Merchant’s Hope; North Georgia’s Colonial Curiosity

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Here’s the new ‘There’s History Around Every Bend’ video just in time for the holidays. 

There’s been lots of discussion about this interesting colonial curiosity since it was renamed ‘Inola’ at the beginning of 2019. This video tells the history of how it came to be starting in the mid-1980’s. It also gives insight into the meanings of the different buildings by telling the history of their Williamsburg counterparts. 

In the North Georgia mountains, near the town of Blue Ridge, Georgia; a man who was obsessed with all things colonial set about to create a twin of Colonial Williamsburg in the mid-1980’s.

He named his village ‘Merchant’s Hope’ and it was inspired by Colonial Williamsburg and Merchant’s Hope in Hopewell, Virginia. Meticulously recreated using 17th century building techniques it was constructed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. 

Because even though you’re in the North Georgia mountains, you might do a double take and swear you stepped back to 1776 proving once more that “There’s History Around Every Bend”. 

Produced, written, directed and edited by Steve Procko.

Postscript: For the last 20 years the property has been closed to the public. 

In 2019 this amazing colonial property was reopened to the public when it was acquired by developers Rick Skelton and Susie Council. Now you can once again visit the Georgia versions of the Wythe House, Wetherburn Tavern and more.

Merchant’s Hope has been renamed ‘INOLA Blue Ridge’, an indigenous Cherokee name meaning ‘black fox’.  There are many new exciting plans for this multi use property.

For more information visit their website at: InolaBlueRidge.com

The McCaysville ‘Magical Mystery’ Steel Bridge

There’s a cool-looking, old steel bridge in McCaysville, Georgia that a lot of people take selfies in front of. For years, local folks have talked about it, posted comments about it, heard the different stories, admired it, laughed at the tall tales, listened to the rumors, speculated about the truth, read about in the newspaper, and some have obsessed about it – wondering how the heck it came to be there. 

People have sworn it was sunk under Blue Ridge Lake 12 miles to the south – nope, that mystery is all wet. People have claimed it as a fact that it was floated downstream to McCaysville a long time ago – boy that story is just magical, except it didn’t happen. Some think it was built in 1911, others in 1936. Well here’s a proven fact – it actually will be a hundred years old in 2021.

Because when you’re in McCaysville and you make the turn onto ‘Bridge Street’ you’ll find the old steel bridge straight ahead, proving once again ‘There’s History Around Every Bend’.

The Cochran Davenport Farmstead

There’s History Around Every Bend Episode #2 – The Cochran Davenport Farmstead

The road literally bends around the land this iconic farmstead sits on, and the history that’s there. Today, it is one of the few remaining farmsteads that retains all of it’s 1880‘s era out buildings. The original house was built by George Cochran in 1885 who lived in the house with his family until around 1918. His nephew Press Davenport and his family moved into the home soon after and occupied the home until 1980. This is a story on the history of this historic farmstead rising like a phoenix to what is seen today, more than 125 years after it was first built.

The Heritage Bridges of Fannin County

There are many old bridges in Fannin County, each of whose history bears witness to the the distant past. Some of these bridges are no longer used, yet they still stand as sentinels to what once was. You can find them if you pay close attention.

In fact, a road trip through Fannin County in search of these old bridges makes for a pleasant drive on a Sunday afternoon.

Some of the bridges have gone, having been demolished, yet we still feel their presence. The loss of their history a blemish on the record of preservation. In Fannin county, there are many blemishes.

These bridges were built in the early 20th century, and at the time they were modern innovations, replacing older wooden covered bridges, which were then torn down. As a result, there are no longer any covered bridges remaining in Fannin county.

Now a century later, the older metal bridges are being taken out of service, replaced by modern innovations of the twenty-first century. As history repeats itself, will we allow these curiosities to disappear? Or should we find a way for these old workhorses to be preserved and embraced as part of the heritage of this county.