Sunday, May 13, 2007

Aunty Fanny's Cabin and Smyrna, Ga

Friday while Anna was at a haircutting appointment , I went to a couple of places in downtown Smyrna. While I am reading the book PAPER BOY by Pete Woods about the genealogy of each house, street by street, I like to on occasion, see what I am reading about.

Did you know Julia Roberts is from Smyrna, Georgia? Sure ‘nuff.

I first drove through a few neighborhoods recognizing the streets I read about and who lived in the older houses on the streets. Then, I went to the Smyrna Library and caught up with a couple of magazines such as MAD and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

MAD has just about outgrown itself. The art is getting sophisticated. It is getting too dignified to carry on its madcap humor. It appears now it’s target audience is the 20 year old female that doesn’t date.

I flipped through two NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs. Did you know the person who married Pocahontas – I think his last name is Roth, or similar – introduced a certain type of earthworms to the American Continent that now is very common – it might be the Wigglers?

Also in another NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC a burying place in Peru, near a city, a burial place for pet dogs have been dug up. Each dog was buried with a hearty amount of dog food for his stay in eternity. And, each dog was a certain type of dog, blondish hair, similar to a Golden Retriever. The same kind of stray dog that mostly roam around the same area today. So, it is very probably the dogs that are buried there are ancestors of the present strays. The dog food was llama meat.

I wonder why the doggie burial grounds were exclusive only to the blond-stray type? Maybe the blond stray dogs themselves created the graveyard…. And just keeping it in the family and a secret – until now.

Not far away from the Smyrna Library is the Smyrna History Museum, which is converted from an old railway depot. I was the only visitor. The tall aged curator was glad to see me and gave me a personal tour. We spent almost an hour talking about old Smyrna old Marietta and old land marks. He belongs to a camera club. He has talked his group into making pictures of old landmarks and old houses and buildings, barns, etc., in and near Smyrna.

I told him I was glad they were doing that. I told him it is just about getting weekly that I notice another old house or building demolished to make ways for the new, and every time I cursed myself for not taking a picture of it – I just sort of accepted it was suppose to be there – then one day it wasn’t there anymore. Sad. We both agreed it was sad.

He asked me if I remember Windy Bagwell. I said yes, I said I used to pass by his place everyday to and from work. Windy Bagwell’s place was a whole sale furniture company, but if I remember right he sold all kinds of junk and cheap stuff that he would buy at cheap prices for big quantities.

Windy Bagwell was also a musician and had his own group. They had a couple of songs that were popular back in the 50s. That is what the curator was leading up to. Someone last week donated some Windy Bagwell LPs to the museum. He had a record player hooked up, and he put on a Windy Bagwell record. It was old fashion music.

The curator said, “now that is music you can understand the words”. And we sat back and enjoyed a few songs. He told me he has a group and they visit different senior centers and nursing homes and sing.

“Gospel music?” I asked.

“No, just must you can understand the words… a lot of show tunes”. He said. I was going ask him did they do “HAIR” but decided not to.

He opened a door and showed me a office with a computer and said there is a lot of information to be input in their system but he wasn’t that technical minded. I told him I wasn’t either, but I was consistent about inputting data. I told him I might talk to him about volunteering to input some of the data for him… I would have to think about it.

Next to the museum is a make believe restaurant named “Aunt Fannie’s Cabin”. I asked him was it the original that was disassembled and moved here and reassembled or a replica. He said it was the original taken apart and put back together again.

I told him years ago when my father was chief of the Cobb County Police Aunt Fanny’s Cabin was selling booze, which was illegal in dry Cobb County. Daddy led a raid on their illegal activity.

Then, Aunt Fanny’s Cabin was where the movie stars and high ranking politicians ate when they came to Atlanta. The walls were full of photographs of people like Clark Gable and the owner chatting at a table, of Suzan Hayworth and the owner. By the way, Susan Hayward was a frequent diner there, she was married to Eaton Chalkley, a local businessman and cattle farmer and lived not far away in Carrollton, Georgia.

Here is an article written in the Marietta Daily Journal shortly after my father’s death:

While we're writing about police, let's pay tribute to Ed Hunter a dedicated, honest officer of 50 years of service who died this week at 76.
Hunter was Cobb County Police chief under Commission Chairman Rholie Ward. When Ward went out of office, Hunter became Marietta police chief.
As county chief, Hunter was involved in an unforgetable incident. Thirty-five years ago, Cobb County was a dry county. If John Q. Citizen wanted a snort he had to "go to the river" to liquor stores in Fulton County along the Chattahoochee River.
But most private clubs in Cobb like the Elks, Legion, Moose, Marietta Country Club and at least two fashionable restaurants served liquor by the drink.
Hunter thought it hypocritical that his officers would arrest someone for having a scant of moonshine while liquor sales continued at private clubs.
So it wasn't surprising when Harvey Hester, the former Congressional Medal of Honor owner of Smyrna's Aunt Fanny's Cabin, rang up Hunter to ask him to arrest an employee who stole booze from the bar and stashed it away in the nearby woods.
Instead, Hunter sent a raiding party to Aunt Fanny's, booked Hester and confiscated a truck load of whiskey. Hunter didn't have a list of who not to arrest. If you violated the law, he arrested you.
By Bill Kinney is associate editor of The Marietta Daily Journal, Sunday, July 24, 1988.

About 3 BK of our married life Anna and I had dinner at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin. As I remember the food was good and an accent on southern type of cooking like fried chick, pork chops, turnip greens – well, you get the idea.

Remember, this restaurant attracted northerners because it was sooo southern. When Anna and I was seated a little black kid, about 8 years old, came up with a blackboard hanging by a little rope with the day’s specials. He shouted the menu to you. And we noticed he was a boy of mischief and a big black woman was always on his case, trying to get him to get back on course with his job – she kind of reminded me of Mammy in “Gone With The Wind”. I think it was all a show. The little kid was probably a smart little nerd that was good at memorizing the menu and the daily specials… and there were certain things to look for in the patrons…. To do a little mischief… all a programmed show.

Visit Smyrna!

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Blogger Charlie said...

I am curious if you know the year Cobb County voted "wet". My first wife and I moved to Smyrna during that time. I went to work for a Mr. Danial who was an electrical contractor in Smyrna and he was vehemently opposed to the "wet" vote. In fact I seem to recall him calling all the employees in on the day of the voting to urge them to vote no. Mr Daniel also required all employees to attend company bible readings each week.
Our company also did several service calls to Aunt Fannys for electrical problems.

9:30 PM  
Blogger ET said...

That is interesting - the mandatoried Bible readings and being against a wet Cobb County and yet doing work for Aunt Fanny's wet Cabin.

I remember Cobb was dry against hard stuff in 1960, and maybe up until at least 1967. I got married in 1967 and beforehand stopping at the county line package store on the Fulton Count side by the river on the way home from work many times... probably something like 1968 or 1970.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Now that I read your reply I think I may have been wrong in saying we moved there during the initial "wet" vote. We moved there around 1976-77. Maybe there was some other vote taking place that Mr Daniel was upset about. I seem to recall something about the city of Atlanta having a todo about Sunday liquor by the drink.
I do admire your ability to place dates in certain parts of your life as that is not easy for me. I also enjoy reading your blog as my time in Atlanta-Smyrna-Marietta was very special.

5:43 PM  
Blogger ET said...

That may have been it. Blue Laws! They come up every election year... the Bible thumpers who don't want bars to be opened on Sunday and the masses who do. The thumpers win every time.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, what fun! Aunt Fanny's cabin! My husband and I always went there during the '70's when we were engaged and then actually had our Pre-Wedding Dinner the night before our wedding ! I'll never forget that night and how much fun we all had! I hated to see Aunt Fanny's go away! It was a special part of my young life!!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story is really cool. It just so happens I have the guest registeries from Aunt Fannys Cabin ranging from the 1940's to the late 1980's when they closed. It is amazing at the famous people that signed them. My mother took me there to eat when I was a child.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Stan said...

I ate there in the early '70's while in the area on business. I remember that the meal was very pleasant and that I ordered a mint julip and was allowed to keep the glass, a souvenir of Aunt Fanny's Cabin. It was so good that I ordered a second so we could have a set at home ... which we still use for our mint julips.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aunt Fannys was a must for Sunday nite dinner when I went to Emory during 49-53.Always went with Dick Miller now CEO of Truman BankSt.Louis. Little black
younguns tapdanced around announcing the chalk board menu chicken or steak, and when the fresh vegetables were cooked they came fresh out of the kitchen. Aunt Fanny died around that time. What a great memory of that unique place.

Art Burns Jacksonville FL

7:09 PM  

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