Halloween, ghosts, and graveyards

Every campus should have its ghosts, or at least its ghost stories, and Emory does. Some students claim to have “felt” the spirit of President Atticus Haygood in Old Church at Oxford. One former staff member of the alumni association tells a hair-raising story of encountering a man in an old-fashioned suit and a bowler hat while working on the second floor of the Houston Mill House—a man there one moment and gone the next. And heaven (or hell!) only knows what goes on at the Briarcliff mansion, but check it out here.

The best Emory ghost story surely comes from Mike Wilhoit, who 45 years ago was working late at night in the Tufts House (formerly Uppergate House), when he encountered a woman who couldn’t have been there but was–and then wasn’t.

For those in search of more mundane encounters with “spirits” from the past, two cemeteries at Emory beckon. One is on the Oxford campus and harbors the graves of Confederate soldiers who died while being cared for in Oxford after the Battle of Atlanta.

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The Confederate cemetery near Williams Gymnasium at Oxford College, as it appeared in 1959—much as it appears today.

A second cemetery lies tucked away, half-hidden, on the Clairmont Campus in Atlanta. Shuttle-bus riders and pedestrians, as well as parents picking up children at the Clifton Childcare Center, often pass by without realizing that some fifty bodies lie buried nearby.

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Countless shuttle riders and pedestrians pass the Hardman Cemetery without seeing its sign at the top of the knoll.
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The cemetery on Emory’s Clairmont Campus harbors the remains of some of DeKalb County’s early settlers. The earliest is from 1825, and the most recent from 1909.

Richard Houston Sams, Emory College Class of 1957, has written the fullest history of this hallowed ground, and he has good reason for his interest in it—some of his ancestors are buried there.

The earliest grave is that of Rody Harriet Hardman, just a year and a half old when she died in 1825. She was the daughter of John Hardman, who was laid to rest near her more than half a century later.

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A small, blank stone in the corner of the Hardman plot marks little Rody’s grave.
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John “Johnny” Hardman, 1793–1879

Not far from the Hardman plot lie Dr. Chapmon Powell and his wife, Elizabeth Hardman Powell, parents of Amanda Powell. In 1854 Amanda married Washington Jackson Houston–the builder of Houston Mill and great-grandfather of Richard Sams.

hardman-cemetery-elizabeth-powell

Somewhat farther away, near the edge of the cemetery, lie the foundation stones on which, sometime around 1830, Naman Hardman built a church known as the Primitive Baptist Church in Christ at Hardman’s. This building, according to Sams, was still standing when a wing of General Sherman’s army marched down the Shallowford Trail–now Clairmont Road–toward Decatur in July 1864. Sams says the structure was left in ashes by the time the army left.

Much more history haunts these two acres, which are owned not by Emory but by the DeKalb Historical Society. The spirits inhabiting the place include the land’s original inhabitants, the Creek Indians, who lived along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, near where the VA Hospital stands on Clairmont Road. Meanwhile, this quiet corner tucked between a parking deck and apartment building D offers tranquility for visitors on a balmy autumn afternoon.

hardman-cemetery-view-through-trees
The tranquility of the graveyard belies the bustle of the parking deck, apartment building, and shuttle road that surround it.

 

Gary Hauk

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The cornerstone at the dumpster

Clyde Partin Jr. tells the story of how a piece of Atlanta and Emory history was discovered beside a dumpster on the Emory campus fifteen years ago. Clyde is a graduate of Emory College and Emory School of Medicine and the son of the legendary long-time Emory athletics director and coach, the late “Doc” Partin. As Clyde tells it, his parents were walking to Emory’s baseball field at Chappell Park one fall day in 2001, when they came upon “a monolithic piece of granite, like a huge tombstone, lying next to the dumpster.” (He and John Stone relate the story in Atlanta Medicine, Volume 77, Issue 2 (2003), pp. 12-16.)

The elder Partins contacted Clyde Jr., whose investigation determined quickly that this was the cornerstone of the old building of the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons, a precursor to the Emory School of Medicine. The ACPS itself had been formed in 1898 from the merger of two other medical schools, both of which traced their lineage to Atlanta’s first medical school, the Atlanta Medical College. (Emory’s fourth president, Alexander Means, taught briefly at the Atlanta Medical College in the 1850s.) After several splits and mergers, in 1906 the ACPS moved into new quarters at the corner of Armstrong and Butler streets—now Armstrong Street and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive—across from Grady Memorial Hospital.

atlanta-college-of-physicians-and-surgeons
This photo of the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons appeared in the 1911 edition of the school’s yearbook, Aesculapian, now in Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. The cornerstone is at ground level, facing the fire hydrant.

By the 1960s the building needed to be replaced, so down came the five-decade-old structure—its piecemeal deconstruction recorded in photographs.

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The Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons is taken apart, piece by piece.

Soon the cornerstone itself was detached from the wall surrounding it, and a cavity at the top of the stone was uncovered. In that cavity was a metal box

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The cornerstone stripped of its building.

With Emory dignitaries on hand, including the board chair, the university president, and the dean of the medical school, the “time capsule” was retrieved and opened.

cornerstone-opening
Looking on, as a worker (back to camera) opens the box from the cornerstone, are (clockwise) board chair Henry Bowden, Emory president Walter Martin, Dr. Phinizy Calhoun Jr., and medical dean Arthur Richardson. Dr. Calhoun’s grandfather, Dr. A.W. Calhoun, was present at the dedication of the building in 1906.

The contents of the box appear to have been just whatever was at hand on the day the cornerstone was laid—no profound messages from one generation to a later one, no poetry or spiritual wisdom, no valuable treasures or cultural secrets to be passed along to an inquisitive bunch of archaeologists. Just a daily paper with news of the moment, a physician’s empty stationery envelope, and sundry odds and ends.

cornerstone-contents
Medical library director Mildred Jordan and medical dean Arthur Richardson display the contents of the cornerstone’s box: daily newspapers from 1906, a gavel, a paperweight, a disintegrated box of matches, a catalogue for the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons, an 1893 Indian head penny, and a spool of wire.

What happened to the cornerstone after its removal from the site in 1961 is anyone’s guess, and as Clyde notes, how it came to rest by the side of that dumpster is still more of a mystery. It now graces the plaza of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building.

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In this photo from 2003,  Dr. John Stone (left, now deceased) and Dr. Clyde Partin Jr. perch above the old cornerstone in its current location, at WHSCAB.

Emory medical faculty members still play their teaching and medical arts on the site of the old Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons, in the building that replaced the 1906 structure.

emory-faculty-building-at-grady-hospital-former-site-of-acps
The Emory Faculty Building at Grady Hospital, on the site of the former Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons. Butler Street is now Jesse Hill Jr. Drive.

Gary Hauk

The water tower and the golfer

It stood above the campus like a sentry, as if to guard against drought and keep watch for welcome rain clouds on the horizon. In my recollection it was always blue, though not Emory blue–more like the blue of a robin’s egg.

It should have been painted white, with trompe l’oeil stippling to mimic the look of a golf ball. Because after I heard someone refer to it as “the Bobby Jones Memorial,” I could never again see it as anything but a golf ball on a tee. (Bobby Jones was the Emory alumnus who graduated from the law school in 1929 and went on, the following year, to become the only person ever to win the grand slam of golf.)

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The old water tower on Emory’s campus resembled a golf ball on a tee. The tower appears here in the catalogue of the manufacturer.

The tower was installed in 1933 and made it into the pages of the November-December 1933 Emory Alumnus.

water-tower-in-emory-alumnus

By 2007 the water tower, in terms that Bobby Jones would have been familiar with, had become a waterless hazard. It had not held water since the 1980s, and improvements to maintain its structural integrity were estimated to cost several hundred thousands of dollars. While realigning Eagle Row to make way for new residence halls, the university dismantled the tower and recycled its steel.

I learned recently that Mathew Pinson, senior director of development in the Candler School of Theology, has a personal connection to that bygone tower. His great-grandfather, Bryan M. Blackburn, was employed by R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company in Newnan, Georgia, when he patented the design of the hundred-thousand-gallon tank. Mathew shared images of the design that was approved by the US Patent Office on February 20, 1934 (after the tower had been installed at Emory). The patent and the catalogue from the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company are in the Pinson family archives.

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Great-grandfather Blackburn was a member of the twenty-fifth graduating class of Georgia Tech and began developing this design while he was a student.

Great thanks to Mathew for sharing these design images and the information about his ancestor.

Curiously, Emory University was not the only Emory with a water tower that resembled a golf ball on tee. Check out the one from Emory, Texas, below. I believe ours was built first–and unfortunately had to be removed first.

emory-texas-water-tower

Gary Hauk

What’s in an accent?

As the Emory Law School prepares to celebrate its centennial beginning in September, a critical question came in from the publisher of the school’s celebratory book—accent or no accent?

The accent in question has inconsistently hovered over the second e in the name of Emory Law’s first female graduate: Eléonore Raoul.

Raoul, Eléonore
Eléonore Raoul seated among the law school’s best in 1920, the year of her graduation.

 

Raoul was also the first woman to be formally enrolled in Emory. Legend has it that Chancellor Warren Candler was away from the campus that day in 1917, when Miss Raoul walked from her mother’s home at 807 Lullwater Road to have a chat with the dean of the new law school in Druid Hills. The chancellor  opposed coeducation. Raoul was 29 years old and active in the women’s suffrage movement. She saw no reason why a law degree should not be available to a bright woman who had studied at the University of Chicago. And neither did the dean. By the time the chancellor returned, the ink was dry on Raoul’s enrollment form. She graduated in 1920, the year the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.

But back to that accent. Raoul was the youngest daughter of the railroad magnate William Greene Raoul, whose work brought him eventually to Atlanta, where he built a magnificent house on Peachtree Street that did not survive the 1980s. Born on Staten Island in 1888, Eléonore descended from French nobility. Raoul de Champmanoir was the original family name.

She grew up among a formidable set of siblings who would go on to careers in manufacturing, farming, charitable enterprises, and political activity. One sister graduated from Vassar and another from the Pratt Institute.

Apparently independent from the start, Eleanore, as she was named at birth, changed the spelling of her name at the age of 24 to Eléonore. At least that’s what I had always thought. But evidence on the web and in publications suggested the possibility that that was wrong. The finding aids for the Rose Library at Emory have it as “Eleonore,” without the accent. But photos available online have captions with different spellings, including “Eleanor” and “Eleanore.”

"Eleanor" Raoul, 1916"Eleanore Raoul" circa 1916

 

I had never actually seen her signature. So to the archives I went. The trove of Raoul family papers is large and fascinating. And, happily, I found what I was looking for.

In 1928 Eléonore married a man who had graduated with her in 1920, Harry L. Greene, but she continued to use her maiden name throughout her life in business and professional matters. Here’s an instance of her signature the year after her wedding, on the flyleaf of the financial ledger that covers her checking account for the next two years.

Raoul signature 1929

Aha! The accent over the e!

Eleven years later, in 1940, she printed and signed her name with the accent in a document for Trust Company of Georgia.

Raoul signature large format

I go to the library next week to pore over more personal correspondence of this fascinating woman, to whom Emory granted an honorary LL.D. degree in 1979, four years before her death at the age of 94.

Raoul

Gary Hauk

The mystery woman on the nature trail

Here was an assignment just made for the slower summer months, although these months have been full and the summer fleeting. Compile a list of all  buildings and outdoor spaces on campus that are named for persons, with a brief bio of the persons named. And, where possible, identify the funding source for the building’s construction and the date of naming. Ignore buildings like 1599, 1762, and 1525, but please don’t forget the four named streams.

Eleven pages and some eighty names later, I have a good sense of the many ghosts and the few living souls who populate our campus landscape. Look for this list on the Emory history website by the end of the summer.

All of this was relatively easy to ferret out, but some facts took digging, and one name in particular proved a puzzle.

On the Oxford campus, in 1978, biology professor Curry T. Haynes Sr. carved out a nature trail on the west side of the campus, winding from Williams Gym past the soldiers’ cemetery and into the woods between the cemetery and the dining hall.

Currey Haynes
Professor Curry Haynes, circa 1978, at around age 76. He taught at Oxford for more than thirty years and died in 2000 at the age of 97.

The trail was dedicated on May 7, 1978, and named in memory of Elizabeth Candler Hearn.

Hmmm. Who was this Ms. Hearn? She’s not mentioned in any of the Candler family histories I’ve looked into, and the only online search for her turns up an announcement in the Atlanta Georgian of her impending wedding to Howell Reid Hearn on December 27, 1906.

A call to my friend and colleague Joe Moon, dean of campus life at Oxford College, turned up two news clippings from the dedication.

Hearn Trail dedication 2

Standing among the smiling family members shown in the old news photos are Elizabeth Candler Hearn II (Mrs. A.J. Bates) and three-year-old Elizabeth Candler Hearn III, wielding a scissors almost as large as she is as she cuts the ribbon on the trail. But no mention of the original Elizabeth Candler Hearn.

Thank goodness for genealogists. One of the websites catering to them is findagrave.com.

Elizabeth Candler Hearn appears to have been the daughter of Samuel Charles Candler Jr., who was the brother of Asa Candler of Coca-Cola fame and Warren Candler, Emory’s former president and first chancellor.

Elizabeth’s listing in findagrave.com shows her as Samuel’s daughter. But, oddly, his own listing does not show her as one of his children. The dates for each suggest the connection, however. He lived from 1855 to 1911, and she from 1883 to 1976. Her wedding in 1906 to Howell Reid Hearn would have occurred when she was 23. Her tombstone, shown in a photo on findagrave, notes that she was born in Villa Rica, which was also the hometown of Asa and the other children of Samuel Charles Candler Sr.

I’d love to have a photo of her or more information about her. Anyone out there know her?

Gary Hauk

 

 

 

Muhammad Ali, Emory, and Me

I never met the man whom Sports Illustrated designated the greatest sportsman of the twentieth century. But somewhere at home I have his autograph. It’s inside my copy of King of the World, signed not by the author (David Remnick) but by the subject himself—the Greatest of All Time, or G.O.A.T. The book is subtitled Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero.

Ali’s death earlier this month reminded me of the occasion for my receiving that book. It was made possible by an Emory hero, who passed away just three months before Ali himself. That man was Herbert R. Karp, a graduate of Emory College (1943) and Emory School of Medicine (1951), who had a long and distinguished career as neurologist, chair of the Department of Neurology, and first medical director of the nation’s first geriatric hospital, the Wesley Woods Center. He retired at 90 and died at a youthful 94.

One of Emory’s great faculty citizens, Herb received the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1983 for his service to the university. By the 1990s his leadership needed still more recognition, so the Herbert R. Karp Leadership Award was created to honor persons who advance understanding of neurological diseases.

Beginning in 1994 Ali was coming to Emory for treatment of his Parkinson’s disease by Mahlon Delong, the William Timmie Patterson Professor of Neurology and recipient of the 2014 Lasker Award for his transformative work in treating Parkinson’s disease.

In the spring of 1999, three years after Ali lit the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics, I received a request. Ali would be coming to Emory again, and the Woodruff Health Sciences Center wanted to present him with the Karp Award at a small ceremony. Would I write a citation for the occasion? No guarantee that I could meet the champ.

Of course I agreed, and here is the citation that was read as The Greatest received the award named for another great man.

The President, Faculty, and Trustees of Emory University take pleasure in honoring

MUHAMMAD ALI

Known in the world’s smallest hamlets and glens,

Feted in palaces, cheered to the sky,

Bearing the name of Muhammad (which means

“Worthy of all praise”) Ali (“The most high”).

Shaking the world, you held fast to your soul,

Pugilist wearing world peace as a belt;

Boxer, now helping the battered live whole.

Self-contradictions resolve themselves, melt.

Raising a torch of Olympian fire,

Thus, in an image, rekindling joys past;

Teaching us life’s hardest lesson—that dire

Change comes to all, and all must be, at last,

Grateful for mercies and magic—for grace

Poetry gives when the spirit lives free:

These things we ponder while noting your place—

Spelled with initials, the G-O-A-T.

You show us how to live life as an art:

Float like a butterfly—lead with your heart.

 

I never did get to meet the Champ that day. But I look forward to rereading the book.

Gary Hauk

Into the Woods

Just down the hill from the Miller-Ward Alumni House, on Houston Mill Road, is the entrance to Hahn Woods, formally known as the T. Marshall Hahn Commemorative Forest.

Hahn Woods parking lot
The parking lot at Hahn Woods.

This Emory landmark came to mind last week when I learned of the passing of the man for whom the woods are named—T. Marshall Hahn Jr., Emory trustee emeritus and former CEO of Georgia-Pacific. Among his achievements were a PhD in physics from MIT at the age of 23 and appointment at the age of 35 to the presidency of Virginia Tech, which he built into a research university during his tenure from 1962 to 1974. His obituary from the Roanoke (Va.) Times is here. Marshall had served as chair of the Emory trustees’ Investment Committee and a member of the Executive Committee until his elevation to emeritus status at age 70 in 1997. He blended academic aspiration and business acumen in an extraordinary way.

Hahn Woods is well worth a visit. A stroll along its paths not only leads into a literal grove of academe but also introduces something of the area’s history.

Hahn Woods marker

This 4.7-acre preserve was part of a 60-acre parcel that the university acquired from the owners of the Houston Mill House in 1960. In the succeeding decades Emory covered over a pasture and a swimming pool with construction debris, creating a landfill.

Hahn Woods meadow
The meadow at Hahn Woods formerly was used by Emory as a dump for construction debris. Before Emory acquired the land from the Harry Carr family, in 1960, a swimming pool had been on the site.

In 1993, through a partnership with Georgia-Pacific, which sought to honor its retiring CEO, the university began reclaiming the site as a teaching area for environmental preservation—an effort dear to Marshall’s interests.

Entering the woods from the parking lot, you have a choice between an upper trail, leading past the meadow, or a lower trail that skirts the creek.

Hahn Woods path
The beginning of the lower trail in Hahn Woods

Washington Jackson Houston (pronounced HOUSE-ton) chose this site along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek for his mill, for which the nearby road is named. Houston acquired the property in 1842 from his father, Dr. Chapmon Powell, who had settled in the Decatur area in the 1820s and is buried with his wife and other family members in the cemetery on Emory’s Clairmont Campus.

Houston built a dam in the ravine to the east of the road.

Houston Mill dam
Houston Mill dam today

Just downstream stand the remains of a single-lane bridge that once carried traffic on Houston Mill Road across the creek. This iron bridge was replaced by a concrete bridge in 1952—the same concrete bridge still used by hundreds of commuters daily.

Houston Mill old bridge
The remains of Washington Jackson Houston’s iron bridge.

Pillars mark the path leading past the dam.

Hosuton Mill stone pillars

Around 1900 Houston converted his mill operations from grinding grist to generating electricity.

In the 1920s Harry Carr acquired the property and resumed grist milling. He built his Houston Mill House in 1925—the same year that Walter Candler developed his Lullwater estate half a mile upstream. Following Carr’s death in 1958—again, coincidentally, the year Emory acquired Lullwater—Emory in 1960 negotiated the purchase of the property from his widow with the provision that she be permitted to live in the house until her death. She died in 1976.

Hahn Woods lower trail
The lower trail, looking upstream toward the bend to the parking lot at Hahn Woods.

Hahn Woods now hides a lot of history but still retains traces of the past on which Emory’s campus has been built.

Gary Hauk