Tate depot may finally start in December

Photo by Lisa Schnellinger

Photo by Lisa Schnellinger

The long-delayed Tate Depot project may finally get going by the end of the year, state officials say.

Bids for the Tate train depot project will be let in December according to Georgia Department of Transportation Senior Project Manager Steve Aderwale in a statement to Smoke Signals June 6. He said the project approval process was in the “final stages.”

The project calls for moving the depot across the street to a vacant lot at the corner of Highway 53 and Highway 5, and renovating it for use as an historical tourist attraction. The depot was built in 1916.

Read the full story: Tate depot project set to get underway in December? – Smoke Signals.

Building Green in Pickens

The idea behind making sure we leave minimal “carbon footprints” on our environment is not new but Vered Kleinberger may be the only person you know who has taken the idea to a completely new level locally with her Green Building Adventure (click to visit GBA site and for photos of the complete process).

“I believe it’s important to reduce our impact on the planet as much as possible and, although it is extremely difficult to have zero impact on the environment, the GBA portrays methods of building and living that can minimize effects on the planet,” Kleinberger said.

The “adventure” started over a year ago when Kleinberger’s not-for-profit Education Excursions organization needed larger office space and storage. Instead of renting Kleinberger decided to build beside her Twin Mountain Lakes home. With the help of around 40 people who pitched in their time, talents and lots of dedication, she constructed a completely new building from deconstructed barns, old homes, leftover building supplies and natural elements. Kleinberger also incorporated edible landscaping and rain barrels for daily watering needs.

Last Saturday, Kleinberger held an open house to showcase the now “almost” completed building and thank all those who helped along the way. In thanking them, she began crying before she could even get the words out.

 “I didn’t know I was going to do that,” she said. “I’m not a crier either. This has been an incredible year. I wanted to do this to show people that there are other ways to build. You can use recycled materials and not have to cut down trees, so spread the word. And there’s still more work to be done.”

Click here for entire article from Pickens Progress.

Ghosts of memory at Tate Depot

Photo by Mike Davis

Feet shuffled, people murmured, and ticket windows opened last weekend at the Tate Depot for the first time in 62 years.

Had that noise hovered over the depot at midnight under a full moon you might have guessed that Col. Sam and friends were making a ghostly visit to their old stomping grounds.

Visits were made, but none ghostly, as hundreds stopped by for a look inside the depot for the first time since train passenger service stopped in 1949.

Some told stories about riding the train. Others told about a family member who helped build the depot, or a grandfather who was the last fireman on the last steam engine to leave the station.

Many expressed pleasure that the depot will finally be restored.

Some visitors wandered from ticket window to freight room deep in thought, most likely with visions of a bustling hub they remembered where passengers, baggage and loads of Georgia marble began a journey south to Canton and Marietta, or north to Jasper, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, McCaysville and beyond.

After several years of delays, the renovation is scheduled to begin later this year.

Photo by Mike Davis

To celebrate the expected beginning of restoration, the Marble Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society sponsored Tate Depot Days April 16-17, coinciding with Jasper ArtFest.

Chapter members provided historical photos, summaries of the depot’s 95-year history, and a portion of the 21-foot model train layout that will sit in one of the depot waiting rooms when restoration is complete.

Detailed architectural drawings were posted showing what the depot will look like when it’s moved across Hwy. 53 and restored.

Pickens County holds title to the depot and is fronting money for the restoration which will be paid for by two transportation enhancement grants, each a reimbursement of $400,000 from the federal Department of Transportation.

The transportation enhancement program currently grants more than $35 billion annually for historic preservation, rehabilitation, and operation of historic transportation structures and other projects that improve the cultural, historic, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the U.S. transportation infrastructure.

Bidding process to choose a contractor will begin in August, with a possible move by the end of the year.

Visionary Gardens is growing

Photo by Collin Aaronson

The Sharptop Arts Association is undergoing construction to develop their multi-textural addition to the art center: The Visionary Garden.

This outdoor extravaganza will host a menagerie of creative exhibits constructed by various Sharptop-contributing organizations throughout Pickens County.

Construction is being provided by volunteers guided by the association’s Board of Directors.  Some of the efforts this winter include:

  • Royce Haley delivered the patio bistro sets and the two benches for the front
  • The Sutter sculpture was placed on a marble & positioned at the corner
  • Home Excursions progressed on their vista with a great bed of river rock
  • The GreyOak macho men installed their arbor built by Ron Barnes
  • More Legacy bricks and Vista markers have been ordered
  • Hand railings for steps built by Cagletown welding
  • Telephone poles delivered for support on seating
  • Jay & Susan Wright hauled in lava rock that has been donated.

Additional support is always welcome.

The garden will be expanded to include artistic classes that are open to visitors as well as the presence of special events and even personal visitations that add to the mountain artistic experience – both subtle and majestic.

The association hopes to capture the essence of an outdoor garden while Continue reading

Let the wild rumpus begin!

C'mon Mom, it's fun!

Jasper ArtFest is HERE!

Starting tonight, downtown Jasper is firing up for a full weekend of events – and it’s all about YOU.

You can cut a record or win a painting… You can feed your face or beautify your face… You can run, dance, or chalk on the street… You can weave a basket or wave at the camera…

It’s all there, all weekend, in downtown Jasper – and Main Street will be blocked off, so come early so you don’t miss anything!

Chris Smith birdhouse, Finding Nemo

Festivities start TONIGHT with the Feathered Event: Friday April 15, 5 to 9 pm, Burnt Mountain Trading Company at 14 Mark Whitfield Street: Eat, sing, and get a fabulously creative birdhouse!

This festive fundraiser for Sharptop Arts Association will support Visionary Gardens at the center. Tickets are $10.

The first-ever Jasper ArtFest starts Saturday morning with the FlapJack run sponsored by the Jasper Optimist Club. Eat a pancake breakfast hosted by 61 Main (which is actually at 49 S. Main) – AFTER you run that 5k!

Registration starts at 8 am. (Those of you who are not quite ready to run can just watch the race and then stuff your face).

Janet Smith pottery: Just one of the great artists exhibiting at Jasper ArtFest

Official start of the ArtFest is 10 am, and you can check out dozens of arts and crafts booths! Fifty local and regional artists will show and sell their work. Sample the who’s who by clicking here.

Handcrafted goods by 4M Leather Design

A group of local artists are donating their work to be included in a raffle, too.  There will be several items on the board, and you do not have to be present to win. Tickets will be on sale at the ArtFest Committee Booth.

On Sunday, Sharptop will hold a reception for local high school artists, whose exhibit was there this month. Come from 1:30 to 3:30 pm and support young talent.

A parade of Model A’s will purr into the south end of Jasper at 11 am for the classic car show. And Sunday, trucks will roar into that same space!

Get a lick on Pickens County by tasting local foods from the eight-vendor Food Court, too.

Hans Rueffert knows drama in food

Saturday, local celebrity from the Food Channel Hans Rueffert will be staging a Biergarten at his Woodbridge Inn Restaurant. The menu will feature traditional German food that is portable along with an assortment of beers.

For wine-lovers who prefer country to city: the local Preserve at Sharp Mountain is holding an open house on Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm – you can tour the community and then finish with a glass of wine at the Sharp Mountain Vineyards.

Be on the lookout for a special surprise from Tater Patch Players…. we won’t say where or when!

Don’t miss the local businesses in those lovely old buildings just behind the booths on Main Street. They’ll have goods for sale, street-fair style, so check them out.

Other activities – sponsored by PACA – include weaving the world’s largest kudzu basket (trying to, anyhow), chalking up the street with sanctioned graffiti art, getting your face painted by an artist, and making up a cedar sachet to protect wool clothes…. and that is not all of it, but you’ll just have to come and see for yourself.

If you’re more of a singer than a looker, be sure to stop at the booth for Jasper Muse. They’ll have a portable studio set up, where you can record yourself performing (with real musicians, if you like).

Artist Robin Tundra : Crazy Dog Art

For those whose friends bark rather than hum, there’s Dog Day in the Park at Lee Newton Park, 10 am to 3 pm Saturday. From low-cost rabies shots to a show-off contest, there’s something for all dog lovers – and it’s all to support the Pickens County Anti-Drug Coalition.

Photo by Lisa Schnellinger

For train lovers and history buffs – do NOT miss the two-day open house at Tate Station, Highway 53. It’s the first time the public will have access to the station in 62 years!

You can run your hands across that century-old wood and get a good look before the station moves across the street. Local photographers will also sell postcards and prints of the station to help raise money for that project.

And finally – tell us about your experience! This is the first ArtFest, and we want to learn what to do next year.

Talk to the PACA volunteers, and look for our roving videographers and photographers who will be reporting LIVE from the festival all weekend long.

You can also send us your thoughts – use the Contact form on this site, or email your own photos, videos and audio.

See you there!

View Jasper ArtFest WEEKEND in a larger map

iPhone gives Georgia history tours


Let’s say you’re standing in the ticket master’s office at the Tate depot.

Why are you standing in the ticket master’s office of a station that’s been closed to the public for 62 years?

You’re celebrating Tate Depot Days–April 16-17.


So your depot visit triggers a question…How would I find other close-by historic places to visit?

The answer: Use your iPhone.

A new iPhone application pinpoints 2,600 Georgia historical markers, allowing users to see details, photos, and marker text, as well as get directions from their current location to the markers.

The application is the newest addition to the Georgia Historical Society’s (GHS) interactive Continue reading

Tate Station gets moving again

Photo: Lisa Schnellinger

After years of delay, the Tate Depot project is finally chugging along again.

At a county meeting today (Friday), officials estimated that the building will be moved across the street in late October.

Pickens County took title to the historic station in January. The county is doing site work on the donated seven-acre parcel across Highway 53 where the station will be moved.

The depot eventually will house a railroad and marble museum – including the Georgia Marble archives – a multipurpose room, and a gift shop.

Organizers, with the Marble Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, plan to have a fundraising reception April 16 in conjunction with Jasper ArtFest.

It will be the first time in 62 years that the station will welcome the public – the last passenger trains left the station on Feb. 28, 1949. The station was subsequently used for freight trains.

Photo: Lisa Schnellinger

The Federal Highway Administration awarded $800,000 in grants for the project since it began in 2005, but bureaucratic delays in the Georgia Department of Transportation kept it from actually getting off the ground.

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