Monday, April 4, 2016

Forsyth County's Proud Poultry Industry History on Display at Hampton Park Library

Forsyth County’s success in the poultry industry began back in the1940s. Now library patrons and community visitors can learn about this important part of the county’s economic growth through two large photo collages at the Hampton Park Library.

Two photo collages created by Bryan White
now hang in the lobby of the Hampton Park Library.
“During the 1940s and 1950s, the poultry industry reshaped our local economy, growing both national and local businesses, as well as providing stable employment for residents,” says Ross Gericke, Branch Manager.

The individuals and businesses depicted in the exhibit were instrumental in expanding Forsyth’s first major industry and preparing the foundation for the steady growth Forsyth County is continuing to experience today.

Several of those businesses still operate in the county and provided financial support for the project, including American Proteins, Inc., Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc. The project was also supported by a grant from the Forsyth County Arts Alliance Fund at the North Georgia Community Foundation.

A close-up view of the collage featuring the Georgia
delegation to the 1957 American Poultry and
Hatchery Foundation Convention.
Local photographer and artist Bryan White of Whitelake Studios combined period photographs, vintage receipts and letterhead, and his own original work to create the collages. 

For over a year, long-time Forsyth residents Patsy Bennett, Paula Gault, Judi Jenkins, and Mary Helen McGruder worked closely with the artist and library staff to provide the history, context, and images that are reflected in the collages. They worked with numerous other families in the community to gain access to treasured family photographs and documents. 

Former library staff member Carla Beasley also consulted with the Historical Society of Forsyth County to identify relevant images for the display.

The new collages are similar in style to the pieces White created in 2015 depicting the history of Forsyth’s medical professionals and facilities on display at the Cumming Library. 

Several images, including a magazine article, blend
together in the second collage by
Bryan White at the Hampton Park Library.
“As you drive through north Forsyth, you can still see signs and outbuildings from the historic farms, as well as some that are still operating. It’s nice to have this artwork on display at the Hampton Park Library and close to the industry it represents,” adds Gericke.

Long-time Forsyth County residents are sure to recognize a few landmarks in the collages, such as a sign for A.C. Smith Poultry that is still visible on GA 9 in the Silver City community. 

Viewers may also recognize names, such as Leland Bagwell, founder of North Georgia Rendering, or faces such as those featured in pictures from the Georgia Poultry Princess parade and the 1957 American Poultry and Hatchery Federation Convention.

This section of the collage shows the inside operation
of a chicken house. Leland Bagwell, founder of North
 Georgia Rendering, is pictured in the right corner.
“The library is honored to have another piece of our community’s history on display,” says Library Director Anna Lyle. “We are grateful to our partners for supporting this project and we hope the exhibit inspires our patrons and visitors to learn more about our local history.”

For more information, or to view the exhibit, please visit the Hampton Park Library at 5345 Settingdown Road in Cumming.