October 2019
News & Updates from the Milton Historical Society
Milton's History with Horses
Part 2: Making an Equestrian Community
by Jeff Dufresne
Horses are as American as apple pie. There are roughly 9.2 million horses in the United States today... more than any country on earth. Russia is a distant second with just 1.3 million horses. Here in Georgia, the City of Milton has the largest concentration of horses between Lexington, Kentucky and Ocala, Florida.

At the time Milton County was established in 1838, horses were considered beasts of burden - working on farms and providing transportation. Milton County became a stopover for pioneers traveling between the mountain communities and the railroad terminus - later named Atlanta. Folks would say, "Good horses make short miles."

From its inception, Milton County suffered one devastating hardship after another. First came the Civil War, then a smallpox epidemic, followed by the boll weevil infestation, and ultimately the Great Depression, which forced Milton County to merge with Fulton County to save it from bankruptcy
Local farmers with a good riding ring hosted one-day shows for saddle clubs, hunt clubs, 4-H shows, and other events. Competitions grew in size and popularity. Over time, these smaller shows were replaced by large-scale multi-day equestrian events, specializing in hunting, jumping, dressage, and cross country, as well as rodeos, polo tournaments, and more. Pictured is the iconic Runner barn complex on Hopewell Road. Photo credit: Robert Meyers

The Wills Park Equestrian Center became a haven for horse enthusiasts and regional competitors, which made North Fulton the "horse capital of the South."

Today, when visitors come to Milton they feel like they've arrived in a unique place...not 'Anytown USA.' They may see horse people in boots and britches having coffee at Starbucks or lunching at the Olde Blind Dog. People appreciate Milton's bucolic character...and we certainly love our horses! From its humble beginnings as a beast of burden 160 years ago to today - the horse has become a symbol of pride and beauty for Milton, Georgia.

Jeff Dufresne is a Director and Founding Patron of the Milton Historical Society.
Milton in the Olympics!
'Sassy Reason', owned by Milton Historical Society Founding Patron Curtis Mills, performs in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.

Cover Photo from the USCTA News courtesy of Mr. Mills.
During and after cleanup
Your Historical Society at work!
On August 17, Board members staged a clean-up day at the historic Double Branch Court House on Birmingham Road Near Freemanville Road. Brush and brambles were obscuring the court house from the road. It was difficult to appreciate the weathered old building that served as a militia mustering and voting location for decades. It has been recognized by the City with an historical marker.

Workers who helped clear the area were Society President Bill Lusk, Treasurer Karen Thurman, Directors Jeff Dufresne, and Jim Farris. Property owners Tamara Didjurgis and Brian Busch rounded out the work group.

To read more about the court house, visit the interactive story map on the City of Milton's website. All the historical marker sites are pictured, with locations mapped. On the website, click Residents, then Milton Historic Sites.

Milton Historical Society
2019 Tree Ornament

The Society's fundraiser again this year is the sale of a glass tree ornament, the second in an annual series. This year's ornament features the Reese House, which sits majestically at Crabapple Crossroads. The house is pictured on the front of the ornament and the reverse has a description taken from the Milton Historical Marker on the property.

The ornament is $15 and makes a wonderful gift. Ornaments are sold at several retail locations including: Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, Duke's Bar and Grill, Providence Bank, Bobby G's Chicago Eatery and Sports Bar, Cheeses and Mary, Scottsdale Farms, 'cue Barbecue, and Whitetail Bicycles and Coffee Shop. Also place your order and arrange for pickup by emailing miltonhistoricalsociety@gmail.com .

2019 Fall Programs

Tuesday November 19 - 6:30 p.m.
From Milton to the Moon
Milton Library, 855 Mayfield Rd.
Speaker: Byron Foster, MHS Director and Structural Engineer who worked on the Apollo moon launch program.

Watch this space for information about our holiday open house!

2020 Winter/Spring Programs
(subject to change)

Tuesday January 21 - 6:30 p.m.
The Mystery of the Trees: Native American trail trees
Speaker: Don Wells, Mountain Stewards

Tuesday February 18 - 6:30 p.m.
Lincoln Program
Speaker: Kevin Spear, MHS Director

Tuesday March 31 - 6:30 p.m.
Georgia Trail of Tears
Speaker: Wanda Patterson, GATOTA

Tuesday April 14 - 6:30 p.m.
Early Post Offices of Old Milton County
Speakers: Ed Maloney, Barbara Latham

Muse of the month!

Each generation, in its turn, is a link between all that has gone before and all that comes after. That is true genetically, and it is equally true in the transmission of our identity.

Fred Rogers
We would like to introduce you to our Board of Directors, so in each of our upcoming newsletters, we will profile several of them.
Mark Amick, Director
Mark, his wife Amy, and son Wyatt moved to Milton in 2017. While in Kirkland, Washington, Mark's family lived in a home designated as an historic landmark. Mark served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Kirkland Heritage Society. Mark is a Lifetime Member of that society, as well as the Heritage Association of Frisco, Texas. Mark has held various leadership roles in sales and marketing during his career, working primarily at Sprint and Microsoft.
Byron Foster, Director
Byron is a native of Atlanta and grew up in Sandy Springs, Georgia. After graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in Structural Engineering, Byron worked as a contractor for NASA. He spent 10 years with the lunar landing program and other space projects, including work on the Saturn V rocket. Byron next spent 29 years working for the Corps of Engineers on large civil works projects in the Southeastern United States. Byron's mother, grandparents, and great grandparents were born in Milton County. He is the fourth generation to live on the family farm located in Milton.
2019 Crabapple Festival
The Milton Historical Society participated in this year's Crabapple Festival, setting up displays and giveaways on the iconic porch of the historic Reese House. This was the circa 1900 home of Cantrell and Nallie Broadwell Reese.

This antique buggy, owned by Society Director Jim Farris, was prominently displayed at the festival.
We Love our Founding Patrons!
Ron Wallace
Felton and Johnny Herbert
Adam Orkin
Pat Miller
Dawn and Keith Reed
Amy Christiansen
Kathy and Philip Beck
Jessica and Warren Cheely
Joe and Heather Killingsworth
Seth Chandlee
Curtis Mills
Mary Ann and Clarke Otten
Mark Amick
Joan Borzilleri
Jeff Dufresne
James Farris
Byron Foster
Kim Gauger
Bill Lusk
Connie Mashburn
Bob Meyers
Charlie Roberts
Kevin Spear
Karen Thurman