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I'm in Georgia this weekend to officiate a wedding for my lovely niece Kristen, and her intended, Jake. The happy occasion is taking place in the countryside east of Athens at Tucker Plantation, in what used to be a horse barn. It smells much better now.

According to the venue's website, the Smithsonia plantation, begun in the 1860s, was once the largest farm east of the Mississippi. I'm not sure how they determine that: it seems a bit strange that a huge farm would be started in Georgia in the 1860s, either during the Civil War or in its tumultuous aftermath -- but that's the claim.

The original farm produced cotton, corn, and cattle, reportedly had a private railroad, and produced its own bricks through a plant on site. The plantation's landmark buildings are three large brick barns that have seen a variety of uses through the years, mainly for horses.

In the 1980's, country singer Kenny Rogers bought the place and turned one of the barns into a basketball court.

The next owner remodeled the barns and turned them into a wedding/music venue and lodging facilities. 

I've been told that he has since died, leaving a huge mortgage on the property, and the bank will soon have its own ideas for repurposing the place.

I always enjoy seeing old things repurposed rather than destroyed: historic downtowns often feature charming restaurants, offices, or apartments that started as filling stations, factory buildings, or hotels. And, the notion of turning old barns into wedding venues is no longer novel.

Seeing old things remodeled, refurbished, and repurposed offers hope for our lives, as well. Sometimes we may feel a bit decrepit or broken down, not as useful or effective as we once were. It's good to know that, with sufficient effort and a little help, we can also rebuild, reform, or revitalize our lives for new purposes.

So long as we can avoid the foreclosure part ...


Reader Comments (4)

Tony, I live just a few miles from Tucker plantation..hope you enjoy the countryside! God is indeed Good!

Aug 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMalinda Erwin

Thanks for reading, Malinda! The countryside certainly is beautiful around there.

Aug 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony Cartledge

The brick barns were built to store cotton during times when the price of cotton was low, so it could be sold at a later date. It has only been in recent years that they became horse barns. Kenny Rogers and the University of Georgia were the primary horse users of these barns. There is not a great deal of horse activity there now, nor has there been for some time. A local neighbor.

Oct 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAW

Thanks for additional information, neighbor!

Oct 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony Cartledge

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