), a set of Dahlonega gold pieces, a gold bar you can lift with a lever, and a couple of million bucks in fresh, new bills. There’s a cool $1.2 million in $100,000 notes in one display and more than $2 million in fives in another. And this may be the only museum that gives you cash when you go in, rather than charging you for admission. Of course, the bills they give you have been shredded into confetti.

How to get there: The museum is in the lobby of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank building at Tenth and Peachtree streets. The address is 1000 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. Ga. By train, take MARTA’s north line to the Midtown station. By car, from I-75 South, take Exit 252 and turn right on Highway 41, left onto 10th Street, and left onto Peachtree Street From I-85 South, take Exit 84 (17th Street/14th Street/10th Street), turn left on 17th Street, right onto Spring Street, left onto 10th Street, and left onto Peachtree Street.

Details: Open Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.. Admission is free.  http://www.frbatlanta.org/atlantafed/tours_museum/tour/tour_atlanta.cfm

Laurel and Hardy Museum, Harlem

BB1A fine mess of a museum, indeed. Oliver Hardy’s east Georgia hometown has assembled hundreds of items celebrating comedians Laurel and Hardy. The museum houses all sorts of tributes to the comic pair: grinning ceramic statues, toys, photos, comic books, theater lobby cards and other odds and ends. The museum opened in 2000 and its collection continues to grow. It advertises itself as easy to find — the only building in downtown Harlem with a film strip painted on the entry.

How to get there: Take I-20 to Exit 183 and follow the signs to Harlem. The Museum is at 250 N. Louisville St., Harlem, Ga., 30814.

Details: Admission is free.  http://www.laurelandhardymuseum.org/

National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville

NationalPOWMuseumThe National Park Service, the folks who look after national treasures from the Grand Canyon to the Washington Monument, turned to the site of an historic hellhole in central Georgia as the place to honor Americans held as prisoners of war. The Prisoner of War Museum opened in 1998 just up a grass-covered hill from the site of Camp Sumter, the horrific Confederate prison at Andersonville, where 45,000 Union soldiers were imprisoned and 13,000 died. The POW museum houses items made by prisoners of war during their captivity and discussions of who qualifies as a POW. But unlike other museums, this one tries to give visitors a sense of the fear and pain a prisoner of war faces. There’s a reconstruction of a cell from the notorious “Hanoi Hilton“ prison. A wallful of guns appears out of the darkness pointed at your head in order to give you the feeling you’ve been captured by an enemy. And the introductory movie was so unsettling in its discussions of torture that my wife had to leave the room. This is not a display for the faint of heart.

How to get there: The museum is approximately 12 miles north of Americus and 11 miles south of Montezuma. Follow I-75 south to Exit 135, take Ga. 224 to Montezuma, turn right on Ga. 26 and go Ga. 49. Turn left and go approximately 6 miles to Andersonville. The park entrance will be on the left.

Details: Open daily 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is free.  http://www.maconcountyga.org/pow.html

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The Castle http://likethedew.com/2009/05/31/the-castle/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/31/the-castle/#respond Sun, 31 May 2009 10:32:49 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2770

#8 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

ga_unk2fjpgRudy McLaughlin’s home really is his castle. With four gray stone towers, castellated walls and a moat and drawbridge, his 1,700-square-foot suburban manor is the kind of place Snow White would find homey.

Links: Waymaking, Dupont Castle, Roadside Georgia, Daily Dish,

How to get there: It’s at the intersection of Arnold Mill and Cagle roads in north Fulton County


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Casey, the Giant Toy Robot http://likethedew.com/2009/05/30/casey-the-giant-toy-robot/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/30/casey-the-giant-toy-robot/#comments Sat, 30 May 2009 10:18:20 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2767

#8 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

caseythegiantrobot600The 40-foot-tall statue of a toy robot originally was built to stand guard outside an F.A.O. Schwartz toy store. When the store shut down, the metal giant was moved to the Hudgens Center for the Arts, where it now welcomes visitors to the Children’s Arts Museum.

Links: Gwinnett Council for the Arts, //www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DfNRQLSyhE

target=”_blank”>YouTube, List of Recalled Toys,

How to get there: Take I-85 to Exit 108 (Sugarloaf Parkway), turn left on Satellite Boulevard, then right into the Hudgens Center for the Arts


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The World’s Largest Peanut http://likethedew.com/2009/05/29/the-world%e2%80%99s-largest-peanut/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/29/the-world%e2%80%99s-largest-peanut/#comments Fri, 29 May 2009 10:03:13 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2764 ]]>

#8 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

185665142_003efb80a0jpgCertified as the World’s Largest by no less an authority than RoadsideAmerica.com, this giant goober honors Georgia’s favorite crop. It rises above a golden crown atop a brick pedestal and is easily visible from I-75.

Links: State Symbols, CNN, Wikipedia, Wedding Mapper,

How to get there: Take I-75 South to just past Exit 82


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The Stone Mountain carving http://likethedew.com/2009/05/28/the-stone-mountain-carving/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/28/the-stone-mountain-carving/#comments Thu, 28 May 2009 09:50:07 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2760

#7 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

stmtn600Sure, Atlantans take the big carving for granted and it honors the wrong side in the Civil War, but, come on, it’s something you won’t see anywhere else. Georgia’s own version of Mount Rushmore covers three acres on the side of the state’s most prominent monadnock. The 90-by-190-foot carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson towers 400 feet above the ground. The best view of it, of course, comes from the cable car that takes you to the top of the big rock (1,683 feet above sea level). Up there, on clear days, you can get a pretty good look at Atlanta, too.

Links: Stone Mountain Park, Wikipedia, Our Georgia History, PBS,

How to get there: Take U.S. 78 to Exit 8. Entry into the park costs $8 per car. Cable car costs extra.


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The Statue of Liberty http://likethedew.com/2009/05/27/the-statue-of-liberty/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/27/the-statue-of-liberty/#comments Wed, 27 May 2009 10:38:57 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2757

#6 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

1095568483_9cbe9e752ajpgTo honor the centennial of the much better known (and much, much larger) statue in New York harbor, folks in McRae decided to concoct their own version of Miss Liberty. Lots of people chipped in. Someone carved the head from cypress. Sheets sprayed with fiberglass became the fabric-draped body. A light bulb set in a cement-filled glove became Miss Liberty’s torch. Once the statue was set up, nobody had the heart to get rid of it. So Miss Liberty still stands in a park in the center of McRae, her 100-watt torch held proudly aloft.

Links: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaaSWav7bG0

target=”_blank”>YouTube, Wikipedia, Georgia.gov, How Stuff Works,

How to get there: Take U.S. 441/319 to downtown McRae.


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The Pig Hill of Fame http://likethedew.com/2009/05/26/the-pig-hill-of-fame/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/26/the-pig-hill-of-fame/#respond Tue, 26 May 2009 10:27:43 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2754

#5 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

2312143759_d988ca494ajpgBack in 1989, Oscar Poole put up a pig-shaped sign to advertise his barbecue business. More signs soon followed. Then more. As they spread across the hill behind his restaurant, he thought about calling the place the Pig Hall of Fame. But Oscar Poole likes puns, so his hillside became the Pig Hill of Fame. He offered to erect a plywood pig with anyone’s name on it as long as he or she had “an honest face, good intentions” and paid $5 for the privilege.

Links:Poole’s BBQ, Flickr, Wikipedia, Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Ellijay,

How to get there: Take Ga. 515 through East Ellijay.
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Pasaquan http://likethedew.com/2009/05/25/pasaquan/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/25/pasaquan/#comments Mon, 25 May 2009 10:28:43 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2748 ]]>

#4 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

pasaquan600South Georgia folk artist Eddie Owens Martin, who at times called himself St. Eom, remade his family home near Buena Vista into Pasaquan, an alternative world. With temples and meditation rooms, brightly colored mandalas and portraits of flying folks, Martin created one of the most unusual artistic visions anywhere.

Links: Pasaquan.com, Roadside America, UCM Museum, Daily Yonder, Georgia Magazine, Flickr

How to get there: Take Ga. 137 about three miles west of Buena Vista.


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The Littlest Church in America http://likethedew.com/2009/05/24/the-littlest-church-in-america/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/24/the-littlest-church-in-america/#comments Sun, 24 May 2009 10:11:28 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2743

#3 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

scia_01McIntosh County grocer Agnes Harper thought travelers on U.S. 17, then the main highway to Florida from the north, needed a place to pause and pray. In 1949, she had Christ’s Memory Chapel built. Just 10-by-15-feet, the little church features stained glass and a steeple. One of many churches across the country claiming to be the nation’s smallest, this chapel offers room for 13 — just in case Jesus and his disciples show up as a group.

Links: Wikipedia, Darien Tourism & Chamber, Flickr, Orlando Tribune,
How to get there: Take U.S. 17 south from I-95 at South Newport.


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The Iron Horse http://likethedew.com/2009/05/23/the-iron-horse/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/23/the-iron-horse/#comments Sat, 23 May 2009 11:00:34 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2736

#2 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

ironhorse600This towering metal statue of a horse now stands, aloof and alone, in field on a Greene County farm. But the horse once touched off something like a riot at the University of Georgia. When it was unveiled on campus during the 1950s, some students objected to the sculpture. They trashed the horse and even tried to burn it. University officials removed the offending beast and hid it away. A few years later, the Horse appeared on the farm miles outside town, its backside turned toward Athens.

Links: Wikipedia, Greene County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Info

How to get there: Take Ga. 15 north from Greensboro.


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The Georgia Guidestones http://likethedew.com/2009/05/22/the-georgia-guidestones/ http://likethedew.com/2009/05/22/the-georgia-guidestones/#respond Fri, 22 May 2009 11:49:23 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=2714

#1 in a series of 10 Extraordinary Roadside Attractions in Georgia. Summer’s here and the time is right for finding odd things by the streets.Thinking road trip? Georgia’s back roads bloom with odd sites, strange creatures and mystic wonders. Here are a few worth checking out.

guidestones600

The Guidestones stand as the ne plus ultra of Georgia roadside wonders. These granite slabs, often called Georgia’s Stonehenge, rose above Elbert County farmlands in 1980. Their creation is shrouded in mystery. About all anyone will say is a man calling himself “R.C. Christian” provided the design and payment for the construction of the monument. The stones make an astronomical observatory and offer carved greetings to passersby. Their message: a vision for the future that is vaguely New Age-y, slightly apocalyptic and certainly unusual (“Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.” “Be not a cancer on the Earth — leave room for nature — leave room for nature.”) Fans see the stones, favorite subjects on the World Wide Web, as guides to a better future. Detractors link the big rocks to everything from devil worship to secret societies out to take over the world. They were vandalized recently, apparently by Christians or by someone who object to a “new world order.”

Links: Wikipedia, Elbert County Chamber of Commerce

How to get there: Take Ga. 77 north from Elberton; or take I-85 to Exit 173, follow signs to the Ga. 77 Connector, then take Ga. 77 south toward Elberton


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