Trey and I drove back from Virginia to Georgia yesterday and had planned to visit Hart State Park. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate so we didn’t visit any of the parks along the GA/SC state line. We did swing by Robert Toombs Historic Site on the way home since it would get us out of the rain.
This historic site really reflected the budget cuts our state is facing. They bumped admission up from $3 to $4 and don’t run the heat in most of the building. When Trey and I arrived the two staff were upstairs trying to prevent a leak in the roof from damaging the furniture and antiques. It’s a shame to see these places and buildings that hold so much history have to struggle to stay open. At the same time, I understand how the state government has to choose to direct funds to more pressing issues.
An interesting side note – this is the first State Park/Site where I have been asked not to take photos. I’m not sure why, maybe the ranger thought my flash would damage the antiques?
Robert Toombs (who actually just went by “Bob”) has a fascinating history that I could write a book about (several have). However, I’ll just list a couple highlights that we learned during our tour of his home today:
- He was kicked out of Franklin College (now UGA) for threatening to shoot two students
- He became an attorney and passed the GA bar exam at the age of 20
- As a State Senator he voted for the US to purchase Cuba from Spain (imagine how that would have changed the world today!)
- He served as Secretary of State for the Confederacy for only 5 months before he resigned because of differences of opinion with Jefferson Davis
- He was then a brigadier general for the Confederacy but resigned in early 1863 after being denied a promotion. That move probably saved his life as he would have fought at Gettysburg a few months later.
- After the Civil War and a few years of self-exile, he returned and was pardoned but refused to pledge allegiance to the United States and never regained citizenship.
- His biggest achievement was leading the GA constitutional convention in 1877. The constitution he helped pass was not amended until 1945.