Digging up bones
By Michael Butler
He heard it on the radio. Tallassee School Board member Rex Ledbetter was listening to the “History of Tallassee” on WTLS. The topic was Tallassee’s mill village, where Ledbetter now resides.
“I want to find out if my home is one of the original homes built in the 1800s,” Ledbetter says to Bill Goss inside the Tallassee Falls Museum.
Goss, who serves as the curator at the museum, is also the host of the weekly radio show. The source for retrieving information regarding Tallassee culture is Tallassee’s historian. He volunteers much of his time researching such queries.
Ledbetter thumbs through a book dated 1950 on display in the museum that lists property owners from the time period. One plat on Central dates back to 1846. Ledbetter wonders if the homestead is the same that he now owns.
“It might be that my house is one of the three shotgun houses used by a principal and two teachers,” Ledbetter notes.
Tallassee’s oldest home standing is the 1845 Patterson Log Cabin.
Goss pulls out a folder full of deeds that he rescued from the garbage like much of the historical data he has collected.
The paperwork indicates that the home was purchased from the mill by James “Red” McQueen in 1951 for $3,500 with a down payment of $350. When the note was paid off in 1963, McQueen had paid $6,038.91 with interest. Ledbetter bought the lot from McQueen in 1989.
So, when was the home built? Documents indicate that Ledbetter’s house was built in 1905. Many homes in East Tallassee were built in the early 1900s.
What about the 1846 house? “It’s been rebuilt,” said Goss. Based on the surveys, the home was likely located near the current location of the East Tallassee Baptist Church.
Got questions about early Tallassee history, Bill’s got answers. You can visit him at the Tallassee Falls Museum on Barnett Boulevard downtown on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. His radio program is from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays on 1300 WTLS/106.5 FM. Watch on Tallassee Times TV: www.tallasseetv.com.