Group looking to collect information about historic downtown buildings

A group at the Rockmart Historical Museum are in a race to document and record what they can of the different eras of buildings in the downtown area.

Pat Sampson, Director of the Rockmart Historical Museum, is working with several others to gather together information about the past and present of buildings on North and South Marble Streets, and East and West Elm Streets.

“We’ve talked about it for some time, and we’ve made a start on it,” Sampson said. “But our goal is to document and go as far back as we can to figure out what has been in each building.”

Take the museum as a good case in point.

When it was first built in 1921, it was originally home to Rockmart’s City Hall. Then over time it took on the role of the Magistrate Court, and then Rockmart Police and Fire Departments before it was renovated and turned into the museum, as well as the offices for the Polk County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Polk County.

“Many of our downtown building have enjoyed many lives,” she said. “We’re hoping that we can go back and determine what each building started out as, and then go forward through time from there.”

Already some of the documentary work is underway as she and a group of volunteers go through records. However what they need the most is the memories people have kept from the past.

The group is gathering again on Oct. 16 for a 10:30 a.m. meeting at the Rockmart History Museum, and are asking for local residents who are willing to participate and can provide oral histories of what was in each building in historic downtown.

They’ll also be looking to have time set aside during the forthcoming Riverwalk Festival on Oct. 20 as well.

“Our hope is to save as much as we can before memories and photographs disappear,” Sampson said. “You don’t know what was here or there from one decade to another, and trust me time just races away from you.”

Organizers specifically are hoping for photographs they can scan and house in a digital and hardcopy collection for future research purposes, and to share with people during the Riverwalk Festival.

Those who want to learn more about how to help can get in touch with Sampson at the museum by calling 678-764-5201.

Anyone who wants to visit the museum can do so from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.