Provided by Meredith Flory
Offering a step back to the past and nestled a few blocks from downtown North Augusta is the tranquil Living History Park. Combining the best Augusta’s River Region has to offer in entertaining storytelling, outdoor beauty and educational history, Living History Park is a place for families to learn and play throughout the year. The park aims to educate the community on the colonial history of the area. All events at the Living History Park are free, making this an easy educational day trip for families in the area.
Linda Thompson, better known as Lynn, has lived in the area since 1963 and shares how she “learned about history through [a] love of antiques, primarily at the Old Hub in Martinez”. She serves as the Chairman of the Living History Park and President of the OTPA (Olde Towne Preservation Association). Thompson has worked on many projects preserving the rich history of the area. After her first husband’s death in 2014, she renovated her home in North Augusta “from a four apartment dwelling to a historically correct showcase” that became listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2017, she met Jerry Murrell who retired as a VP of Georgia Railroad Bank and Trust and started an antique and real-estate auction business. Sharing a common love of history and antiques, and discovering that they had traveled in many of the same circles, she and Murrell married in 2018. They now both work and volunteer at Living History Park throughout the year.
Thompson was instrumental in having a historical marker placed at Riverview Park for Col. Samuel Hammond, a Revolutionary War hero. Along with other volunteers, they created “A Day to Remember” to honor him. The event, now in its 28th year, is called “Colonial Times A Day to Remember”.
The goal of the park is to promote history education. The park’s “hands-on” events include costumed reenactors and storytellers from soldiers to musicians to specific historical characters such as Benjamin Franklin. Guests can walk through the period-themed grounds of a sensory garden, village mercantile, blacksmith, toymaker and a smokehouse. As a volunteer dependent organization, Thompson adds that several volunteers are from different areas of the country and have been with the park since its opening 28 years ago. The park also works with Boy and Girl Scouts groups, Fort Gordon, homeschoolers and civic organizations.
Thompson enjoys watching children discover how much they are learning as they interact with exhibits. She says that adults have shared memories from the park that led them to careers in history. She recalls a young son who was less than happy to attend a day at the park for extra credit in school. However, by the end of the day, he did not want to leave and was excited to come back with his father. Young visitors are always amazed to watch reenactors cooking over campfires and drink from the natural spring in historically accurate ways. “One of our greatest rewards during all events is to watch the eyes and faces of our attendees, young and old, as they witness history come to life”. Volunteers like Thompson help the community remember and embrace our shared history.
For events this fall, check out https://www.colonialtimes.us/
This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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