M onuments and Memorials, the current exhibit in the CharterFoundation Gallery at Legacy Museum incorporates recent photographs of Troup County places that are named to honor individuals. The greatest concentration of memorials in Troup County is found at LaGrange College. As at most institutions, especially academic ones, buildings and other spaces bear the names of people who have been important in the life of the institution. The oldest building at LaGrange College, Smith Hall, built in 1860, was not named until 1907. The name, originally Oreon Smith Building, honored the memory of Oreon Mary Summerfield Mann Smith, Professor and Principal of the College Academy from 1885 until her death in 1907. Prior to being named for Mrs. Smith, the building was known as “College Home.” It was the first named building at the institution, although the original building, erected in 1831, at 406 Broad Street was often referred to as the Stanley Building, or Old Academy, before it burned in 1863. The most recent memorial at LaGrange College, the Ida Callaway Hudson Lab Science Building (seen below), was dedicated in 2017. The name honors the memory of one of the college, and community’s, greatest promoters and benefactors, Ida C. Hudson. Her husband, the late Dr. Charles D. Hudson, a major force behind the development and growth of LaGrange and Troup County, as well as the college, for over five decades, was honored twice with place names at the college during his life. The natatorium is named for him and a park on campus is dedicated to him. Coincidentally, the oldest and the newest buildings on campus were named to honor women, but also women whose husbands served the college as president! Charles Hudson was Acting President 1979-1980, and Rufus Wright Smith, was President from 1885 until his death in 1915. There are rooms inside many of these buildings, though not seen by the public at large, that are named for people. Some of them are given in the captions about that building. Others have not been listed. Scholarships are also an excellent and prolific mode of memorial at a college, but these have not been listed as this exhibit limits itself to physical monuments and memorials.
The most common memorials in any community are tombstones, street names, churches, and commercial buildings but these are not covered in this exhibit, as they are sufficient in number to constitute separate exhibits. Plans are in progress for future exhibits about the first three categories, tentatively titled Cemeteries: Art Galleries of Memory; Church Windows and Memorials; and Name that Street. Most commercial buildings that bear a name are related to the company they are home to or the person or people who built them, although there are some exceptions. The Georgia Building, on Broome Street, was named to honor Georgia Hammett Mallory.
Three of the actual monuments in the exhibit are part of the display. There are two marble plaques that honored Troup Countians who gave their lives in both World War I and the War Between the States. These once graced public spaces, but have been replaced over time and found their way into the collections of the Troup County Archives. Both were recently made part of the permanent gallery of Legacy Museum, but were moved into this exhibit. Other war memorials are included. LaGrange Memorial Library (a memorial to World War I) and the war memorials at Veterans Memorial Park in LaGrange and the one in Calvin Hipp Park (itself a memorial mentioned in the exhibit) in Hogansville are included as are the Confederate Monuments in West Point and LaGrange. The third monument on display is the original metal dedicatory marker honoring Horace King. It was once on a post at Horace King Bridge on King Street, but was knocked down by a car and replaced. The original thus found its way into our collections. Several bridges are included in the exhibit, in addition to King bridge, the Barrow Bridge in West Point and the Milam Bridge on Roanoke Road are featured.
Monuments and Memorials will be on display now until August 2017. Legacy Museum on Main admission is free of charge. Normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, and the first and third Saturdays of the month, 10am to 4pm. Please call 706 884-1828 to check for Saturday openings or to schedule a group visit.