Welcome to spring, y’all! We are blessed to live and work in a community as special as Kennesaw, where we have countless opportunities to live, work and play.
This month, I have more information and thoughts to write than I do space in the magazine, so I will do my best at giving you the Reader’s Digest version. Remember, you always can visit the city of Kennesaw website or the mobile app for the latest information.
The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History
The museum opened 50 years ago on April 12, 1972. Originally called the Big Shanty Museum, it showcased the famous General locomotive and was dedicated to telling the story of the Great Locomotive Chase. The event, which took place 110 years earlier, on April 12, 1862, elevated the engine and our community to prominence during the Civil War.
Over the next 50 years, the museum grew and expanded its collection to include other artifacts from the Civil War period and railroading in the Southeast. Today, it boasts three permanent exhibits: “Railroads: Lifelines of the Civil War;” “Glover Machine Works: Casting a New South” and “The Great Locomotive Chase,” featuring the General locomotive. The Jolley Education Center offers classroom space for programs and a dedicated area for the very young to play safely alongside older children.
The museum also is a prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations member devoted to history and education and provides a family-friendly experience that fosters conversation about the strategic and economic use of railroads in the region during and after the Civil War.
Join the Southern Museum in celebrating its 50th anniversary, with a variety of events taking place this month, including a special model-train layout featuring the General on display in the lobby, as well as a rare opportunity to board the General locomotive at an after-hours event. For more details, visit www.southernmuseum.org.
Last month, the American Camellia Society (ACS) recognized Smith-Gilbert Gardens as a Camellia Trail Garden, a national recognition reflecting a partnership the ACS has with public gardens across the country that have notable camellia collections.
Smith-Gilbert Gardens has 94 camellia plants in the collection with four different species represented, including an evergreen camellia called Camellia sinensis. Visitors will find camellias throughout the garden, but the majority of the collection can be found in the Paladino Camellia Garden.
Especially noteworthy is a new camellia cultivar that recently was discovered at Smith-Gilbert Gardens. This naturally occurring sport (a mutation) has been certified as a new cultivar. A unique and somewhat rare opportunity to name this plant will be offered at the 2022 Rose Garden Gala on May 14.
During April and May, the garden is inviting the community to view select pieces from the permanent sculpture collection, as they’ve never been seen before – surrounded by more than 22,000 daffodil blooms planted in unique patterns.
“Art Blooms” is a two-month exhibit that includes a series of weekend artist demonstrations and workshops. On Saturdays, art ambassadors will be on-site to share behind-the-scenes stories of the artists and sculptures. Beginning May 7, experience “Designed by Nature,” a sculpture exhibit by new and emerging artists, including a collaborative piece by LaBelle Elementary third-grade students and artist Allen Peterson.
– Derek Easterling has served as Kennesaw’s mayor since 2016. He is dedicated to serving his community to the highest level possible.