We arose early and headed to Americus, Georgia (population 17,041) and surrounding areas on February 8th, our last day at Montezuma. Americus was founded by General John Americus Smith. While he was out on a scouting mission with his men he realized that there was a distance between towns so he came back in 1825 and purchased the land that would become Americus. The town was a simple courthouse town until the arrival of the railroad in 1854.
Our first stop was the welcome center on Lamar Street, where we got some recommendations of must sees and a helpful young woman gave us a couple of maps for self guided tours of the town. More about the maps later.
The Windsor Hotel on Lamar Street was practically next door so we stopped in. It is a spectacular five story Victorian hotel that was built in 1892. Many dignitaries, stars and GANGSTERS stayed there over the years. Most notorious was Al Capone who stayed in a suite for extended periods with his mistress. John Dillinger was another of notoriety that stayed on occasion. Locals have many stories to tell about their stays, including that a man still living in Americus is the son of Al Capone. More hotel info here: http://www.windsor-americus.com/
A Thunderbird car show was in town. Look at all the lovelies above.
After the hotel tour we pulled out our new trusty self guided tour maps. I could not for the life of me read them. Frustrated I handed one of them over to Ray. We discovered that the maps were printed upside down and backwards. We honestly tried to follow them and ended up seeing a lot of 1800 homes despite the maps. I started calling this adventure the “snake eyed tour.” That name has stuck for other things that we have encountered on our trip. Funny….
We needed a break so we went over for a late lunch at Gladys’ Kitchen. It did not disappoint. For $7.75 you get a great home-cooked meal with choice of one meat, two veggies, bread, and dessert. I could have licked my plate! The butter bread was the best. Well, everything was good but that butter bread, good lord!
My meal was fried chicken, collards, black-eyed peas with limas, corn muffin, and blackberry cobbler. Ray had the fried chicken, peas and limas, fried okra, corn patty, and that scrumptious butter bread. I understand that Governor Deal and his wife eat there when in town. It is a great experience and the staff makes you feel like family.
Americus is the home of Habitat for Humanity. We toured the global village were copies of homes that are built all around the world (70 countries) are on display. Linda and Millard Fuller developed the concept for Habitat for Humanity while living at Koinonia Farm, an interracial Christian community farm outside of Americus. The farm was founded by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan in 1942. President Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter have been instrumental in raising awareness of this wonderful effort. The first international house was built in Zaire in 1973-1976, three years. When the Fullers returned to the USA they started Habitat for Humanity International in 1976. They have helped 13 million people through affordable housing. More info here: https://www.habitat.org/
It had been a long day of history and learning. We headed to camp to contemplate the things we had seen and learned. We were also thankful that the snake-eyed tour was over.