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A stop along the way in Plains, GA

semi-overcast 90 °F


There are a couple of things I should mention about St. Augustine, our favorite stop-so far. The grand hotel that Henry Flagler built, called The Ponce De Leon operated until 1972 when it closed. The next year a new educational institution, called Flagler College, opened. It began as an all-girls school offering a 2 yr. degree. Later, it was expanded into a 4 yr. degree program and as a co-ed college. About 2,500 students live and attend classes in these splendorous surroundings. The second hotel mentioned previously, The Alcazar, is now the Lightner Museum which houses 4 floors of historical artifacts, etc. We had a lovely lunch there.

After leaving St. Augustine we headed north to Perry, GA, a stop short of Atlanta, and at a turning point to go NNW to Plains, GA. I particularly wanted to visit Jimmie Carter's hometown of Plains out of curiosity. Our stop was on a Sunday so there was not much activity. The Carter Presidential Center is housed in the old high school and is operated by the National Park Service. The Jimmie Carter story is an amazing one. This small town of about a thousand people, much like Abileen, Kansas where Ike was raised, nurtured this son of a peanut farmer. A couple of Carter's school teachers influenced him greatly. They instilled in their students that anything is possible in life. He, of course, went on to the US Naval Academy and became a naval officer. It was then that he met Rosalyn, a Plains girl, and they were married. In the meantime, his father had passed away and the farm was struggling to survive. Navy life, he decided, was not for him and after he fulfilled his obligation he and his new wife came back home to Plains to operate the peanut farm. Without financial means their first year was spent living in public housing while he struggled to get the farm back into production. While not politically motivated he felt a need to get into community affairs. He became a school board member, a local hospital board member, and members of several other organizations. Then, he ran for county legislator and won the election. Subsequently, he decided to run as a 'dark horse' candidate for State Senator. Not being a part of the political establishment, the election was rigged against him. Smelling foul play after losing, he called for a recount and with the help of an Atlanta News Reporter to keep things legitimate, the result was a win for Carter. The next stepping stone was the Governorship of Georgia, then his run for President of the US. Quite a story with humble beginnings.

Posted by dixter 06:41 Archived in USA Tagged ga plains

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