Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 29, 2007

A trip through time

Historical society’s anniversary offers peek into region’s past

VALDOSTA — Founded in 1967 to celebrate and preserve Valdosta’s and Lowndes County’s history, the Lowndes County Historical Society opened the doors of its 305 W. Central Ave. museum Saturday for a 40th anniversary celebration.

Catching the attention of several museum visitors Saturday were the exhibits on its grounds. Brenda Thrasher and family took a walk through the city of Valdosta’s beloved caboose, which was restored by 17-year-old John Bennett and fellow members of Alapaha Area Council Boy Scout Troop 440.

St. John Catholic School’s Arielle Hooks, 10, was captivated by the memorial to Gypsy, an elephant weighing in at

10,000 pounds — the largest in the world — that wreaked havoc on Valdosta streets in the early 1900s. As she stood among the elephant statue and potted Elephant

Ear plants, Hooks read the story of how Gypsy was traveling through the area with the Harris Nickle-Plate Show one Nov. 22 when she became agitated and went on a rampage through city streets, shaking utility poles, crushing her trainer, throwing a circus clown and tossing a few bricks at the gathering crowd. Gypsy was later shot and killed by a former sheriff.

“That was so weird,” Hooks said, a look of total disbelief on her face.

Next, Hooks wandered around to the old Valdosta Institute Bell, which was ordered by city leaders on Sept. 30, 1889, and produced by the McShane Bell Foundry. She tugged on the rope and rang the bell for all visiting the museum to hear.

Inside the museum, Lucy Sutton of Lake Park was found browsing a collection of photos, books, hats, clothing and more that once belonged to Valdosta and Lowndes County residents of years past. It was her first visit to the museum. However, it was not her first time being inside the building, which was once home to the Carnegie Library. As a child, she recalled visiting the library, which was occupied by the Lowndes County Historical Society in 1977.

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