Cultural Resource Assessment Class Presents Final Project in Eatonton

Students pose with Ms. Leila and Millie Copelan and a picture of her family home, one of the buildings in the proposed National Register District

MHP students in Professor Goetcheus’s Cultural Resource Assessment Class presented their final projects on Friday, April 28, in Eatonton, GA. As part of the class, students learned about the various aspects of the National Register of Historic Places and the research required to add places to the National Register. Their final project, which was to add the childhood home of famed American author and Putnam County native Alice Walker as well as the surrounding buildings and sites in the district to the National Register, consisted of 2 parts. For the first part, students worked individually or in pairs to complete background research on various aspects of the history of the area, survey the 2 cemeteries in the area, survey the 3 building in the area, complete deed research for the district, and create maps. Students presented their research in these areas to the residents of Putnam County at The Hut in Eatonton. The second part of the project consists of each student preparing potential National Register Nominations for this district. Student Chris Jackson was chosen as the class representative to present a proposed National Register Nomination for the district to the community following the presentations of individual topics. He brought all the pieces together suggesting that the area should be nominated to the National Register as a district composed of 2 houses, a church, and 2 cemeteries. Following the presentation of the proposed National Register district, community members were given time to ask questions and voice opinions.

For student Rebekah Helfgot, her favorite part of the project was completing the cemetery surveys.  She and classmate Paige Ritter “enjoyed exploring and documenting the resources in the cemeteries that had never gotten attention prior to this project.” Student Caitlin Plesher thought that the experience was very practical and that it was “a great project to understand the sheer amount of work that goes into a National Register nomination.” For student David Dobbs and many others, it was seeing the community involvement that made the presentations and project really special.  He said that “seeing the turn out for our presentation really drove home the importance of community involvement in any preservation activity.”

Special thanks to Putnam County residents Georgia Smith and her friends Fannie and Leila, Millie Copelan, Jim Marshall, Larry Moore, and others without whom this project would not have been possible.

The presentations drew a sizable crowd from the Putnam County Community

Professor Goetcheus’s CRA Class at The Hut in Eatonton

Students and Professor Goetchus with Putnam County Residents Georgia Smith and her friends Fannie and Leila

After all the hard work, students were rewarded with ice cream on the way home