OUR NEW FALL PHOTO EXHIBIT IS NOW UP! Come experience some of life’s “Simple Pleasures” with our all-new exhibit at McRitchie-Hollis Museum featuring local and regional talent!
Join us 3 p.m. Sept. 30 for the fall awards reception and meet the talented photographers!
New Historical Exhibit!
The Possum Suppers that started during the 1890s political campaign of Gov. William Yates Atkinson and continued in Newnan through the mid 20th century are celebrated with a special exhibition just opened early July 2017 upstairs at McRitchie-Hollis. We’re planning our own Possum Supper Wed., Nov. 8 at the Depot — Tickets, $25, available at McRitchie-Hollis Museum or Eventbrite.com. See Upcoming Programs for more information and a link to the ticket sales page on Eventbrite.com.
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Would you believe Newnan was once home to a “Possum Eaters’ Convention?” It’s true!
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 view a dinner table set for some good ol’ possum and ‘taters! (Special thanks to the McKoon family for use of period photographs.)
New exhbition of 1930s furnishings on view
Throughout McRitchie-Hollis Museum is a recently-acquired collection of 1930s furnishings from a grand home in Florida. The furnishings that went on display in March 2017 are a gift of Taylor Glover and family.
- 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. If you have an idea for a special object that should be included, call the McRitchie-Hollis Museum office at 770-251-0207.
- 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.
For more information stop by McRitchie-Hollis at 74 Jackson Street or call us at 770-251-0207. We keep our web site here at www.newnancowetahistoricalsociety updated, as well as regular posts on our Facebook page.