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Mayor walks locals into past with McDonough history


By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor  

  If someone is interest in learning about the history of McDonough, they will be hard pressed to find a local with better insight to the town’s background than Mayor Billy. During a 90-minute walk on Saturday, July 27, Copeland took over a dozen participants on a walk around the city, explaining the origins of buildings and the changes he’s seen over the years.

Mayor Billy Copeland (right) explains some of the history of Griffin Street to a group on his historic walk.                                   Photo by Alex Welch

  Starting at the McDonough Welcome Center, Copeland started by pointing out a few facts about the Square. He said the monument in the middle was first constructed in 1910, and the sidewalks have been there since 1932. He then took the group down Griffin Street, pointing at the house he and his father were born in.

  The walk worked its way down Bryan Street, Sloan Street and Hampton Street. Copeland, a lifelong resident of McDonough, proved to know hundreds of intricate details about, seemingly, every location along the way.

  Connie Elrod, who has six generations of family in Henry County and McDonough, said that despite living in McDonough for many years, she’s never had the chance to go on the walk.

  “I’ve known Billy all my life, but this is the first time I’ve done it. It’s great,” said Elrod. “And even though I grew up here, I’ve learned so much I didn’t know from the stories he was telling.”

  Copeland said he used to offer these walks regularly, and he started it as a combination of exercising and historical thinking. He said he used to go 33 miles in 10 days. After a period where he stopped holding the walks, multiple McDonough residents have come to him asking him to bring the program back.

  “I had a number of people over the last few months that have been asking about it. So many people have asked me, ‘Would you consider doing that again?’” said Copeland. “So I just decided to invite people. There’s a lot of great history here.”

  Sharon Davidson, who just moved to McDonough over a year ago, said she wanted to learn more about the town.

  “I love the town. This walk is nice, it gives you a nice insight into the city and the people that formed it. For a writer, I’m hoping that I will get some inspiration for some stories,” said Davidson.

  Copeland said he plans on going on the walk two more times in the future. Those dates are set for Aug. 10 and 17 at 9:30 a.m.



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