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Vinings Done…

I’ve been delving into the history and provenance of Vinings for a couple of years +.  Three generations of my family, and their friends, left traces of place in my memory and provided  clues to unraveling a true sense of a Vinings myth.  Most of which, has been shared with the community in talks, blogs, pictures, and the book “Vinings Revisted”, published in 2008.

There are still some remnant mysteries about, and some oversighted preservations which should be attentioned, remaining. The designations and perpetuity of  the Pace and Black community cemeteries for one. They represent the origin, soul, and art of Vinings, and should be appropriately recognized and preserved.

There is also a tendency to voice incorrect historical context, which “sounds” better than factual evidences, but if required to garner financial contribution – so be it.  Sometimes the fish has to be at least so long to make it a story.  The history of Vinings, Ga is deep enough for both the pureist and the echoist to co-exist.   

The crown jewels of historic research were determining the individual for who Vinings is named (William H. Vining), and spending real-time story exchanges with the likes of Margaret George, Norman Robinson, and Roy Brawell – elder original residents of the area from the early 1900’s.  The Robinson family going as far back as the 1840’s, and the building of the railroad.

I was happy to make my contribution to documenting Vinings, as a richer, deeper characterized myth – non-gratis. However, as must be, this is not and infinite and lineal process, and is being concluded.

My thanks to many others who have contributed, and to Gillian Greer at the Vinings Historical Preservation Society, for promoting the forum of  public historical disclosure.

Anthony Doyle (March 10)

Vinings Arborglyphs

In the midst of a suburban Atlanta neighborhood, a huge beech tree shades more than a manicured lawn and landscaped flower garden. Closer inspection revealed 3 peculiar marking on it’s smooth but scarred trunk; shadowy etchings clearly carved way in the past by human hands.

The landscape amenity of this front yard just went historic in value – it’s an arborglyph.

An increasingly rare fine outside old growth forests, and a very slim probability in developed areas, this prominent tree likely escaped destruction by aesthetic choice, not necessarily preservation of a visual artifact. However, the story and relevance in the above case likely added to the value of place.

I’ll spare the 101 lecture on the identity of arborglyphs here, but suffice to say “some” beech trees have survived for over 300 years, and were favored as message boards, boundary marks, memories, depictions, and locational maps as far back as the Creek and Cherokee Indians, settlement period, and through the Civil War. In the above case, the tree was very likely to the period of Cherokee Removal in 1838.

There is an increasing interest in finding and documenting old beech trees, which have writing and depictions (glyphs), on standing trees (arbors), thus the term “Arborglyphs.” They are in the same category as petroglyphs (depictions on stone), and their ancient predecessors in the Mayan and Egyptian hieroglyphics genre. Pre-historics (before written history), symbols were used by Native Americans at or near strategic points of reference, and Civil War soldiers would carve initials, dates, and messages as they passed.

Question is, how many more can be late found?

The recognition of beech trees as being source and study of these efforts has come late, many of which have been destroyed in constructional venues. Georgia has a private non-profit program for registering historical trees (usually species representative with age and profile), but none that recognizes, what elsewhere in the country are called “CMT’s” (culturally modified trees). We have (shall we say had) many in North Georgia.

There will be more on the subject coming, the premise here is to alert and advise that if the reader has, or knows of, a beech tree of approx. 2 feet in diameter, with “unusual” marking – to email me with the option to document and digitally photograph same.

No addressments or locations will be divulged, and no, there’s not going to be any effort to turn your front (or back yard) into a historical park! If anything, it makes a good story…

You can see arborglyphs being recorded in Cobb Co.  in gallery 06 at http://bleufalcon.org

Vining Coyotes

This morning I happen to run into John Underwood, the coyote trapper, and we managed a few minutes of conversation on the side of the road where I got my “cliff notes” education on his efforts.

Some consider his profession cruel to species, but I beg to argue. To a neighborhood, coyotes may seem a remote unseen rare risk. That is until John indicates that “between West Paces Ferry south to the water treatment plants,  we’ve trapped over 160 coyotes since September 15th this year…” – thats three months worth.

He suggests they will take cats, small dogs, small deer, and could (repeat could) intimidate a small child by opportunity, particularly in a small pack situation.  The pictures he showed me included a couple of brute sized predators in the 40 lb +/- range, as an example of the problem.

John is a retired policeman with an environmental mantra.  While you listen to  his stories of saving hawks, owls, bob-cats, and red fox encountered, there are a couple of border collies in his backseat leading to another story – he rounds up molting Canadian geese for relocation.  The dogs herd them into a trailer, which is likely a show.

His calling is much higher than varmint removal, and its nice to know he’s out there saving and maintaining the distance between people and wildlife.

Parking Grapevine

South of the Paces Ferry RR crossing (behind Coldstone ice cream), there’s a deep gully and wood that has recently been purchased from Paul Robinson for the reported purpose of putting a parking garage back there…  Not saying it’s not needed, not saying it is, and don’t know for sure who.

I would suggest however, that area being one of the last natural setting and possibly retaining some historical significance (Civil War – Settlement remnants),  such ownership be subject to some kind of aesthetic and cultural approval which befits use, and possibly some effort at historic archaeology survey. 

I already see some pink and blue ribbons around certain areas, which “looks like” a plan going forward.

Ouch….

Vinings Bridge Primer 101

Comes with question that the bridge on Paces Ferry Road at Vinings, is somehow, well…blue.   First a little corrective background.

Bids for a bridge across the Chattahoochee to replace the “real” Pace’s Ferry were let October 1903,  and awarded to Cotton States Bridge Company of Atlanta in January 04′.  Cost was to be approximately $10,000,  borne 2/3’s by Fulton County and 1/3 by Cobb County.  In March 04′ work was announced to begin May 1st and completed in about 6 weeks (not built in 1903 as some references mention).

Then the technical stuff started. The bridge was to be a 2-span, 280-ft.-long, pin-connected, Pratt, through-truss bridge, with timber cross planks, bearing single directional traffic (one direction at a time).  This was a favored construction for medium river-crossing bridges in early 1900’s, for which 100’s were built and only a few remain.

So far so good.

Steel blue is more than just an eye color;  literally a tempering process applied to steel to achieve a certain strength-pliability ratio, one level of which is called  “blue annealed “ in the industry, or tempering.

If interested, steel is notably responsive to tempering, and makers of tools, weapons, armor, and other articles of steel have long had great skill in the process. Tempering is not necessary for such products as razors and files, in which hardness is sought but brittleness is not a serious disadvantage. Other products, e.g., swords, weapons, and industrial use requires tempering for toughness. In the handicraft process of tempering, the condition of the steel during heating is judged by its color, caused by an oxide film. A desired hardness can be achieved by plunging the steel into a bath when it has cooled to the right shade of yellow or brown or blue. To secure a bath of the right temperature, various liquids are used, e.g., pure water, saltwater, oil, and molten metal. The process of softening steel that is harder than desired is called annealing. In modern mass production the processes of tempering are guided by scientific tests in place of the artisan’s skill in the past. Comparable to tempering is the process of hastening the cooling of a surface of a casting to increase the hardness of the part so “chilled.”

Annealing is a heat or thermal treatment process by which a previously cold-rolled steel coil is made more suitable for forming and bending, and the term “blue” annealing  is the incidental formation of a bluish oxide observed on the surface as it reaches the desired tempering ratio – and such color is retained. But…

A resulting color is more of a midnight blue, like you see in the “bluing” of gun metal, and that’s the only way the bridge iron would be, albeit a rather weathered blue at that.

Actually, the  Vining Bridge “blue” color is not a tempered-processing color, nor a decorating event, depression over being replaced, a painting, an Elvis movie, or having a blue Christmas without you, – it’s just an oxidized primer before a more permanent (and better) layer is applied…

Source: Atlanta Constitution 1903-04; various period steel industry references via Google.

In the ongoing study to document the provenance of  “Standing Peachtree” and South Cobb pre-historic evidences, there are many mysteries to piece together.  Within the original historical record, there has been scan-to-none reference one can research as to the extent of Native American life along the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta.

50 +/- years of progressive commercial destruction, (construction if you wish), of the physical record along the Chattahoochee Piedmont has vaporized most of this Native heritage.

From the archaeological record, which speaks on behalf of the pre-historic, there is a smattering of  an incomplete story suggesting that “Standing Peachtree” was a series of villages and improvements that extended over a 10 to 15 mile stretch of river bottom and creeks from (according to one professional source) “as far north as Roswell to Sandtown below Peachtree Creek…”  - now the operating theory.

The forensics of placing this study in context, given resource, is exhaustive and exhausting. But then you get a little help…

In 1821, Wilson Lumpkin, the future governor of Georgia, was responsible for addressing treaty line disputes with the Creek Indians, and proceeded to tour the disputed line, which included the future Cherokee Territory designations along the Chattahoochee River. What he wrote of  then to Gov. Clark was likely one of the few, if not only, visual accounts of a river trip from Buzzard’s Roost (downstream) to Standing Peachtree.  It adds significantly to the puzzle…

“From the Buzzard Roost village to the Standing Peachtree I estimate the distance at fifteen five miles – this it is computed more by the Indians. I found some difficulty in arriving this village, in determining on the correct course.  For several miles on the river, you are constantly in view of Indian improvement or house; something below the center of these improvements, is the most striking appearance of a town, the buildings being more compact in this, than any other part of the settlement.  But there is no appearance of Capital, Town-house, or public square about the place.

I therefore made an offset so as to embrace the whole settlement – leaving the part which had a village appearance at least one mile within the Nation – while some of the scattering settlements are near the line which I have marked out, but all included within the Nation.” (April 28, 1821, signed Wilson Lumpkin; excerpt from 12 page report)

 

A Vinings Gift ?

A long time ago, Vinings was known for its natural spring water.  During the 1800’s, after the Civil War and Reconstruction, Vinings was home to from 3 to 5 natural mineral water springs, one near the corner of Mountain and Ranch Roads down from the Vinings Inn.

This setting attracted high society from Atlanta to hop on the W &A Railroad and come to Vinings to picnic and hold dances at the pavilion, and drink the spring water.

Thats gone, buried now beneath one of the developed lots in Carter’s Grove.  According to Jody Smith,  resident of Vinings for some 40 years now, “it was some of the best water you ever tasted…”  In fact, in 1998 she even had a small container of frozen Vining’s spring water in her freezer, saved  symbolic of her early battles with developer Turrentine to save the springs.

The spring(s) were offered to the community to purchase and preserve but funds were never raised to do so. Now the spring flow is diverted underground and lost. Maybe…

This information was gleaned from an article in the “Vinings Gazette”  from August 1998, and therein, was a suggestion that the spring could actually be angle-piped or tapped out as a fountain location along Ranch Road.

If at all feasible, wouldn’t that be a great historic Christmas Present back to the community !

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