Creative talent has flourished in Eatonton and Putnam County in the past century. In recent years, the community has further embraced the wide range of art produced in the area. Through both private and public initiatives, Eatonton is getting closer to being an arts destination that not only focuses on artistry here but attracts artists of a variety of mediums to create works of their own in the area.
The Uncle Remus Museum is located in Turner Park, three blocks south of the courthouse on Highway 441 in downtown Eatonton. Turner Park was part of the original homestead of Joseph Sidney Turner, the “Little Boy” in the tales of Uncle Remus. The museum consists of a log cabin made from three slave cabins originating in Putnam County. The cabins are similar to the one occupied by Uncle Remus, the character made famous in the folklore tales of Joel Chandler Harris.
The stories of Uncle Remus are captured in shadow boxes containing delicate woodcarvings of “de critters” humanized by the author. The shadow boxes illustrate twelve of Harris’ best known stories. The museum also features painted murals that authentically depict the years surrounding the Civil War during which the Uncle Remus stories are set. A focal point of the museum is the two pictures from the movie “Song of the South” donated by Walt Disney when the museum opened in 1963
Visitors will step back in time as they enter the Old School History Museum, located in The Plaza Arts Center adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce. Housed in four classrooms of the original 1916 Eatonton School, the museum is able to feature four different, yet historically relevant exhibits for tourists to enjoy. The first exhibit displays a vintage drugstore complete with marble-topped soda fountain, 1940’s jukebox, ice cream chairs and tables and period photographs. The next room is a reproduction of turn-of-the-century downtown Eatonton with a variety of storefronts. These “windows in time” feature artifacts and treasures destined to stir childhood memories. The third space reveals a history gallery that relates the rich heritage of Eatonton and Putnam County.
Here visitors can follow a timeline and view artifacts from the area’s earliest Indians, learn about Sherman’s March through Putnam during the Civil War, and be amazed by the famous people who have called Eatonton home. Finally, a carefully restored early 1900’s classroom which boasts its original blackboard, cloakroom, vintage desks and a collection of student memorabilia concludes the Old School Museum.
There’s a magical writer’s brew in the waters of Georgia’s Lake Country where three world famous writers spent their childhoods. Nine of the 67 authors in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame also lived within 30 miles of Eatonton, home of Georgia Writers Museum.
Permanent exhibits feature three Georgia writers – Joel Chandler Harris, Flannery O’Conner, and Alice Walker – who grew up near Eatonton. All were award winning writers of international acclaim; all had works made into popular movies; two graced the face of postage stamps; two won National Book Awards; one was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. All three drew from challenging childhoods to infuse heart and soul into their works.
Come see photos you won’t see anywhere else, peruse rare books, learn fascinating stories about their unique lives and experience delight with what you learn! Bet you didn’t know Flannery starred in the movies as a six-year-old who trained a chicken to walk backwards; or that Alice Walker was an editor at Ms. Magazine; or that Harris started his career as a printer’s devil long before writing about Uncle Remus.
Drop by The Veterans Wall of Honor to enjoy a picnic and step back in time. You are sure to find a name you recognize tiled to one of the six walls, which were dedicated in November of 2014 for families of the community to visit and honor loved ones who served in the armed forces.
Alice Walker, author of the award-winning novel “The Color Purple,” was born in Eatonton on February 9, 1944. Eatonton celebrates the author with the Alice Walker Driving Tour that takes you past several important places in Walker’s life. Those places include the church she was baptized in and faithfully attended, Wards Chapel A.M.E. Church.
The Rock Eagle and Rock Hawk Effigies are the only effigies of this kind east of the Mississippi River. The rock monuments are made up of milky quartz rocks and are in the shapes of birds. Rock Eagle measures 120 feet wing tip to wing tip and 102 feet from head to tail. The mound is eight feet tall at the breast. Rock Hawk measures 132 feet wing tip to wing tip and 100 feet head to forked tail.