Besides the University Do not Miss the US Navy Supply Corps Museum in Athens, Georgia

Written by admin on December 14th, 2010

Athens is the home of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, situated in the Southeast quadrant of the city. It is the first state-chartered university in the country, founded in 1785. The campus is beautiful. Sanford Stadium is the fifth largest in the nation, where over 85,000 screaming fans cheered Hershel Walker and other notable athletes

Athens is also home to the US Navy Supply Corps training base and their museum housed in the Carnegie Library building. The museum gives a history of the corps and has artifacts from the mid eighteenth century, along with pieces from the USS Maine, which was blown up in Havana Cuba Harbor: the impetus for the Spanish-American War.

One interesting story told in the museum about the Corps during World War II concerns the POWs from the Bataan Death March. After incarceration, some of the men were forced to sew buttonholes and buttons on new uniforms for the Japanese soldiers. Being very inept at sewing, or claiming to be, the Japanese had the prisoners sew only the buttons on the clothing. The Japanese were finicky about how many times the thread had to pass through the four holed buttons. To achieve quota the prisoners sewed the thread through the buttons in the prescribed manner and then attached the perfect looking buttons to the uniforms with a single loop of thread. After the war and their rescue from the concentration camps, there were stockpiles of these new uniforms still in the camp. The soldiers exchanged their rags for these new clothes. After a short time, the shirts and slacks, to which they had attached the buttons, started to pop their buttons. Imagine the Japanese soldiers, while in battle, having to deal with their pants falling down and shirts loosing their buttons. Talk about true sabotage!

Downtown Athens is very scenic, complete with tree lined streets and many small boutiques. In front of the city hall is an oddity left over from the Civil War: a double-barreled cannon. The thought behind it was to place a cannon ball in each of the barrels attached to a chain. When fired both barrels would eject their balls with connecting chain into the troops and kill more soldiers. It was a great idea, but the cannon failed to work properly.

Athens is also the beginning of the Antebellum Trail. The trail generally follows Rte 441 South to Macon. In all of the towns along this historic highway are homes built before 1860. Most are in the Federal or Greek Revival style. Some are B & Bs today. Many are still private residences, well restored to their former opulence.

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