By Sam Burnham, Curator
We've discussed small towns across Georgia in at least one previous article. I've also spent some time discussing how these are the towns that we need to aim incentives at in order to foster true and widespread economic growth in the state. But let's talk about some positives here.
There are a lot of thriving historic downtowns in The South. I want to talk about some of them. There are also some that still hold a lot of potential but still need a shot in the arm. The trick is to do this without ruining the charm that is there or the culture than can thrive there. The trick is leaving these places charming.
It is easy to talk about places being "in the sticks" or "the middle of nowhere." But they aren't in the middle of nowhere. This is where people live and work. These places are where their slice of the American Dream is unfolding. This is their home. it just doesn't look like the idea of the American Dream that we are being sold today in popular media.
Decades ago these towns were built for a reason. There were businesses there that had a customer base to support them. There were also parks, theaters, dance halls. These places had live music, acting troupes, they hosted travelling entertainment acts. These towns offered opera, symphony, early country music acts, some even hosted the performers on the Chitlin Circuit.
New life could mean a cultural revival. Many of the old theaters and dance halls can still be found in these towns. This could offer opportunity for local talent to get in front of audiences,to make a name for themselves. Many of these towns have healthy community theatre or music. A healthy economy could bring bigger audiences, bigger budgets. Rather than being another playbill in a huge metropolis, these acts could have a chance to shine a little brighter.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire