May 9, 2013

Chatsworth historic sites open for tours on Saturday

Submitted by the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society

— For many years, May has been designated Historic Preservation Month in Georgia and across the country. As the leader of historic preservation in our area, the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society will commemorate this special time with tours of its two Chatsworth properties. The openings will be held in conjunction with The Crème Hut’s “Cruise In” on Saturday. Both the Wright Hotel and the Chatsworth Depot will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. that day.

Located in downtown Chatsworth at the corner of Market Street and Second Avenue, the Wright Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure was built for the Thomas Wright family in 1909 and opened for business in 1910. Operated by the family for more than three decades, the hotel was leased by other operators into the 1960s.

Katherine Wright Raine, daughter of the original builders, returned to Chatsworth in the 1970s after a long career as a public health nurse among the Indians of the American Southwest. She carefully restored most of the hotel and then bequeathed the building to the historical society upon her death. The society first opened the structure to the public in 1988, so this year marks the 25th anniversary of that event as well. Today the amazing property contains many original antiques, various old hotel furnishings, numerous Indian crafts, nursing memorabilia and other more recent additions (children’s items and baby clothes) which portray life through most of the 20th century.

The Chatsworth Depot on First Avenue adjacent to the hotel, was, of course, originally located by the railroad tracks. In a rather ambitious undertaking, the historical society had the building moved in order to preserve it — the last of five depots which served Murray County in the first half of the 20th century. The depot was the very first structure built in the new town of Chatsworth in 1904-1905. Assisted by the city of Chatsworth, the society has maintained the depot for almost 20 years now. It houses a collection of railroad artifacts, many things associated with Chatsworth’s historic talc industry, and other items which tell the story of the town that became Murray County’s seat of government a century ago.

A combination ticket for tours of both buildings will be $5 per person for those 12 and older.  Children will be admitted free and should be accompanied by an adult. Various publications and historical society items will be available for purchase at either building, and several historical society members will be on hand to answer questions. The buildings are also available for special group tours, weddings, showers, reunions and meetings for nominal fees.

For more information, contact the society at (706) 278-0217 or email