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City of North Augusta celebrates centennial
By Bill Bengtson   - 01/21/2006

Aiken Standard

Sharing a shock and a laugh are Paul Knox Middle School students Jennifer Price, left, Aleeka Moody and Frederick Grimm, as they look through a 1962 annual and discover a childhood photo of their assi
NORTH AUGUSTA — A flood engulfed the North Augusta Community Center Thursday evening — welcome news for the community’s boosters, as the deluge came in the form of hundreds of visitors taking part in “A Night to Remember,” commemorating North Augusta’s 100th anniversary.

The first-of-its-kind event featured photographs, clothing, weaponry, tools, books, toys and other items dating a decade, a generation, a century and deeper yet into local history, as well as tales from longtime local residents about the North Augusta of their younger years.

Represented at the assembly were organizations ranging from Belvedere Elementary School and Sweetwater Baptist Church to Posey Funeral Home and American Legion Post 71, alongside of families with names that echo throughout local history — Jackson, Baynham, Burkhalter, Hammond, Knox and several others.

Visitors were able to wander through the displays for four hours, filling the main assembly area to capacity, and could also visit smaller rooms to hear presentations by local citizens recalling peaks and valleys in North Augusta history. Helping lead the tours of reminiscence were Starkey Flythe, Dorine Creighton Smith, Charles Petty and several others.

Organizers confirmed that the crowd was much larger than they had expected. “It just made me think we need a museum. I wish we could have ‘A Night to Remember’ every day,” said Victoria Hann, president of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

“There just was not enough time to take it all in ... It’s phenomenal, it’s very humbling and it sets a benchmark for the rest of us, moving in, to see all the families and the people and what they’ve done and who they are.”

She expressed particular thanks for volunteer Shirley Holgate and Brenda Baratto, who helped lead the way in organizing the event. Holgate, in turn, commented on what she saw throughout the program.

“One of the things is, everybody enjoyed seeing people they hadn’t seen in a long time. There were just kind of reunions at every table,” she said, citing the example of one visitor who spent an hour at Hammond Hill Elementary School’s table, “looking through scrapbooks and finding himself” in the pages from years ago.

Among the most prominent guests was Jack Alexander, a grandson of North Augusta’s founder, James Urquhart Jackson. The founder was also represented, with help from local architect Dan Bollman, accessorized with a mustache (and adhesive) along with gentleman’s clothing from the days of Strom Thurmond’s infancy.

Mayor Lark Jones also touched on Jackson’s legacy, in introducing local author Jeanne M. McDaniel, who recently completed writing “North Augusta — James U. Jackson’s Dream,” which is now for sale, having been released this month by Arcadia Publishing.

Authors-in-training were also recognized, with honors for seventh-grader Sara Pate and fourth-graders Ansley Hiatt and Summer Neal — winners of the top prizes in an essay contest that had students focusing on highlights in local history.

The mayor chose the word “outstanding” to describe the event. “The crowd has just been fantastic, and the only thing that I’ve heard over and over again is, ‘Oh, you need three days to see all this,’ or ‘We need to do it again,’” he added.

“It certainly should be done on a regular basis. I’m not going to say how regular, but certainly more often than once every 50 or 100 years.”






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