Firefly Mural - Union Point, GA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member GA H2OBUG
N 33° 36.864 W 083° 04.467
17S E 307551 N 3721331
Quick Description: This once-bustling railroad town has had some rough patches in its history.But locals are hoping that the stories of the town's ups and downs - told in a mural along a downtown building - will help charge a new economic engine that's remaking the old manufacturing town.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 6/14/2009 12:15:53 PM
Waymark Code: WM6KBN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 3

Long Description:
The same history will be told in the mural, created by county native poet and artist Jan Whyllson.

Whyllson's folk-art rendering tells the history of Union Point through some of the people and events that old-timers would know but that visitors or younger residents haven't discovered.

One of those stories is of Jennie Hart Sibley, a civic leader and the wife of a mill owner, who ran a home for fallen soldiers.

During the Civil War and Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's march through Atlanta, wounded Confederate soldiers were often loaded up on flatbed rail cars and sent east from Atlanta toward Augusta for care.

"She had her men stop the train at Union Point and opened her home to the sick and dying," Whyllson said.

"A lot of those boys they couldn't help at all, so they took them up to the Methodist church and the ladies around town would sit with them until they died," Whyllson said. "It was an act of mercy and kindness by the community."

The railroad history is represented with a picture of the Firefly train, a wood-burning, open-compartment engine that traveled at a top speed of 5 mph.

The mural includes personal touches that only a Union Point native would recognize, such as the "Rat Hole," an underpass that goes below the train tracks. It became a rite of passage for children to stand in the Rat Hole as the thunder of a train passed overhead.

City leaders hope art can help the city weather a bad economy, which has hurt the handful of businesses in downtown - businesses that survived even the plant closing eight years ago.

"I've been in business here for 34 years, and I have never seen it quite like this," said Mayor Lanier Rhodes.

The mural is painted on Rhodes' Sports Corner and General Store.

"Economic development in Georgia is going to have to be more diverse and locally owned," Nelson said. "When one mill closes, it can kill a town, but if you diversify, you spread that risk out."

"We want to make Union Point a destination and maintain our history," Rhodes said.

Funding for the mural was provided in a $1,000 grant from the Grassroots Arts Program of the Georgia Council for the Arts and $500 from the Downtown Development Authority for Union Point.

The completed mural will be unveiled at a gathering scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Friday June 12, 2009 at The Point of Art gallery.
City: Union Point

Location Name: Rhodes Sports Corner

Artist: Jan Whyllson, native Greene County

Date: 6-12-2009

Media: paint

Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and description of your visit. One original photo of the mural must also be submitted. GPSr photo NOT required.
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