Day 1: Only in LaGrange - Wild Animals, Curio Art & A Civil War Fort
- Hear intriguing stories and legends of LaGrange's past
- Feed a giraffe out of the palm of your hand
- Explore the "Last Fort to Fall"
At Wild Animal Safari, get up close and personal like no other animal adventure. Most animals will come right up to your vehicle for a greeting. Meet a giraffe, watusi, zebra or hand feed an American bison. You might spot elk, water buffalo, camels and more running free -- more than 75 species of animals on 300 acres!
Friday evenings at 7, this guided tour of downtown LaGrange uncovers the ghostly legends and peculiar happenings that have occurred throughout the city. Your Southern spirit guide will lead you on an adventure departing from the Legacy Museum on Main with stops at LaGrange Art Museum, LaGrange College and other unusual establishments.
During the Civil War, West Point, Georgia was defended by the earthworks of Fort Tyler. Commanded by Confederate Brigadier General Robert C. Tyler, for whom the fort is named, Fort Tyler sits atop a small hill overlooking downtown West Point, the Chattahoochee River, and, most importantly, the railroad trestle crossing the river. The border between Alabama and Georgia passes directly through Fort Tyler.
Horace King is arguably LaGrange’s most interesting and inspirational historic figure. King was born a slave in South Carolina in 1807. Unlike most slaves, he was taught to read and write, and by adulthood he would become a competent builder. Around 1830, King was purchased by contractor John Godwin, who took King to build a bridge over the Chattahoochee River. This began many years of the pair building together across the Southeast. Godwin sent King to Oberlin College in Ohio, the first college to admit African Americans. King is buried in Mulberry Street Cemetery in LaGrange.
LaGrange Art Museum is housed in an iconic 1892 Victorian-era jail building where executions were once performed in its basement. Now the museum is filled with dynamic exhibitions by renowned and local artists. Collections of high caliber and visually-tantalizing artwork fills the galleries, making the museum a treat for visitors. Give yourself plenty of time to explore multilevel museum!
Callaway Memorial Tower was built in 1929 as a tribute to the textile magnate Fuller E. Callaway. The construction of the tower was funded by donations from employees at Callaway's textile mill. Situated on the highest point of Southwest LaGrange, the tower is modeled after the Campanile of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy.
The Elm City Plant was founded in 1905 to produce cotton duck fabric and is one of the most charming mills still standing. Elm City showcases the attractive architectural features of textile mills during the early 1900s. All mills had towers and Elm City has a beautiful tower still standing. This factory is in the Hillside neighborhood, a former mill community that has been brought back to life with new business and building renovations.
A unique place to visit in LaGrange is Beacon Brewing Co., located in the historic Hillside neighborhood. The owner selected the area due to its rich history and ties to his family. Like many areas in the South, Hillside once flourished because of a booming textile industry that supported and employed many citizens in the community. This brewpub specializes in experimental beers and draws inspiration from traditional Belgian and Bavarian styles. Beacon serves delectable dishes that are a fusion of Asian and Southern fare. Delicious!
This colorful mural and unique building make for the perfect backdrop for photos and a great place to explore. Wilbon T. Spier, nicknamed “Doc,” once ran a grocery store and sandwich shop at this location known as "Gathering Place." The Gathering Place's most notable feature is the hand-painted Coca-Cola mural located on the right side of the shop. The building itself still stands, open-air and full of beautiful vines and trees.
In the Hillside neighborhood, Georgia Radio Museum and Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of radio in Georgia. With an impressive collection of radio memorabilia, artifacts and replicas, the museum also honors those individuals who have contributed to the radio industry. Supposedly, the microphone in the 1940s Control Room was the same microphone used to interview Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi.