Written by Wildcat Dianne on 12 Aug, 2008
Mom and I were on our way to our family's place in Douglasville, Georgia this July. The last 50 miles of the trip were travelled on rural roads through small Southern towns that reminded me of the movie and TV show In The Heat…Read More
Mom and I were on our way to our family's place in Douglasville, Georgia this July. The last 50 miles of the trip were travelled on rural roads through small Southern towns that reminded me of the movie and TV show In The Heat of The Night with it's old buildings and quaint downtowns. About 15 miles from my cousin's house, Mom and I stumbled upon the little town of Palmetto, Georgia on US 29. There was a little old train station and historical monument on the side of the road, and Mom and I automatically thought of our friend and fellow Igougo guide Ken (ducksunset), who is a big train nut. Unfortunately, we were almost past the railway station and monument, and I didn't want to turn around with the traffic getting heavy in town. So, we decided that we would stop in Palmetto for a quick pitstop on the way out of Georgia four days later.
So on a soon to be hot Friday in August 2008, Mom and I got an early start from my cousin's house in Douglasville in order to make our sightseeing stops in Palmetto and Tuskegee, Alabama and get home to Pensacola at a reasonable hour.
Our first stop was the promised stop at Palmetto, Georgia. Originally established as Johnson's Store on May 8, 1833, the town was renamed Palmetto by a South Carolinian army unit on the way to the Mexican War on December 8, 1847. The South Carolinians said that the town reminded them of their homestate which is nicknamed "The Palmetto State." Palmetto was unincorporated in Campbell County, which was disolved in 1931 and Palmetto became part of Fulton County on January 1, 1932.
In September 1864, the Union Army under General William T. Sherman burned and occupied Atlanta. The Confederate Army of Tennessee had been stationed in Atlanta at the time and fled Atlanta and headed westward and moved to Palmetto on September 19, 1864 and set up temporary headquarters in the town under the command of General John B. Hood. On September 25, 1864, Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy came to Palmetto and made a speech to the Army of Tennessee about three miles north of the town. The 20th Louisiana Band was in town and performed for Davis and his entourage. Jefferson Davis stayed in town for a couple of days before leaving on September 27, and by September 29, General Hood and the Army of Tennessee had left town, too, to head back to Tennessee and the disastrous campaign in their homestate.
Palmetto was also known as a milltown with three cotton gins that were very productive in the late-19th Century, and the Palmetto Cotton Mill was run by a Bostonian named Riley who became a pillar of the community in Palmetto.
Mom and I spent about a half-hour at the railway station taking pictures of the cannons near the Army of Tennessee Monument and the railway station. After its use as a train depot ended, the station had other uses including to fairly recently, a sheriff substation. Willis Menefee is buried near the train depot, and several events commemorating Palmetto's history are held every year.