*This was my first column for "About Covington to Madison" that came out in early 2009.
Hey there. My name is Marshall and I hope this column finds you well. Keeping in line with this magazine being a publication for Newton, Walton, Morgan, and the surrounding counties, this column will cover many things about the east metro Atlanta area including history, trivia, interesting places (and people), and just about anything else really. So, let’s start the journey…
Based on the title of this column, I can hear some people saying, “Salem? Isn’t that a road”. Yes it is, but for over hundred years it has been a community. Never an incorporated town, but like so many other little hamlets in Newton county, it has been a vital part of people’s lives. Salem originated from the Salem Campgrounds which has hosted the Salem Camp Meeting every year since 1828 (with the exception of the Civil War years) making it one of the South’s oldest camp meetings.
As you wind your way east from the western part of Newton towards the center you will hit Covington, the county seat. Referred to as “C-town” by a lot of the younger residents of the city (myself included), Covington’s town square has been considered one of the prettiest in the state. The historic courthouse has been immortalized by many movies and television shows over the years, particularly the long-running show—“In the Heat of the Night.” Covington was originally called Newtonsboro but was later changed in favor of the last name of General Leonard Covington, a war hero of the War of 1812. Covington’s history is rich and varied. There was a time in the 1880's when several saloons were on the Covington square and the city was considered somewhat of a “boomtown”. If you ride east from the Square on Floyd Street, you will ride by some of the prettiest Antebellum homes you’ll ever likely see.
If you took Floyd Street to Hwy 278 and went east you would eventually find yourself in Rutledge, Ga. A beautiful little city, it is one of Morgan County’s four incorporated towns. And at around 700 people, it is actually Morgan’s 2nd biggest city! Rutledge is right next door to Hard Labor Creek State Park. One of the prettiest places in all of Georgia, this state park features great fishing at Lake Rutledge and is also home to one of the most beautiful golf courses I’ve ever played.
If you head north from the state park on Fairplay Rd you will pass through the community of Fairplay. After the third 4-way stop, be prepared for a glorious and serene sight as you pass through a valley just south of Bostwick, GA. Bostwick, one of the coolest little towns in Georgia in my estimation, is home to the Susie Agnes Hotel which is on the National Historic Register. They also have a yearly Cotton Gin Festival every Fall. Bostwick was founded in 1902 as a cotton town with a John Bostwick as mayor. In 2009, Bostwick is a cotton town with a John Bostwick as mayor. Pretty neat!
If you jump on GA 83 and head south you will eventually arrive in Madison, GA. Named for America’s third president, Madison is known as “The town Sherman refused to Burn.” It has also been named “The Prettiest Small Town in America.” It is truly that, and will have its own write up in a later column.
If you jump on I-20 and head east for a bit you will arrive in Buckhead, GA. Known as the “real” Buckhead, it is the smallest incorporated town in Morgan Co. with approx. 200 residents. Surrounded by beauty, this little town just gives you a special feeling. Originally settled in 1805 but not fully incorporated until 1908, it predates all other cities in Morgan Co. Recently, it has become home to a major musical festival.
Well, that’s it for this month. Hope you enjoyed it. Next time we will backtrack a bit and cover the towns of Newborn and Mansfield in Newton County, Social Circle, and will get a little more in the history of famous people in this area