The City of LaGrange and Troup County are places of great historical significance. Hidden beneath layers of modernization and technological advances, one really has to dig deep and search through the fabric of our advanced town to find these historical treasures. Fortunately, we have people in our community that have dedicated themselves to keeping that history alive. County Historian Clark Johnson with the Troup County Archives is one of those individuals and this past Sunday, November 20, he did just that with his tour of historic Broad Street.
LaGrange was created to be the County City for Troup County, a county that was created in 1826. The city was separated into lots and given away in a raffle in 1827. The city was made into a grid pattern with eight streets all meeting at a center square, a fact that remains true to this day. The city itself was named after the estate of Marquis de LaFayette, a French man who fought as a General in the American Revolution against the British and was member of George Washington’s staff. Even though LaFayette did come through Georgia, he never actually came to Troup County or LaGrange. It is with this history our community was born and through that founding of the city, the central and main road was created that would become Broad Street.
Broad Street itself at the time of creation was deliberately cut wide to serve as a type of Grand Avenue, even though it did not receive the name Broad Street until 1870. It became the epicenter for the city and its main area of operations. In 1893, the street, along with what is now Church, were both briefly renamed, Broad becoming Montgomery Avenue and Church becoming Cox Avenue. They were renamed after the Montgomery Brothers and Ichabod Cox. The name change, however, did not last long. Broad Street was first paved with stones in 1906 and with concrete in 1921. The street would continue, even to this day, to be a hub for the city with many historical places set upon its grounds.
There are far too many stories and memories that Johnson shared with the group to even possible begin to share. There were stories from the civil war, tales of architectural designs, and a melding of country wide events and how they meshed with our community. One thing that truly does stick out is the different designs of houses and how many different architectural schools, of thought are present up and down the street. 206 Broad is a Greek Revival style home that served as a meeting spot for the Nancy Hearts. 279 Broad serves as an incredible example of a Queen Anne Victorian style home just right across the street.
Down the road at the 300 section you have the newly renovated Servants Scholars dorms for LaGrange College which were some of the first modern apartments in the community. It is a Georgian style building which is right across the street from the Truett-Mansour home that is classified as Neo-Classical. This not to mention all of the churches such as the First Presbyterian Church or the United Methodist Church which all have their own incredible histories.
The fact of the matter is, words do not an article make that could possible begin to cover even a fraction of what you learn from a tour like this. There are countless stories and things to see that you simply have to invest the time in yourself and make sure that soak up all of the information that is presented to you. You need to look at the minuet details with your own eyes and here the history first hand. The archives regularly host these types of tours and they are truly a treat for any history buff or anyone that wishes to know about the community in which they live. Contact the Troup County Archives to get information on when they will host their next historic tour.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer