Last year (Aug. 17, 2017)
Jeff Decker became a new headmaster for Gatewood Schools. He replaced headmaster Christopher Charles who retired. Decker and Charles worked together in the 2016-2017 school year to ensure a smooth transition in leadership. Decker moved to the area in 1999 and began teaching at Gatewood in 2013. He was a teacher and a coach at The Marist School in Atlanta for 25 years. The Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, Gatewood Schools and the Gators Booster Club hosted a ribbon cutting, open house and celebration of its newly upgraded football stadium, Sammons Field, also known as “The Swamp.” Renovations included shiny, new metal bleachers, a new scoreboard, fresh coats of paint everywhere and a new fence. Putnam County High School FFA officers Lane Bridges, Mackenzie Jones, Hayley Shaheen, John Gore, Shamar Mohone, Mathew Roberts, Jessica Jones and Rebecca Kitchens attended Chapter Officer Leadership training in Helen. They participated in many activities that helped build teamwork and communication skills they were going to use throughout the new school year. They had to develop activities, such as FFA meetings, field trips and leadership activities.
Five years ago (Aug. 15, 2013)
A series of Meet Me at The Plaza summer concerts was ending with performance of Tim Cadiere and the band Wash Board Road. Cadiere was bringing a special guest singer Leesa Biddy who sang with him as he first started out. He was going to sing five or six of his new songs at The Plaza, including “Hop in My Truck” and “Proud.” The 2013 Creative Writing Contest winners were announced at the reception at The Plaza Arts Center. They were B. Barry Darugar, first place, “The Loot Desert”; Tequila Lewis, second place, untitled; John Eadie, third place, “Alone in the Okefenokee Swamp”; Dana Meeks, honorable mention. Rock Eagle was getting ready for a canoe adventure Aug. 17. It was for everyone from a novice looking to learn to properly canoe to a veteran craving a jaunt on the water. Program specialist Kate Crosswell said that Rock Eagle provided the opportunity to see ospreys, beaver, deer and many other beautiful species of wildlife. Rock Eagle staff was going to accompany the participants.
Ten years ago (Aug. 21, 2008)
Eatonton resident and Gatewood alum Pfc. Vince Hancock won a gold medal in skeet shooting at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. He was the first person in Putnam County’s 200-year history to win an Olympic gold medal. Two performances of the Atlanta-based Kazanetti String Quartet were scheduled at The Plaza Arts Center in early September. Through the partnership with the school district, students of all three schools were going to meet the musicians and hear them perform before their scheduled concerts. Prior to the performance the group was going to host a “musical petting zoo” allowing the children to see, touch and play the instruments. Long-time Putnam County resident Hope Philip McMichael was honored by the Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons for 50 years of consecutive membership. The ceremony took place at a Stated Communication of Rising Star Lodge No. 4 in downtown Eatonton. Right Worshipful Merrill Clark, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, represented the Most Worshipful Grand Master Ted Collins for the presentation. Clark presented McMichael with the Grand Lodge’s 50-year membership apron and certificate. This ceremony was expected to be the last one of its kind at the downtown lodge site with construction of a new building across from the VFW on GA 16.
Twenty five years ago (Aug. 19, 1993)
The Pex Theatre owned by John Peck was in the process of reconstruction to become an office building. The seats were removed, and level flooring installed. Constructed in 1942 specifically for the purpose of showing movies by Peck’s father, the theatre closed in 1979 due to increasing availability of television at home. Peck was keeping some of the seats and still had the balcony up top. He hoped to fix up a viewing room and show pay-per-view events one day. E-911 emergency call service was 93 percent complete, and call-through testing was about to begin for county residents. Around 400 more addresses had to be put in the system. Everyone in the system had to have a street address posted on mailboxes or close to driveways. A tracking system was utilized to cut down on false calls. The effort to install E-911 system (to build the database) had lasted about a year.
Fifty years ago (Aug. 15, 1968)
Putnam County High School received statewide notice again as two coaches were awarded honors as regions coaches of the year and 1968 graduate Brent Cunningham took the ball over for his team’s first touchdown in the North-South All-Star Game. Athletic Director Al Reaves was honored as Coach of the Year for his region in both football and baseball, and Coach Robert Graham received the honor for basketball. Lois Resseau of Eatonton joined her fellow Northeast District 4-H Dress Revue winners Cheryl Foster of Walton County and Jinger Jones of Franklin in consulting with fashion fabric coordinator Miss Judy Benton at the fashion clinic in Atlanta. Competition for the state winner was going to be held the following week. The girls were also going to participate in three fashion shows at Rich’s Tea Room.
Seventy five years ago (Aug. 19, 1943)
State Guard Auxiliary celebrated its first birthday. The idea of a Woman’s Rifle Club or Corp was proposed by George Scheer in July 1942, and with aid of S. I. Walker, W. E. Hunter and G. F. Ellis about 65 women of mixed ages signed up for service. A routine of shooting, exercises and drilling was set up. A week later temporary leaders were selected, and the group was divided into squads and was operated that way until Feb. 11, 1943 when a permanent selection of officers and nooncommission personnel was made. At that point the Corp asked the unit to be made an auxiliary to the State Guard Unit of Putnam County Eatonton High School was going to open Monday Aug. 30 at 10:30 a.m. after which all pupils would be dismissed and expected to come back at 1 p.m. to receive books for the coming term. Prof. Fincher announced again that all new students must receive inoculations for typhoid and smallpox before Aug. 30.
One hundred years ago (Aug. 16, 1918)
The next session of Eatonton Public School was opening Sept. 2 with announcement of courses of study and plans for the year. The regular fee was expected within the first week, but it wasn’t necessary to buy books until pupils were classified. Books were ready at the opening, though, and were sold by the Eatonton Supply Company. All parents were urged to get the children started during the first day or two of the session to avoid delaying teachers with their work. Two first days were going to be dedicated to classification. Students couldn’t be promoted at the end of the year unless they had made an attendance record of approximately 80 percent. Lieut. James R. Stow, Co. K, 59th U.S. Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, was killed in France July 28. He was the first man from the Putnam County lost in WWI. He previously had served in the Philippines and in Mexico with Gen. Pershing. He left behind a wife living in Baltimore to whom he was married only a short while before leaving for France.