Coming this Saturday, March 18, the Thomaston-Upson Archives and Upson Historical Society will hold a grand opening event for their combined “Thomaston Goes to War… On the Homefront” exhibition. The Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce will host ribbon cutting ceremonies at the archives at 2 p.m. and the PWS Home at 3 p.m.
The Archives has added to the existing military display, which features oral histories from local veterans such as Joseph Hammonds, Thomaston’s “one-man-army.” In addition to the military portion, a significant amount of space will be dedicated to wartime industry, with an emphasis on textiles, as well as a step-by-step illustration of the vast work that went into manufacturing products in each of the Thomaston and Martha Mills.
The Upson Historical Society’s Pettigrew-White-Stamps Home will showcase organizations and citizens who did their part to contribute to the war effort, as well as exhibit what life was like on the home front, from rationing to local culture. Visitors will discover how a Thomaston novelist was inspired by her experiences as a war bride to influence legislators in introducing the National Leprosy Act to Congress.
A major goal of the exhibition project will be to add Thomaston to Georgia’s WWII Heritage Trail, which currently features 10 historic sites across the state. Having a place on the trail will quite literally put Thomaston on the map, with added exposure and publicity as one of the partnering sites, thereby increasing tourism.
Thomaston’s role as a leading textile manufacturer for wartime products will also fill a gap of industrial production currently missing on the trail.
Funding for this project has been secured for the Thomaston-Upson Archives, through previously donated funds. The Upson Historical Society, a 501c3 non-profit tax-deductible organization, will continue to seek donations to fund ongoing activities related to their exhibit.
Each site will have a food truck: Lou Lou’s English’s Café will be at the archives while Snow Biz Snow Cones will be at the PWS Home. Also, both sites will feature a historical reenactment group, Kelly’s Zeroes, to provide a question-and-answer segment for visitors, a presentment of colors by the Upson-Lee Color Guard, and a special presentation from Thomaston-Upson Arts Council’s “Andrews Sisters,” which includes Carmen Ellerbee, Lauren Hoyle, and Shari Lewis, singing “Bugle Boy.”
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