The Union Recorder

Opinion

August 8, 2012

Local treasures contribute to economic engine

MILLEDGEVILLE — Tucked away from the busy pace of U.S. Highway 441 North off the beaten path sits a historic treasure nestled among the trees. It’s a treasure many locals have yet to discover, yet it draws visitors from all over the globe. It is where famed gothic writer Flannery O’Connor penned a number of her works, and today ongoing efforts are under way to ensure that this 544-acre historic farm is preserved for generations to come.

Andalusia farm recently received two $10,000 grants to aid in the restoration efforts, which coupled with public contributions, have assisted the cow barn renovation project at the farm.

Andalusia draws hundreds of visitors from around the world each year, all sharing the common interest of discovering more about O’Connor’s life. In addition to the community satisfaction that comes in knowing that Milledgeville possesses such a crown jewel that draws from other parts of the world, there is also other valuable qualities to consider.

Andalusia was O’Connor’s home from 1951 until her death in 1964. It is also the place where she penned two novels and her two collections of short stories. The historic farm is celebrated in many circles for its contributions to literary culture. Additionally, visitors to the farm add to local tourism and to the economy. When we stop to think about it, each visit from an out-of-towner translates to dollars potentially added to the local economy — hotel rooms, food, gas stations, retail shops and stops at other attractions.

It is often easy to take for granted the contributions of sites such as Andalusia to the local community. What may be even less likely to consider is how local treasures such as Andalusia contribute to the local economic engine.

The recent grant awards from the Watson-Brown Foundation Junior Board of Milledgeville and the E.J. Grassmann Trust help ensure the history and culture of Andalusia farm remain for generations to come.

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