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By Lynn Bowman

  Reasons #1, 5, and 7.  Visitors can see the scales from the Allen Theater, a trophy belonging to John Henry Maddox, and a miniature saddle created by the Buford Saddle Mfg. Co.  Photo courtesy Museum of Buford.
Reasons #1, 5, and 7.  Visitors can see the scales from the Allen Theater, a trophy belonging to John Henry Maddox, and a miniature saddle created by the Buford Saddle Mfg. Co.  Photo courtesy Museum of Buford.

With the time off I have had due to the four-part series we just completed, I have gotten behind in celebrating the small victories for the Museum.  I thought I could lump the last few months together and tell you about the NEW finds for community enjoyment.

  1. My second favorite arrival is the original set of scales that once stood outside the Allen Theater on Main Street.  Manufactured by Watling Scale Company of Chicago, this Art Deco fashioned sculpture teases those who pass by with bold graphics:  “HOW MUCH DO YOU WEIGH?” and “Over 200 Different Dreams…Quiz Questions…Fortunes” while boasting “NO Springs.” In its original paint, although faded and rusty, one can still see the red and cream color scheme topped with a mirror surrounded by a once-polished aluminum frame. Harry Blankenship collected, saved, and provided this forever-thought-lost relic for community enjoyment.

  2. Another artifact I obtained from Harry is a New Old Stock (NOS) sign from Wheeler’s Auto Service & Wrecking Co.  He had both the one used on the building and this one that was still wrapped in paper and never used for whatever reason.  When I first saw it, I thought it was a modern “replica” sign made to look like an old one.  After closer examination, I realized it was perfect because it never saw the light of day for 60 plus years.  Pam Pealock verified the sign was from Wheeler’s by talking with Pat Wheeler, her close friend.  She added they did not use “Wheeler” but began the company name with “Auto” so in the yellow page listings it would be first rather than at the end.

  3. While I am talking about Harry, I need to just go ahead and mention that he and his wife, Gail Buice Blankenship donated the volunteer fire department helmet that Rudolph Wheeler wore during his service to the community.

  4. I came in one Thursday and found a large gift bag with a roll of paper materials from the mid-1970’s into the 2000’s without explanation or origin.  As I looked through the collection, I tried to figure out the common denominator with the archive in order to know which family had donated the grouping.  There were about 40 calendars of all kinds imprinted by Buford based businesses; and of that group, nearly 10 were Lion’s Club Community Calendars from all years.  There were newspaper articles of school events, local interest, and individuals from Buford.  If you had something to do with the collection, please contact me so I can record the proper credit to you and your family.

  5. John Henry Maddox…John Henry Maddox…John Henry Maddox – We have a superb collection of the local racing legend.  Tracy Maddox decided that the Museum would be the perfect place to donate a part of his father’s extensive racing career collection.  We now have several championship trophies, original photographs, and the family scrapbook chocked full of original racing articles, team pictures, etc.   In the 1968 season, there was a bounty out for “Little John” for anyone who could beat him in the upcoming race.  That year he had 58 victories out of 81 starts!

  6. I am proud to say that the 1978 State Football Championship Display has been a successful group effort of many, and of ONE.  Perry Pealock has spearheaded this attraction, looking to his classmates to share their memories and artifacts for the community at large.  A few of the highlights are the incredible scrapbook donated by Tommy Roley including many original photographs taken by Kirk Duckworth, along with a loan of his actual game-played helmet.  Bob Parris loaned his letterman’s jacket, complete with the state championship patch, and several years’ earlier accomplishments. Sharon Tutterow donated her Captain’s Cheerleading sweater, including many game programs, and a steel license plate featuring the wolf used at that time.  Ken Wilson donated Roley’s tear-away jersey that he picked up after the game under the bench along the sideline. Jimmy Maddox, Robbie Samples, Scott Dowdy, and Rex Martin all contributed to the display. More is coming, and thank you to those who have shared.

  7. A superb gem came to the Museum just recently from donor Garland Roberts.  He was one of the owners of the Buford Saddle Mfg. Co., Inc. (sometimes referred to as Buford Saddlery), founded in the early 1970’s to employee displaced Bona Allen workers once the Tandy Corporation relocated the saddle division to Texas.  For many years, hand-crafted, quality saddles continued to be made here by the artisans with their countless years of experience.  Garland presented the museum with a miniature leather saddle carved by Mrs. Travis Brown around 1974, working out of the old Bailey’s cabinet shop at 15 Stanley Street, Sugar Hill.  The business was later purchased by the Orville Leather Company, headquartered in Orville, Ohio. They moved the operation to the Lumite plant and continued operations for a number of years, employing as many as 39.  

  8. Jennifer and Gary Bagley donated a child’s hand-carved leather gun holster that belonged to John Bagley as a young boy.  These Bona Allen-made toys were common in that day but are rare as hen’s teeth today.  Due to excessive play wear, these pieces never survive. They were not marked, so unless you are familiar with the design intricacies, you would never know it came from The Leather City.

  9. I recently purchased at a local auction a large advertising sign once displayed on the Moss Equipment building located at the corner of Buford Highway and South Lee Street, now where the CVS stands.  It is one of those items that is almost too large to display in our suite in the community center. The rusted red sign with faded white lettering states, “MOSS EQUIPMENT COMPANY, YOUR COMPLETE FARM MACHINERY LINE, Buford, Georgia.”  I realize that many of the younger readers and many of those who have moved into Buford in only the last few years are thinking, “Farm machinery…what?  Here in Buford?!”

  10. Of course, I am saving my personal favorite donation for last.  Several months ago, Pat Pirkle called me to come and get a collection that I have envied for years.  Her late husband Dan was a consummate collector of family documents and photos. And since his family was one of Buford’s earliest and most entrenched staples, the archive was incredible.  I really hope to devote an entire segment to the collection and how it benefits the community as a whole. But just to touch on it briefly, it contains several family members’ photo collections entrusted to Dan as their history patron.  Also included are documents dating back to the 1880’s from his family’s connection to businesses they had at the very onset of Buford. If you look in Handsel’s Historic Buford book, you will see the earliest known copies to exist of many documents that we now have in our permanent collection, all due to the combined efforts of the Pirkle family.  I honestly have not been able to catalog the collection yet because it is too vast and time consuming for my limited hours here in the Museum.

As you can see, there are several NEW reasons each of you should come and visit the Museum.  Our hours are still the same, Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. We hope to see you soon!

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