Remember when: Three Notch Museum draws tourists
Published 1:16 am Saturday, April 9, 2016
The Three Notch Museum has become quite a tourist attraction. There were more than 400 visitors from 18 states to sign the guest registry in 2015. The museum is now staffed from 9:00 to 2:00 each weekday. There are a lot of new displays. School groups, family and class reunion groups, church groups, and local citizens are encouraged to visit. Call 222-0674 to set up an appointment.
The local history museum is the former Central of Georgia Depot built somewhere around the spring of 1900. It is the oldest wooden building in downtown Andalusia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum site displays by the front entrance door an historic marker with a brief history of the structure once located in the center of the manufacturing district when the trains brought in everything that the trucks bring in today. Even mules were shipped in by train. Then upon arrival, they were driven around the square to the O’Neal Stables where farmers were able to purchase them for their farming operations. You might have heard of a one-mule farm! Once a man came to the museum to bring an item to donate that he wanted labeled a certain way. “Call this an ‘ornery’ mule bit!” So it hangs on the display board with other farming implements – ORNERY MULE BIT.
Building materials were brought in by the rails as well enabling builders to construct the commercial buildings around the public square along with the main street homes on South and East Three Notch Streets and River Falls Street. A treasure of old photos of many of these homes that no longer grace our city streets can be found at the Three Notch Museum. By the early 1920’s, owners stood in front of their downtown storefronts while traveling photographers took the likenesses of many a proud businessman – the baker, the druggist, the jeweler, the hardware and furniture store owner, the grocer, and others.
In her older years, the late Hazel Shreve wrote these words, her handwritten notes dated 1967 found years later in a second floor downtown building: “In 1920 two years after World War I, this particular night late in May, my younger sister and I were on the Central of Georgia train heading for Andalusia, a city we’d never seen. We neared Andalusia, 10 o’clock on a black night. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. Coming from our country home – on a big farm the only night lights Frances and I were familiar with were the stars and the moon. Here were street lights we could see from the train. My! The galaxy could never be as exciting. Finally the train reached the depot. Our brother and sister-in-law met us as we rode up the quiet street in a Jack Benny Essex Car. We observed the little city, so clean, dotted under those glamorous lights with blooming flower beds and trees along the unpaved streets and sidewalks….To me this was the beginning of early Andalusia. Little did I know I’d meet my future husband the next day (at age 15) and four years later I became the bride of John Raymond Shreve. (The Shreves took a chance around 1899 and moved their family and feed and seed business from Searight to Andalusia.) As I arrived in Andalusia from Troy to go to high school, in September 1920, the (public) square was off limits as it was the first paving of streets for Andalusia. You parked as near as possible and walked to the stores for your needs…The quaint old Central of Georgia depot shows it has served man well.”
Stop in soon and discover for yourself the history of Andalusia and Covington County that has been carefully collected and displayed by the Covington Historical Society since the mid 1980’s. “There is a history in all men’s lives,” Shakespeare stated. You might be surprised to find yours at the museum on the corner of Historic Central and Tisdale Streets! Your interest and support in helping maintain this local history museum is sincerely appreciated whether you are an individual or a club. Yes, we have “a proud past and a promising future.”