Group aims to preserve Warner Robins history

awoolen@macon.comOctober 16, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A small group of residents is coming together to document the history of the city.

With the help of the Warner Robins Heritage Society, the mayor and City Council recently created a Historical Preservation Commission.

Those appointed to the commission will be able to inventory historical homes and sites in the city. Commission members have not been named yet, said Mayor Chuck Shaheen, who is tasked with appointing folks to the commission.

The designation also will allow the city to apply for funding to help preserve its history.

“We are so close in time to the beginning of time in Warner Robins,” Warner Robins Heritage Society Secretary Alex Talley said.

She, along with society board members President Art Howard, Treasurer Diane McMichael, Development Director Anne Pacosa and Government Liaison Henrietta McIntyre, have started the process of interviewing some of the first settlers in Warner Robins. The task has garnered about 60 DVDs that will be available at the Nola Brantley Memorial Library once it reopens.

A $5,000 grant from Flint Energies will provide a room and listening devices for the society as well as equipment to do the taping of the participants.

“We wanted to capture what history we could before people died,” Talley said.

She said the opportunity to talk to people who have been here since the city was formed is unique as most towns with a long history, such as Macon or Perry, do not have anyone alive to tell what it was like to live there.

Pacosa remembered stories that her father, Charles Meese, and uncle, Dunbar Scollick, used to tell about the city when they were stationed in Warner Robins. It was a time when Warner Robins’ border extended to where Commercial Circle is today.

When Pacosa’s family moved to Warner Robins in 1965, they found out the “country” was on the corner on Sunset Boulevard and South Pleasant Hill Road.

A recurring theme in the interviews was that women didn’t drive, and no one locked their doors at the time when Warner Robins was founded.

“They like to remember and to think about how it used to be,” Talley said about the interviewees.

The group has found other interesting facts about Warner Robins, which was called York before it was called Wellston.

It was also one of two cities in the U.S. that was founded as a direct result of World War II.

The other is Oak Ridge, Tenn., Pacosa said.

Talley has her own story about coming to Warner Robins as a “SAC wife,” which refers to Strategic Air Command.

Originally from New York, “to be in the Deep South was very different,” she said. “Nobody sat around eating bon bons.”

Now Talley’s grandchildren live here, and this is where she chooses to call home.

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