November 3, 2003
glad to hear from you! I was born in Porterdale and grew up there. My
maternal grandparents were Charles and Moselle Haggard and my parents are
Herman and Gladys Kerbow. Like everyone else who had the same experience
of growing up there, Porterdale holds a special place in my heart.
Fifteen years ago, my husband and I moved back to Porterdale and purchased
the former Osprey Mill Superintendent’s house (yellow house next door to
the Village Inn Hotel on the river side). We have lovingly restored it
and it along with the Porter House it has now been on the Tour of Homes
which has helped to bring attention to Porterdale.
ago I became so disenchanted with the turn of events in Porterdale that I
did a lot of research on how to turn things around and as a result, I
developed a ten-year revitalization plan for Porterdale. I called the
plan, “Let’s Sweep It Clean!”. Do you remember the time when
people had no grass in their yards but because we all had such pride in
our little piece of Porterdale that we would sweep our dirt yards? I
thought the name would show the contrast of what Porterdale had once been
and what it had become! “Let’s Sweep It Clean!” is a three point
program. The objective is to sweep Porterdale clean physically,
politically, and spiritually.
has been a great success. We have enlisted other volunteers who have
helped us paint the homes of some of our elderly, and indigent homeowners,
we now have an after school tutorial program, during the holidays, we
sponsor “Caroling in the Village” where we all gather and go caroling to
the homes of our elderly and shut-ins, a group has been successful in
having Porterdale placed on the National Registry of Historical Places,
and through the help of Newton County’s Keep Covington and Newton
Beautiful office, we have been able to make free recycled paint
available to homeowners. We have sponsored “Clean it Up Saturdays”
where volunteers have gone throughout the village cleaning up yards as
well as public areas. In 2000, the Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs
presented us with the first place award for having developed the Best
Community Improvement and Beautification Program in the state of Georgia!
This award was earned by every volunteer who has helped us to make a
difference in Porterdale! All this publicity has helped us to get the
attention of developers. There is so much more to tell you, but the crux
of my program centered on the revitalization of our downtown area
beginning with the conversion of the old Porterdale Mill on the river to
lofts with retail space and restaurants. The mill has been sold and work
has now begun on the mill project. This will be a $14 to $20 million
project! We now have a city government who has caught the vision and is
now working on the revitalization process. Thanks to a generous
contribution from the Arnold Fund, a downtown riverside park will be
As you may
know, the historical Newton County Courthouse was just recently renovated
and a group of us from all over the county are working together on a time
capsule that will be encapsulated there. I was asked to come up with
something from Porterdale that would show what is happening there now…
thus the reunion! I have written the history of the mill and an update on
what it will become.
On Sat., Nov 15th, we will gather at the
mill at 2:00 p.m. where photos will be taken of everyone who attends! The
pictures along with the information I have prepared will be included in
the time capsule.
It will be
an exciting day! There will be a program, which will include the
developers of the project who will be on hand with plans and artist
renderings to show their vision for the mill’s redevelopment as well as
speakers who have a history in Porterdale. We are hoping for a good
turnout of people who love Porterdale! Refreshments will be served. Some
of the restored homes in Porterdale will also be hosting an Open House so
that you can see the amazing transformation and the possibilities of these
former mill homes. Please bring old pictures and come reacquaint yourself
with our hometown.
I hope you
can be there. Please help us to get the word out to others.
revitalized… Catch the vision!