TIM CHITWOOD: An upscale 1800s village on the move

August 25, 2013 

The sun is await at the ponderous gate of the West, and it's Monday Mail.

Lanierer to thee

Today's opening is from "The Marshes of Glynn" by Sidney Lanier, who lived 1842 to 1881. And speaking of the 1800s …

Go West, or not

Last week's Monday Mail message about the 19th century living history village Westville moving from Lumpkin to Columbus prompted some feedback. This is an email from Pam:

Tim,

First, I want to tell you that I try to always read your columns and most always learn something or at least see things in a new light. Today's letter from John concerning the moving of Westville from Lumpkin to Columbus was written from his heart, and I could really detect the pain those folks down in Lumpkin are feeling. I have felt pretty bad for them myself since this whole thing was made public. This is their history and they take much pride in Westville. A huge part of their community is being ripped away.

So, seeing their pain from that perspective and reading the impassioned letter from John, I feel that your flippant response to the letter was inappropriate and rather hurtful. I realize you were just trying to be humorous, but it wasn't the compassionate response I think he deserved.

Dear Pam:

Well, my response was supposed to be sort of ironically flippant, but anyway, it was intended to cover two points: The first is if we're going to have a concentration of early American history attractions, they need to play off each other and not struggle alone; the second is if John's claim was valid, then taking Westville out of context would be like shoveling the Singer-Moye Indian mounds into dump trucks, hauling the dirt here and piling it up at Oxbow Meadows.

On the bayou

Here's a posting from "BayouCharley":

Westville is a treasure … well … not exactly. It is a depreciating asset requiring a treasure to keep it intact. John's concern is valid, but ask, is its mission to preserve the 1850s past for our children to experience, or is it to provide Lumpkin with a tourist attraction? If it is the former, is it being done in its present location? Apparently not as they are looking for a better solution to ensure its preservation. If its purpose is the latter the question to ask is, can Lumpkin maintain and grow it? Apparently not. Without doing something they will not have it anyway. No one will have it. It will decline and decay. Is that what you want?

Dear Bayou:

Maybe Westville could prosper as a subdivision if it had a suburban name like "West Forest Glen."

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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