Roswell, Georgia - Story Ideas
The Southern Trilogy – The Authentic Story of the American South
Experience the 1800s as you tour The Southern Trilogy sites (antebellum Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall and Smith Plantation) and hear the “Authentic Stories of the American South.”
Barrington Hall – Roswell’s Founding Family
From the second floor of this magnificent home, Barrington King could look out over his mills and vast holdings. These mills and the whole country around here is owned by King & Co., they own all the stores, provisions, etc.: they allow no liquor sold in the town, and in truth run everything to suit themselves – Had their own paper currency, which circulated all through this country as better than Confederate scrip … (from The History of Chicago Board of Trade Battery by John A. Nourse from records at the Chicago Historical Society, referencing July 7, 1864 during the Civil War and the burning of the Roswell Mills.)
Today, this home is recognized as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country. It is also listed as one of Atlanta’s 50 Most Beautiful Homes and has the only Antebellum Garden in metro Atlanta that is open to the public.
Bulloch Hall - A Love Story and so much more …
Built by Major James Stephens Bulloch, grandson of Georgia’s Revolutionary Governor, Archibald Bulloch, this home has been described as one of the most significant houses in Georgia. While growing up here, Mittie Bulloch met a young man from the prominent Roosevelt family of New York, captivating his heart during his trip to the South. Little did the guests at their 1853 Christmas time wedding realize they were witnessing a union that would produce a United States President, Teddy Roosevelt. Their other son, Elliott, was the father of Eleanor Roosevelt who would serve as our nation’s most beloved First Lady, forever changing the role of women in the White House. Visiting this home you will understand why Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, sought out the last living bridesmaid and wrote about the event in The Atlanta Journal Magazine. At the time of the wedding, Mrs. Bulloch was a widow of modest means, but it was determined that the Roosevelts must be given a good impression of the south. She would have ice brought all the way from Savannah to make homemade ice cream to serve.
Ties to the Roosevelts and our nation’s history blend with the stories of Mittie Bulloch, who would often be referred to as the prettiest lady in New York upon residing there with her husband.
A reconstructed slave cabin houses a permanent exhibit of Slave Life in the Piedmont.
Smith Plantation: Success, Family Tragedy, and Change
In 1845 Archibald Smith came to Roswell to escape the summer heat and insects of coastal Georgia, bringing with him his wife, children and thirty slaves to help run the 300+ acre plantation. Tragedy struck this affluent farm family with the death of their oldest son Willie during the Civil War. Perhaps it was the loss of Willie that caused them to hold on to other possessions, or maybe it was that they inherently knew the many artifacts left behind would continue to tell their story. Smith Plantation has catalogued over 14,000 items of memorabilia belonging to the original family. Time changed and this farm home progressed from when slaves worked the fields to the day in 1986 when descendants of the original family sold the home to the City of Roswell. The sale was contingent on the condition that the family’s maid, Mamie Cotton, could continue to live in the big house for the remainder of her years. The beautiful grounds of this home also showcase original outbuildings, including one that is believed to be the oldest on the site and to have been used by slaves who cleared the land prior to the construction of the Plantation.
Craft Beer in Roswell
There is always something brewing in Roswell, thanks to local entrepreneurs who are combining their love of this vibrant town with their own passions.
From the Earth Brewing Company - The first brewpub in Roswell features locally sourced cuisine, world-class beer, and craft cocktails in a fun easygoing environment. The brewpub offers 10-12 house beers and 4-6 rotating local/regional drafts and a non-alcoholic root beer. The kitchen features chef-driven seasonal fare at a reasonable price.
Gate City Brewing Company – Roswell’s first craft brewery. The owners have found there is a strong demand for local beers and the opportunity to see how they are actually made. The name Gate City is a play on the moniker Atlanta has as the Gate City of the New South. Gate City Brewing Company strives to brew beers that embody the very same independent spirit that inspired the owners to chase their dreams.
Variant Brewing Company - They craft quality brews with a flavorful taste that compels you to share. Their collaborative approach and passion for the art of the brewing process creates experiential blends for the occasional beer drinker and craft beer enthusiast.
The Wild and Wonderful Chattahoochee River
In today’s world, it isn’t unusual to find places with super highways running through them. Roswell is part of a metropolitan area rich in culture and history, but the Chattahoochee River, a magnet for wildlife native to the area as well as seasonal migrations, forms the city’s southern border.
Roswell’s nationally acclaimed Recreation and Parks Department enjoys a strong partnership with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Along Vickery Creek Trail there is an interpretive walk highlighting the ruins of Roswell’s early mills and the waterfall created by the dam constructed to provide power for those mills. Also located in this area is Old Mill Park Covered Pedestrian Bridge. This magnificent structure links Roswell’s historic area with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Along the River, Roswell has a seven-mile linear park. This area is extremely popular with those who love to canoe, kayak, and paddleboard. It is also enjoyed by runners, joggers, cyclists, and those who enjoy a good stroll or walk. The Roswell Riverwalk Boardwalk provides a walking path bringing you out over the water for great views and a nice walk through the trees.
Near the shoals along the waterway in the area of Riverside Park, Roswell links with Island Ford, the national headquarters for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Roswell also links again to the CRNRA by the Gold Branch path at Bull Sluice Lake.
The city of Roswell trails and boardwalks and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area both join with Chattahoochee Nature Center along Willeo Road. Chattahoochee Nature Center is the oldest and largest environmental education of its type in the Southeast. Interestingly enough, the community movements to begin the Chattahoochee Nature Center moved hand-in-hand with the efforts to establish the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Chattahoochee Nature Center is a private, non-profit natural science education center serving as the interpretive center for the Chattahoochee River Watershed. The 127 acre center, complete with river access and woodland trails, is extremely busy with school groups, adult programs, festivals (check out the Flying Colors Butterfly Festival and the Butterfly Encounters that are so popular), native plant sales, gardens that showcase native plants, and a Unity Garden that provides educational opportunities while providing food for local food pantries. In fact, the Unity Garden is one of metro Atlanta’s top providers of fresh produce for those in need. The center leads canoe excursions on the river educating about the importance of the river while enjoying watching the wildlife and plants that are active along this marvelous waterway.
Georgia’s Great Street
Roswell’s Canton Street has been officially awarded the designation of Georgia Great Street. No wonder as this street is filled with shops, art galleries, and over 30 restaurants. Fine dining blends with outdoor cafes to make Canton Street a draw for foodies with all tastes and budgets. Hours of browsing and unique shopping experiences abound. Each month, April through October, the third Thursday welcomes visitors from far and wide to Alive in Roswell. It’s the best street party in metro Atlanta. Live music, and restaurant specials blend to provide an experience to remember.
Roswell Mills & The Civil War ... Water that powered Roswell and empowered Georgia
In 1829 gold was found in north Georgia, causing many to prospect the areas of Dahlonega and Auraria. This activity attracted the interest of Roswell King, a citizen of Darien, GA. As he traveled on horseback following Indian trails, he came upon the Chattahoochee River near what is now Roswell. Here he discovered vast forests and the rushing waters of Vickery Creek. He envisioned a mill, powered by water, and a community close by. Mr. King knew that the south was struggling to have its cotton processed, as there were few mills and often it had to be sent to New England or to England itself. He knew that successful mills in the south could lead to riches for their owners.
By 1838, Roswell King, his son Barrington, and their slaves had settled in the area north of the Chattahoochee River. In 1839, the Roswell Manufacturing Company would incorporate and have approximately 150 operatives working at the mill. By 1840, Georgia ranked third in the nation in the production of cotton cloth, just behind Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Nineteen mills were operating, with one of the largest, the Roswell Manufacturing Company. The Mills in Roswell produced tenting, flannel, cotton and wool cloth; yarn; and a cloth of wool and cotton blend called “Roswell Gray.” Roswell Gray would become a highly prized cloth for Confederate uniforms. As the cloth became more and more scarce during the war, it was reserved for officers’ uniforms only.
By the time Sherman’s troops reached Georgia, the Union’s resolve to end the war and break the back of the Confederacy was set. After all, Sherman had said: I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring till the south begs for mercy.
On July 5, 1864, Union troops arrived in Roswell. They had been sent here to secure the covered bridge across the Chattahoochee River, which they discovered had been burned by retreating Confederate soldiers. Union soldiers were surprised to find that the mills were still operational. A mill employee hoisted a French flag above the woolen mill in order to claim neutrality; however, the letters CSA were found on the cloth being produced. Union General Kenner Garrard dispatched word to Sherman: One woolen factory, capacity 30,000 yards a month, and has furnished up to within a few weeks 15,000 yards per month and 51,666 pounds of thread, and 4229 pounds of cotton rope. This was worked exclusively for the rebel government.
The neutrality claimed by the French flag was proven false and General Sherman ordered the mills burned. Four hundred mill workers, mostly women, were charged with treason and sent north to uncertain fates. Sherman wrote: I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard to Marietta, which I will send them by cars to the North … The poor women will make a howl.
Lost Mill Workers of Roswell – A Civil War Tragedy
It was July 7, 1864 and most of the men had marched off to battle, leaving behind 400 women to operate the mills. Upon the Union Army’s arrival in Roswell, action resulted in the women being arrested, charged with treason and sent north. Thus began the legend of the Roswell Women. The harsh treatment of the women brought outrage from good citizens, both north and south. A northern newspaper correspondent report on the deportation read “……. Only think of it! Four hundred weeping and terrified Ellens, Susans, and Maggies, transported in springless and seatless army wagons … and all for the offense of weaving tent-cloth.” Most of their individual stories remain a mystery. It is known that one young lady, pregnant at the time of deportation, struggled for 5 years to make her way home. Arriving in Roswell with her child, she found that her husband, presuming her dead, had remarried.
Ghostly Sightings & Legends
Stories and tours are abundant that showcase the spirits said to dwell behind the walls of the mansions and the toilsome tales of the mill village. Roswell Ghost Tour, conducted by paranormal investigators, is a popular activity. They even offer special tours where attendees are invited to bring their dogs with them - or given the opportunity to meet famed paranormal experts.
Roswell’s Arts & Culture
Roswell has a wealth of cultural experiences by well-established and up-and-coming artists. Visit the Historic District where you will find a unique and creative spirit. Amidst the array of colorful galleries immerse yourself in artistic expressions created in paintings, sculpture, fiber, pottery, photography, wood, glass and clay that define Roswell’s character. As you explore the city, the rich artistic culture is evident. Art Festivals, Art Around, and a variety of special events, exhibits and activities fill the calendar year-round. Performing arts such as professional theatre, dance, puppet shows, storytelling and living history reenactments are all part of our vibrant and diverse arts community. From the casual Riverside Sounds concert series to upbeat toe-tapping performances, a lively music scene abounds.
Christmas in Roswell
Since 1853 when Mittie Bulloch married Theodore Roosevelt at Christmas time at Bulloch Hall, Christmas has been special in Roswell. Each year, the historic homes are dressed in holiday splendor as they show off the southern hospitality for which the south is famous. One of the highlights of the holiday festivities is a reenactment of the historic wedding. Arriving guests are greeted as if they are truly family friends coming to wish the couple well as they take their vows and
begin their new life together.
In addition to Christmas tours of the Southern Trilogy sites (Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall, and Smith Plantation), there are special presentations of performing arts, musical entertainment, storytelling, and theater options. Walking tours of the historic district tell the story of Roswell’s founding families while Ghost Walks capture the imagination with stories of the spirits said to dwell behind the mansion walls. Reenactments portray the community as it would have been in the 1850s. The shops of Historic Roswell await your discovery. Antiques, fine arts and crafts, collectibles, decoratives, and unique gifts fill every nook and cranny of the historic district. Dining is a real treat with down-home southern cooking, barbecue, and continental cuisine selections, Roswell’s Canton Street is officially designated as a Georgia “Great Street,” and draws visitors to enjoy the hip vibe and culinary delights found in its restaurants and shops.
The Faces of War - Roswell Vietnam War Memorial
The Roswell Vietnam War Memorial Committee originally consisted of Vietnam veterans who desired to give overdue acknowledgement to those who served, those who were left behind and those who came home in silence. As their momentum grew, the project gained outstanding support from the community.
The monument is 14 feet in height and 20 feet across, highlighted by Georgia marble cap stones and old colonial bricks. The plaza and walkways contain hundreds of memorial bricks purchased by supporters of the project.
Fifty faces cast in bronze depict an array of emotions, including fear, grief, and courage. They represent American servicemen and women, medical personnel, and Vietnamese civilians. One figure in the sculpture is that of a soldier reaching out to clasp the hand of a little girl (the girl representing the future). The monument is located in the Memorial Garden at Roswell City Hall and is maintained by the Roswell Recreation Department. The Vietnam War Memorial Committee hopes that visitors will remember those who served to protect the sovereignty of our country, not only in the Vietnam War but in all wars, and their families. Georgia’s Largest Memorial Day Ceremony – Roswell Remembers – is held annually at the site of the Roswell Vietnam War Memorial.
Some Notes that Might Stimulate Story Ideas
Roswell, GA is rich in history.
Industrial History: Roswell Mills were among the leading in the South. They contributed to the economy of Roswell, the economy of the State of Georgia, and the economy of the South.
History in the traditional sense: In Roswell there are museums, trails and structures showcasing the history of Roswell since the 1830s. Our heritage is steeped with architectural interests, Civil War facts and stories, grand antebellum homes and linked to three U.S. Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter) and One First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Native Americans lived and hunted along the banks of the Chattahoochee River prior to the Trail of Tears. What is now Roswell was once part of the Cherokee Nation in Georgia. At Riverside Park in Roswell there is a Cherokee Memorial.
Bulloch Hall was built by the grandson of Georgia’s Revolutionary Governor, Archibald Bulloch. Theodore Roosevelt’s son, Archibald, was named after this ancestor. Bulloch County in Georgia was also named after Archibald Bulloch.
Natural History: In Roswell we cherish our natural history as well as the buildings that remain in place. The Chattahoochee River, the Chattahoochee Nature Center, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and an extensive trail system highlight our natural history and the commitment to preserving it.
Chattahoochee River: It is believed that this is from the Creek Indian heritage and means River of the Painted Rock.
Visit Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau
617 Atlanta Street
Roswell, Georgia 30075