Much of our state's history was written by ordinary people going about their daily lives on the Main Streets of our small towns.
This special explores the history and introduces the people of four of Georgia's typical small towns: Thomaston, Bainbridge, Darien and Washington. (Miss Yearwood's portions of the special were shot in Perry, Georgia.) Main Street Georgia is made possible by a generous grant from the Ray M. and Mary Elizabeth Lee Foundation, and viewers like you.
Emmy-winning GPB Producer Carol Fisk – whose previous projects include Georgia's Backroads, Coastal Naturalist, Georgia's Historic Houses, Swampwise – is back in familiar territory with Main Street Georgia. But she admits that even with her extensive experience traveling across the state, choosing just four small towns was difficult.
"Georgia has so many wonderful small towns, that narrowing it down to four was a hard task," Fisk explains. "I considered lots of towns all over the state and they all had interesting stories to tell and great people to interview. In the end, I chose four that would represent different parts of the state and different aspects of our history." The result is Main Street Georgia – an unforgettable journey.
In Thomaston, a middle Georgia mill town built on the efforts and dignity of the working man, you'll visit a downtown movie theater, taste some local specialities and meet some of the central characters in town life. "My first impression of Thomaston was over the phone with Betsy Hueber, an enthusiastic native of the town who is now the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce," Fisk recalls. "As she told me about the downtown movie theater, the local eateries, events in the schools and all her many friends, I was ready to pack up and move to Thomaston sight unseen!"
In Bainbridge, in southwest Georgia, you'll enjoy a riverside festival, join some Sunday services and explore some historic houses and businesses. "Bainbridge is as stately as the river steamers that used to ply their trade from the port here down to the Appalachicola Bay," Fisk says.
"The pretty courthouse square is surrounded by turn of the century mansions. People obviously love their homes and the history of the town. It's a small town that seems a long way from anywhere but there's so much going on here, that it feels very self-contained."
The coastal town of Darien, a scenic fishing port, is rich in history and characters, and has survived everything from Sherman to the advent Interstate 95. "Enthusiasm is a common commodity in Darien," Fisk observes.
"Everyone seems to love their little town by the water, to relish its history and to welcome strangers with open arms. There are many layers of history in this town, each based on a different industry which has left its own distinct traces. The wave of the future is tourism and retirement homes, and I hope these won't eradicate the tangible history that you see everywhere."
You'll finish your journey in Washington, a northeast Georgia town that time forgot, full of antebellum houses and a town square that is coming back to life. "One fact that fired my imagination was being told that some of these grand mansions had been moved here from country estates when town living became fashionable!" Fisk says. "The mind boggles at the thought of these stately homes being towed over dirt roads on rollers by oxen or mules."