Hills of Iron, heritage program on tap Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
Mar 13, 2013 | 820 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Saturday, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites’ Cartersville venues will invite patrons to rediscover the past.

From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Red Top Mountain State Park — 50 Lodge Road — will host the Hills of Iron, which will celebrate the area’s once-heralded iron industry. Located at the Iron Hill Trail parking lot, hayrides will depart every half hour from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to the Allatoona ore bank.

“We’re going to take people into an open cut mine, which is different than what a lot of people think of when they think of a mine,” said Marcus Toft, park naturalist at Red Top. “For most people, I think, they hear about a mine and they think of a tunnel or a hole in the ground. But we have an open cut mine. So it’s more like they just cut right into the earth.

“So it’s something we can walk into. If you’re in it, you don’t even necessarily know it’s a mine. It just looks maybe [like] a little valley. So once we’re in there, we’re going to talk about how they excavated that type of mine, what they were looking for, what types of ores and also what they used to make with those ores.”

Operating from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century, the open cut mine excavated iron ore, mostly to be turned into houseware items like cast iron skillets.

“We [also will] talk about the means of production — how they were transporting this ore,” Toft said. “So we try to get our visitors to look back in time, in a sense, to before the lake was there, [which is] something that many people don’t quite realize, that the lake hasn’t always been there, and how that has changed the landscape.

“So [we want people] to look back in time and see how things were different and how they would have had to transport things and get the raw materials to where it needed to go to be processed.”

Along with living-history demonstrations at the Vaughan Log Cabin and blacksmith shop and an iron industry exhibit in the Park Office throughout the event, another highlight will be an iron pour starting at 6 p.m. After firing up Red Top’s furnace, iron pieces will be melted to form designs created by the public.

Beginning at 2 p.m., participants will be able to purchase scratch block molds behind the Park Office for $8 or $15 each, depending on the size. Interested patrons are encouraged to purchase their molds early due to a limited supply of materials. Proceeds will go toward the Friends of Red Top Mountain State Park. There also will be a silent auction featuring a cast iron skillet, forged at Red Top’s November Iron Pour, starting at 8 p.m. at the Park Office.

For more information, call 770-975-0055 or visit www.gastateparks.org. To attend the free event, individuals will need to have an annual pass or purchase a $5 daily ParkPass.

At the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, area residents are encouraged to attend the Georgia’s Native American Heritage event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We want them to know the influence and history the Native Americans had and what kind of cultural lifestyle they had before the Europeans came in and how some of that was changed,” said Steve Hadley, resource manager II for Georgia State Parks & Historic Site.

Following a 10 a.m. heritage workshop, the offering will feature a tools and weapons demonstration at 11 a.m.; kids games at noon; a lecture on the state’s American Indian heritage by Max White, professor of history at Piedmont College, at 1 p.m.; and a guided tour of the venue at 2:30 p.m.

“The heritage workshop is something we haven’t done before,” Hadley said. “[Through this program,] you can learn what an ancestor is, how to explore your own heritage and then maybe discover some relatives that you never knew that maybe turn out to be Native American.”

While attending the event, patrons are invited to tour the 54-acre venue where several thousand American Indians lived from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1550. Regarded as the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, the Etowah Indian Mounds — 813 Indian Mounds Road, S.W. — features six earthen mounds, a village area, a plaza, borrow pits and defensive ditch. Along with examining artifacts in the museum, another notable feature at the site includes a replica of a wattle-and-daub house.

Admission will be $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for senior adults and $4 for youth. For more information about the Etowah Indian Mounds, which is open Wednesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., call 770-387-3747.