Fort Hawkins hosts Christmas tour

jmink@macon.comDecember 22, 2013 

On a rainy afternoon, Kimberly Hale and her family spent the Sunday before Christmas inside a candlelit Macon blockhouse, surrounded by artifacts and historical tidbits.

It was exactly where they wanted to be.

Despite dreary weather, Hale and others toured Fort Hawkins during the weekend as part of its Christmas celebration. People sipped apple cider and munched cookies as they walked through the historic blockhouse. They climbed to the top two floors, where they witnessed a historic fort Christmas, complete with props and candlelight, and took in the views of Macon.

“It’s interesting, being here and standing in history,” said Hale, of Jones County. “I’ve driven by here many times and always wanted to come here.”

Even though the inclement weather probably affected turnout Sunday, the fort has plenty to celebrate, said Marty Willett, project coordinator.

About a week ago, workers rebuilt a demonstration wall at the southwestern corner of the fort, which showcases how the fort’s walls looked about 200 years ago. Additionally, workers finished a trail that connects the blockhouse and a new log cabin visitor’s center, which is under construction and is expected to be completed in early 2014.

“It’s going to allow us to treat the history and our visitors even better than we do now,” Willett said.

It’s an important project, Willett said, because visitors are essential to the historic site and events are held almost every weekend. In fact, the Christmas tour will be repeated from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“This is just a great place to share,” Willett said.

Upstairs, a replica of a traditional fort Christmas tree stood near a wall, next to a spinning wheel. One corner featured a traditional 19th century soldier’s Christmas gifts, which generally consisted of fruit, candles and some extra alcohol. A Bible laid open on the soldier’s desk. Nearby, a Native American statue also was part of a customary Christmas.

“It’s the most exciting time to be at Fort Hawkins,” Willett said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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