Is Abbeville's City Hall Unique for Housing an Opera House?

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I'm in Atlanta again, one year after my most recent visit. Same annual stamp show and hotel, in the northeast suburbs. I made a couple of brief stops on my way here yesterday. First was in Abbeville SC's historic downtown district.


At the southeast corner of the square, beyond the right edge of the pic above, is a pair of government buildings from 1908, designed by the same architects: the Abbeville County Courthouse on the left, and the Abbeville Municipal Building (city hall) on the right.


How many city halls contain an opera house?


The idea was to snag some of the vaudeville shows and other performers who passed through Abbeville on their way between New York and Atlanta on the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. It apparently worked, although I haven't seen any references to "real" (classical) opera here. The theater was restored in recent decades, and still hosts performances. And the building still houses offices for the mayor and city manager, and the city council chambers.

Across the street to the right of the Opera House is the historic Belmont Inn, built in 1903.


My wife and I stayed here one night, about 35 years ago. The college where we taught had a planning retreat here, which she had to attend because she was on some important committee, or maybe just as a department chair. I got to go along as her spouse.

There are stories about ghosts at the inn, and it features on "ghost tours" of Abbeville. We didn't see any. :frown:

London has Big Ben. Abbeville has Big Bob.

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Hope you and your wife have a good stay. Each of your pictures contains some pairs of objects. All look symmetrical and very nice. :heart:
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There are stories about ghosts at the inn, and it features on "ghost tours" of Abbeville. We didn't see any. :frown:
You've brought a smile to my face. If on this side of the pond I manage to steal the British Guiana 1c magenta, it's yours, ha!
Best wishes!
  • #4
My other stop on Friday was in Colbert GA, a dot on the map. Like Abbeville, it's on the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad.


The old train station was apparently the city hall until recently.


On the other side of the station is a small park with a caboose and fire engine.



The caboose carries the markings of the Seaboard Coast Line, which was formed by merging the SAL and the Atlantic Coast Line in 1967. The SCL in turn merged with the other railroads shown in the logo at the right end of the caboose, in 1982 to form the Seaboard System, which was renamed CSX Transportation in 1986. (Railroad corporate genealogy tends to be messy. ?:) )

I showed you all a much larger ex-SAL station in Hamlet NC on one of my trips last summer. The map in that post shows Abbeville, near the lower left corner, but doesn't go far enough west to show Colbert.
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Yesterday and today (Saturday and Sunday) I went to the stamp show that was my excuse for this trip. This is a major regional show with not only dealers, but also exhibits competing for medals and the right to compete in the American Philatelic Society's big annual show in August. So I spent a lot of time looking at the exhibits.

One exhibit was about mail carried by railroads in Georgia. Here's the earliest known letter carried by rail in the state:


At upper left is "Ga. Rail Road / May 28". The year must be in the text of the letter.

There are apparently no known examples of Georgia railroad mail from 1861-65 (the Civil War period), although the Confederate government did issue contracts to Georgia railroads for carrying mail. This one is with the Atlanta & West Point RR in 1863:


Moving ahead to air mail, here's the famous 24c airmail stamp of 1918 with inverted center:


You've probably read about the German airship Hindenburg that caught fire after arriving in New Jersey in 1937. Here's some mail that was supposed to be carried on its return flight, but instead went via normal airplanes:


Charred mail salvaged from the inbound flight also exists, and appears occasionally in exhibits, but not this time.

Topical stamps related to Walt Disney's characters and productions are popular. This show had an exhibit devoted to Scrooge McDuck, including a set of stamps issued by Guyana that reproduces the entire comic book in which Scrooge first appeared in 1947:



The Disney cartoonist who created Scrooge was Carl Barks. He lived to age 99, the year after these stamps appeared (1998).
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jtbell said:
Charred mail salvaged from the inbound [Hindenburg] flight also exists, and appears occasionally in exhibits
This site illustrates a number of these items.
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Today I went into Atlanta to visit the zoo:




These are the last pandas in the US. The Chinese government has been letting its contracts with US zoos expire, and repatriating their pandas. Even the ones at the National Zoo in Washington DC have gone home. Atlanta's pandas will also leave, sometime this year.
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I drove home yesterday, and stopped for lunch in Helen, in the foothills of the Appalachians in northeast Georgia.






Helen actually was not founded by Germans. In 1969, three local businessmen brainstormed over lunch about what could be done to spruce up the town's tired old buildings and attract some of the tourists who drive through on their way up into the mountains. One of them knew an artist from his church in a nearby town, whom they invited to make suggestions.

As the artist walked around making sketches, the town's surroundings reminded him of Bavaria, where he had been stationed with the US Army in the 1950s. And so the town adopted the image of a Bavarian village!


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How much that meal? I'd bet not less than six euros. And I'd happily pay and enjoy it.
Best wishes!
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It was rather more than I usually pay for lunch. About $35 including tip (gratuity).

Also, visitors to Helen have to pay $10 in one of the public parking-lots behind the businesses on Main Street. Unless they're staying in one of the nearby hotels, and walking from there.

But I didn't mind, for a one-off visit.

On the outskirts of town, there are shops and businesses with their own free parking, but only for their customers.

My wife and I also visited here long ago for a college planning retreat, a few years after the one in Abbeville. We all stayed at a lodge in a state park near Helen, and had our official meetings there. In the evening, some of us drove into Helen for dinner, not at the same restaurant that I used on this trip.

After dinner, my wife met with some colleagues at the restaurant, and I walked around town a bit.

At that time, there were trash cans painted up as cartoon-style German kids in lederhosen, like Hans and Fritz in the old Katzenjammer Kids cartoons. On a bulletin board in front of the city hall, I read the minutes of a city council meeting, at which it was noted that the "Fritz cans" needed to be washed.

I didn't see any "Fritz cans" on this visit. Maybe there aren't enough visitors this time of year to make trash a problem.
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