West Point Lake
Troup County may be best known for West Point Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers development that extends 35 miles along the Chattahoochee River. Beginning in 1965, West Point Dam and Lake were developed for flood control, hydroelectric power, fish and wildlife development and recreational use. A prime spot for fishing, skiing and relaxing, West Point Lake is the area’s most popular tourist attraction, bringing thousands of visitors to Troup County annually to enjoy the lake’s 26,000 aquatic acres in which to fish, boat and jet-ski and hundreds of miles of shoreline for camping and picnicking.
West Point Lake provides premier bass and game fishing and, with hybrid bass that often weigh in at the 10-pound range, is considered one of the best largemouth bass lakes in the country. Frequent fishing tournaments attract the Southeast’s best fishermen. Highland Marina Resort offers tournaments, fishing expeditions, and accommodations while Ron Savage Guide Service and Tommy
Mike Guide Service provide professional pointers when leading individuals or groups on adventurous fishing expeditions.
Nature lovers find West Point Lake a haven for enjoying wildlife. The area is a natural habitat for osprey, bald eagles, deer, bobcats and dozens of species of songbirds. There’s simply nothing quite as exhilarating as standing on the shores of West Point Lake and watching a bold and majestic bald eagle gliding over the rippling waters at sunset.
A wildlife management area at the lake’s northern end provides a haven for deer, dove, quail, turkey, wood ducks and other waterfowl, creating a honey-of-a-hunting spot for those with a Georgia Wildlife Management area stamp. Secure your permit and enjoy seasonal hunting and participating in special quota hunts. Other managed areas also provide unique hunting opportunities.
For more, visit westpointlake.com.
Hills & Dales Estate
The home of textile magnate Fuller Earle Callaway Sr., Hills & Dales Estate features a grand Italian villa amidst acres of rolling hills and dales, hence the name, and a formal boxwood garden, Ferrell Gardens, that dates back to 1832. Ultimately the home of Fuller Jr. and Alice Callaway, the estate beckons fans of fine architecture, gardens and flowering plants. The meticulously maintained gardens and estate home were opened to the public in 2004 and now serve as a popular tourist attraction for visitors and newcomers to LaGrange. Ample publicity has been given to Hills & Dales, which continues to grow in popularity. The estate has been featured in House & Garden Magazine, Southern Living, Georgia Magazine and Destinations Magazine.
For more, visit www.hillsanddales.org.
Explorations in Antiquity Center
Travel back to biblical times at the Explorations in Antiquity Center where full-scale archaeological replicas depict the Middle East as it was several thousand years ago. Outside exhibits are featured in three sections: Life of the Shepherd, Life of the Farmer and Life of the Village. Exhibits are painstakingly created to reflect life as it was in ancient times, from goat hair tents to a vineyard watchtower.
“The goal is to help people go back in time and place and find a meaningful experience in that,” says Jim Fleming, a noted biblical scholar and archeologist who dreamed for three decades of creating such a center and now serves as director of this not-for-profit endeavor. “We ask that you dig down into the past with us, and there you will find a storied earth.”
Authentic biblical meals welcome guests to enjoy foods common to the Middle East of years past. A museum shop offers books and aids on ancient history, archaeology, culture and geography, and Kid’s Digs invite children to discover buried “artifacts” as they learn the basics of archeology.
For more, visit www.explorationantiquity.net
Legacy Museum on Main and Troup County Archives
Legacy Museum on Main is dedicated to the history of LaGrange and Troup County and housed on the first floor of Troup County Archives at 136 Main Street. The Archives is located on the second floor of the building, which originally housed LaGrange National Bank, constructed in 1917 by Fuller E. Callaway, Sr.
Legacy Museum on Main boasts hundreds of unique items and artifacts relevant to the history of Troup County. The museum features a permanent gallery divided into sections including Indians and Early Setters, Transportation, Civil War, Industry, World War II and Recent History. Items in the permanent gallery include a plantation desk, heart pine spinning wheel, cotton basket and turning plow. A temporary gallery features rotating exhibits.
Local history and heritage are well documented at Troup County Archives, among Georgia’s most impressive Archives with one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind. In environmentally controlled rooms designed to preserve historical documents, the Archives houses local government records and manuscripts, a library of genealogical reference material, local and family histories, and microfilms of newspapers and census records. The Troup County Historical Society and Troup County Genealogical Society work with the Archives to secure historic records and relics of the past.
For more, visit www.trouparchives.org
Historic buildings grace LaGrange
At Troup County Archives, you can pick up a “Walking Tour” brochure and enjoy a stroll through LaGrange where antebellum homes stand as grand as they did before the Civil War. Produced by the Archives and Downtown LaGrange Development Authority, this informative piece features a map, photographs and narratives about the community’s various architectural gems, both residential and commercial.
Among the many impressive architectural sites is the Callaway Memorial Tower, built in 1929 in honor of textile magnate Fuller E. Callaway Sr. whose Callaway Mills employed thousands in Troup County and LaGrange. Located at the corner of Truitt and Fourth Avenue, the memorial clock tower is patterned after the Campanile of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy.
For more, visit www.trouparchives.org.
Chief among the historic buildings in LaGrange is Bellevue, the stately antebellum mansion home of Benjamin Harvey Hill, a Civil War-era Georgia lawyer, orator and statesman. Open to the public as a house museum, Bellevue is owned and maintained by the LaGrange Women’s Club, which works to preserve the charismatic charm of this historic dwelling.
Built in the early 1950s, Bellevue is considered one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in Georgia. Best known as the home of Senator Hill, Bellevue revels in its stateliness with magnificent chandeliers and wide porticoes reminiscent of the Civil War period when leading statesmen visited Sen. Hill here.
Located just a few blocks from downtown LaGrange, Bellevue was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 by the National Park Service and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more, visit www.cityoflagrange.com/businesses/bellevue.html
Steeped in tradition, Lafayette Square is the radius around which downtown life in LaGrange revolves. From the center of this charming town square, a bronze statue of Gen. Marquis de LaFayette graces a glistening fountain. Gen. LaFayette, the famous French statesman and general who assisted in the American Revolution under Commander George Washington, was an official guest of Georgia Gov. George Michael Troup in 1825, during which time he is said to have commented to the governor on the similarity between the Creek Indian lands in central west Georgia to his personal estate, called LaGrange, near Paris, France. When Troup County’s official county seat was carved out of the Indian territory three years later, LaGrange was chosen as its name.
The statue of Lafayette at the square’s center is perhaps the landmark with which LaGrange is most readily identified. On permanent loan from LaGrange College, the bronze statue was created in France and erected here in 1976 in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. City staff and local garden clubs maintain the lush grounds and seasonal flowers at Lafayette Square. A backdrop not only for scenic photography, but for various community events, Lafayette Square speaks to the unique charm and flavor of LaGrange and Troup County.
For more, visit www.trouparchives.org
LaGrange College’s Price Theater and Lamar Dodd Art Museum
LaGrange College is a community leader in providing cultural offerings to its students and the community as a whole. Outstanding creative productions sponsored by the college’s drama department are held each season at Price Theater, a lovely theater on the college campus. Next door, lectures, music recitals and rotating art exhibitions are held at Lamar Dodd Art Center, named for the nationally acclaimed Georgia artist who grew up in LaGrange and took his first formal art lessons at LaGrange College. Many of Dodd’s most impressive paintings are on permanent display within the center’s bi-level galleries. Additional gallery space is devoted to temporary and permanent exhibitions, along with student exhibits.
Other fine facilities where the performing arts are enjoyed include LaGrange College’s Callaway Auditorium, recently renovated to become an acoustically superior facility, and the Troup High School Fine Arts Building on the campus of Troup County Comprehensive High School, home to school and community functions.
For more, visit www.lagrange.edu/map/buildings/Price-Theatre.aspx and www.lagrange.edu/academics/art/lamar-dodd.htm
LaGrange Art Museum
Formed in 1963, the LaGrange Art Museum is housed in an 1892 building that once served as the Troup County Jail and later was home to the local newspaper. The handsome Victorian building was renovated in 1978 after the Callaway Foundation deeded the facility to the Art Museum. The museum houses four galleries, classrooms and an art resource center with ample room for rotating exhibits; about a dozen are hosted at the museum each year.
Featuring works from renowned to emerging artists, the museum never lacks in interesting pieces. In addition to sought-after exhibitions, the museum routinely showcases selections from its own permanent collection of more than 500 works of contemporary American art. The museum offers a range of community-based activities for children and adults. Gallery talks and workshops often spotlight artists whose work is on exhibit. Tuition classes offer opportunities for beginning to more advanced artists.
For more, visit www.lagrangeartmuseum
Confederate Cemetery and Horace King
The Confederate Cemetery in LaGrange is the final resting place of more than 300 soldiers from every state in the Confederacy. Nearby is buried a former slave who died not only free—but famous. Horace King is renowned throughout the Southeast for his incredible bridge-building prowess. King constructed more than 100 covered bridges in Georgia, Alabama and neighboring states, and many of the covered bridges still standing in Georgia are associated with him, having been built by him or one of his sons, also master bridge builders. The family also constructed fine homes and public buildings.
King was born into slavery in nearby Phenix City, Ala. His skills were honed by his master and good friend John Godwin who, in 1846, secured King’s freedom through the Alabama Legislature. King served two terms in the Alabama Legislature before moving to LaGrange in 1873. In recent years, a street in the area where his family settled was named for King and his son Marshall, another prolific bridge builder. The Kings were known for their tasteful use of the Town lattice truss design, which they incorporated into numerous bridges throughout the South. Horace King and his sons built at least four bridges crossing the Chattahoochee River in Troup County alone.
King died in 1885 and was buried near the Confederate Cemetery. His unmarked grave was discovered in 1978 and, since then, much has been done to honor his memory.
For more, visit www.trouparchives.org
West Point Depot Museum
The West Point Depot Museum is housed in a historic structure built in the mid-1800s as a freight depot for the Montgomery and West Point Railroad and the central stop between Atlanta and Montgomery. For decades, all passengers and freight were transferred from one train to another at West Point. Due to the high volume of railroad passenger traffic, hotels, shops and saloons prospered in West Point where many notable people, such as Jefferson Davis, stopped over when traveling.
The historic depot was vacated in 1992 when the Chattahoochee Valley Railroad was dissolved. In 1998, CSX donated the building and 1.6 acres of land to the City of West Point. The depot now serves as a community museum, welcome center and banquet hall suitable for visitors and family or corporate gatherings in a unique social setting. As it was more than a century and a half ago, the depot is again a hub of activity central to West Point’s community and character.
For more, visit www.westpointdepot.com
An official Civil War Discovery Trail site, Fort Tyler has been beautifully reconstructed at its original location, which was reclaimed after years of use as a city reservoir. The fort is located near downtown West Point and open during daylight hours with no admission fee.
Brigadier General R.C. Tyler, the last general killed during the Civil War, died while making a heroic last stand at the Battle of West Point, fought at Fort Tyler, a square earthwork built atop a high hill with its primary purpose being to defend the vital bridge over the Chattahoochee River. Armed with two field guns and a 32-pounder, the fort played a relatively minor role in the war until the spring of 1865 when Union Colonel Oscar H. LaGrange led a column against West Point and Fort Tyler. The attacks took place on April 16, 1865, an Easter Sunday. Although neither side knew it at the time, General Robert E. Lee had surrendered seven days earlier. Those killed at Fort Tyler are buried across the river at Fort Tyler Cemetery, also in West Point.
For more, visit www.forttyler.com
Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari
In the southernmost part of Troup County, Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari beckons visitors to take a ride on the wild side as they drive their own vehicles or ride a zebra-painted Safari bus or van through the 500-acre park at 1300 Oak Grove Road, about 20 minutes southeast of LaGrange. Reach out your car window and touch and feed the giraffes, camels, zebras, deer, bison and many more exotic animals that roam this wooded terrain. A walk-through section features monkeys and more, including alligators, wolves and bears. The Giraffe Grill offers lunch and dinner and a gift shop features unique items from around the world.
For more, visit www.animalsafari.com
Just beyond Troup County in neighboring Pine Mountain, Callaway Gardens has been a renowned tourist destination for almost 60 years. With 13,000 acres showcasing gardens, attractions, dining venues and accommodations, Callaway Gardens appeals to nature lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. Accommodations are offered at the Inn, cottages and villas situated throughout the Gardens. The Lodge and Spa at Callaway offers 150 luxury rooms, plus a full-service, 13,000-square-foot spa. Callaway Gardens is recognized nationally as a family-friendly vacation destination with a multitude of varied attractions including Day Butterfly Center, one of the largest indoor butterfly exhibits in the world; Sibley Horticultural Center featuring lovely indoor and outdoor gardens; and Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center with wildlife displays and gift shop.
Golf, tennis, fishing and swimming are favorite activities at Callaway Gardens where miles of bike trails, nature trails, fly fishing, skeet and trap shooting invite guests to enjoy outdoor fun. There’s miniature golf, paddle boats and the Chickadee Choo-Choo train ride at Robin Lake Beach where the Florida State University Flyin’ High Circus performs trapeze acts each summer. Wintertime welcomes guests to Fantasy in Lights, one of North America’s largest outdoor holiday lights displays.
For more, visit www.callawaygardens.com
Butts Mill Farm
Also in Harris County is Butts Mill Farm where you’ll find an assortment of farm animals and dozens of horses for riding pleasure. Along with farm fun, enjoy hearing about the history of the on-site grist mill, play miniature golf in one of the most attractive courses in the region, or duel it out with your buddies on the go-cart track. This rural wonder is a great place for picnics, whether it’s one you bring from home, or something their cooks whip up onsite.
For more, visit www.buttsmillfarm.com
Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site
In nearby Warm Springs in Meriwether County, The Little White House welcomes visitors to enjoy presidential lore at the Georgia cottage home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who first visited our state in search of relief from polio. The home where he enjoyed peaceful respite from the stresses of Washington politics remains just as it did the day he died here, April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait. Tour the cottage and view “The Unfinished Portrait” in the new FDR Museum.
For more, visit www.gastateparks.org/LittleWhite