McRitchie-Hollis MuseumThe Historic Depot

At the McRitchie-Hollis Museum:

Come see what’s new at the museum!

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New Historical Exhibit!

Would you believe Newnan was once home to a “Possum Eaters’ Convention?” It’s true!

AND NCHS is holding its own Old-Fashioned Possum Supper Nov. 8!

Beginning in 1894, prominent politicians from all over the state would gather in Newnan, a few months prior to the official Democratic convention, to determine the slate of officials (including the governor, Supreme Court, and other high-ranking members) before a single vote was ever cast.  Over plates of delectable home-grown possum and sweet ‘taters, back-room deals would be made as they merrily discussed agenda items such as “Our Friends, the Lawyers” and “Responsibilities of Citizenship.” It was at the Virginia House hotel on the Newnan square that Newnan’s own William Yates Atkinson was “appointed” governor by those gathered, and thus Georgia’s first “possum governor” went on to serve a successful two terms. Several other “possum governors” followed, anointed at these famed Possum Suppers, and eventually even the president-elect, William Howard Taft, had to get in on the act, making a special trip to Atlanta to feast on a Coweta County whole possum for good luck in his administration. (The affair was covered in all the national newspapers, leading to the creation of ‘Billy Possum” as a follow-up to Theodore Roosevelt’s ultra-successful “Teddy Bear” craze. Both the new “Billy Possum” toy and the new administration did not fare well, however.) A group of local fellows formed a civic club in 1912 specifically to keep the local possum-eating tradition alive — and they did, carrying it well into the mid-20th century, with local officials such as Sheriff Lamar Potts, County Commissioner Johnny Brown and many others getting in on the act. Come to the McRitchie-Hollis Museum to see one of the original invitations, and see a dinner table set for some good ol’ possum and ‘taters!  (Special thanks to the McKoon family for use of period photographs.)


Our Old-Fashioned Possum Supper has been moved from the originally-planned Sept. 21 to WEDNESDAY, NOV. 8, 7:30 p.m. at the Depot. Tickets, $25, available at McRitchie-Hollis Museum or on Eventbrite.com — Here is the link for the dinner details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nchs-old-fashioned-possum-supper-tickets-37657472514


Planned/Upcoming (Subject to Change):
  • Dinet Hok, Driftwood Art, summer beach-related art installation, coming in mid-June in the downstairs rooms at McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Look for word on an opening reception!
  • Possum Trot — The possum supper tradition that started during the political campaign of Gov. William Yates Atkinson and continued in Newnan through the mid 20th century will be celebrated with a special exhibition planned to open August 2017 upstairs at McRitchie-Hollis Museum.
  • Simple Pleasures fall photography competition show comes in September downstairs at McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Entry open until Aug. 4. Share what brings you joy and happiness by entering the Fall Simple Pleasures Photography Competition. A Simple Pleasure is defined as a work from life’s little joys which includes a human and/or animal connection which conveys a feeling of pleasure via a family friendly, uplifting images (no nudity). DEADLINE IS AUGUST 4, 2017 BY 11:59 P.M. For entry details go to http://www.simplepleasuresfoto.com/CallforEntries.html
  • 45 Years, 45 Objects.  As we celebrate the anniversary of Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s founding, we plan a special exhibition of objects that reflect Coweta County’s history … 45 Years, 45 Objects. The exhibition will open in October in the upstairs rooms at McRitchie-Hollis Museum. If you have an idea for a special object that should be included, call the NCHS/McRitchie-Hollis office at 770-251-0207.
  • The work of local artist Sherry Cook will be coming in an exhibition in the downstairs room opening in November.
  • Coming in early 2018 will be an exhibition on the Howard Warner School that opened May 6, 2017 as a new community center on Savannah Street. The facility served Newnan’s Aftrican-American community and later housed offices for the Coweta County Board of Education.

At the Depot History Center:

Newnan WAS a Civil War hospital town

Open by appointment, the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s Depot History Center has a series of paintings by local artist Martin Pate depicting events related to the Civil War Battle of Brown’s Mill.  In July 1864 Union and Confederate forces briefly clashed at the train depot on East Broad Street in downtown Newnan and soon were engaged in battle south of town. The battlefield is now preserved as a Coweta County public park, located along Millard Farmer Road. The old freight depot on East Broad Street serves as a backdrop for a collection of artifacts, including a display of Civil War-era weaponry. Also learn about Newnan’s role as a hospital town around the time of the siege of Atlanta, the area’s early settlement and the coming of the railroad, and use of the telegraph and the telegraphy school that was located in Newnan in the Reese Opera House building on South Court Square at Greenville Street. The Depot History Center is also available for event rental. Contact rentals@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com or call 404-354-0168 or 770-251-0207 for more information.


At the Male Academy Museum:

The Male Academy now houses the ChildrenConnect/ Newnan Children’s Museum

The Male Academy, 30 Temple Ave., Newnan, was the longtime headquarters of Newnan-Coweta Historical Society but is getting new life as it is transformed into the ChildrenConnect/ Newnan Children’s Museum. Look for details from the Children’s Museum board on Facebook and the web.

For more information on Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, call us at McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., Newnan; 770-251-0207.