Sam Burnham, Curator
Just stop for a minute.
During the lockdown a lot of us were freaking out about not going anywhere. I can still remember the highly diminished traffic in town as I putted around on “essential” errands. So much came to a screeching halt. That was a detrimental event for a lot of business owners and I get that. But I realized something else as well.
We’re too busy.
How often do you carve some time out of your busy schedule to participate in that longtime Southern art of doing absolutely nothing? Do you remember what it is to sit on the porch on a stormy evening in late July with no one to talk to but the thunder?
Oh, you can accomplish a lot on such an outing. You could whittle a stick. You could enjoy a cold beverage. You could pluck at a guitar. You could blow a few gnats out of your face. You could wave at cars as they pass by while you pity the poor souls who aren’t as fortunate to be as busy as you. You could ponder the grass you just mowed and how good it looks. You can debate with yourself the pros and cons of a non-native species such as the peach tree. You know, important stuff.
Most importantly, you can unwind, decompress. You can be thankful to not be stuck in Atlanta traffic. You can be present in the moment. You can put away the stress and demand of the rat race - this modern contraption we call an economy.
Maybe a friend drives by and sees you living the good life and decides to join you. Y’all can sit together and solve all the world’s problems. A porch is a fantastic venue for socializing, sharing news, shaping ideas, daydreaming. There’s a great multitude of things you can accomplish by sitting on the porch doing nothing.
While a porch is the ideal I shared here you can get the same benefit from a free standing porch swing, a chair on a patio, or any number of other lawn furniture options. You might get extra credit for a hammock. The point is to stop for a spell. Disconnect from modernity for a moment and see how it changes your life.
Sam Burnham, Curator
In Floyd County, just north of Rome you'll find (with a little direction and some luck) an old dirt road cut off from the world by a simple metal gate. Signs at the gate communicate that the road is closed to automobile traffic, that the road is an entrance to the Berry College Wildlife Management Area, that permits and permission are required for seasonal hunting, that hunters must check in at the GDNR station, and some generalized messaging to let you know that if you come out there acting a fool that you'll probably going to jail. It is typical of the many such entrances to Berry WMA properties throughout norther Floyd County but this one is still a bit different.
I don't remember how old I was the first time I heard someone telling me of the horrors and frights that were somehow ubiquitous along the "CC Road." There was the apparently indisputable truth that you crossed three bridges going out and only two coming back (or 5 out and 4 back, depending on who was telling the story.) There was always some ghost sighting or other supernatural phenomenon that this group or that couple experienced. There was the ruins of an old church and cemetery that had been adopted and defaced by a band of Satanists (roving bands of Satanists form the spine of many spooky stories in the area) who used the property for all manners of frightening and unspeakable rituals and ceremonies.
To people in northwest Georgia, these stories were as big as coastal Georgia's Altamaha-ha. This was on the same level as Atlantis, Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, or Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The legends inspired the Georgia-based band Southgang song The Legend of CC Road which appeared on their 1992 album Group Therapy. What made it even more real and foreboding is that it is right in our own backyards. You'd hear where John or Sally had ventured out with older siblings or friends. They'd made it to the old church, seen the inverted crosses, heard chilling screams or voices. and, most notably, somehow crossed fewer bridges coming back out than they had going in.
Because there just isn't much that can be scarier than a disappearing bridge.
I have to admit that my skepticism is a recent development. When I was a kid, this was one of the most thrilling things to hear about. "What did you see? Was it really like they say?" I never went down the CCC Road before Berry (wisely) gated it off to cut back on the shenanigans. In fact, the first time I went down the road was in broad daylight and I don't recall noticing any bridges other than the one at the gate. That could explain why I'm more intrigued by the disappearing "C" in the name than I am the reports of a disappearing bridge. It leaves me wondering which word in Civilian Conservation Corps, who is credited with building the road, is being omitted.
Regarding the church, I have no idea if the church of legend still stands. Currently the only church I know of in that area is the old Mountain Springs Church, the last remnant of the community of the same name. Small communities used to dot the landscape that has since been absorbed by the Berry Wildlife Management Area. Occasionally a church may remain, perhaps a few weathered headstones in a neglected cemetery - Mountain Springs, Freemantown, Sand Springs - mostly just memories survive to the present day.
In the remaining churches periodic meetings may still be held. A sign at the gate advised a meeting being held at Mountain Springs Church at 4 and the gate closing at 6. In other words, feel free to attend the service but don't expect to get out if you are using the open gate as an opportunity for running amok in the dark. You'll return to find yourself locked in the with legends. Sweet dreams.
While I am skeptical about many of the stories and I despise vandalism of any kind, I'm thankful for these tales. We don't have enough mystery and intrigue in our days. Everything has to be logical, explainable, provable. In simpler times we could dream, fear, be wary of what may be lurking out an old dirt road nearby.
I think there may be more to this story in general. I may need to look into this...
Sam Burnham, Curator
An old barn standing along a country road might be the sort of thing that one would overlook. There’s not much there to occupy the modern attention span. It’s not flashy. It’s not sleek or glamourous.
It wasnt built for those reasons.
At the same tome, some current trends do lead to a new purpose for barns. A farm wedding fad has landowners adding wet bars, dance floors, restrooms, even stage lighting to host grand parties .
I personally like any idea that gives an old barn a purpose. To see one standing along a roadside is treat. To see one serving its original intended purpose is even better.
Mostly I love the quietness that I find. An old country road is often far from the traffic gridlock and noise pollution that comes along with modernity. To get out of it all, if only for a short time, is a respite, an oasis in a desert of noisy chaos.
There’s no bold revelation here. No stirring appeal to action. It’s just a few thoughts and a picture of an old barn standing along a country road. Judging by the number of page visitors lately, I’m assuming I’m not the only person who loves such a find. If you know someone else who does, please feel free to share this with them.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire