by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA
The Magical Number 100
Program copy courtesy of Jim Montgomery,
There is something magical about the number 100. Remember your first $100
bill? I sure do! I can remember when my dream in college was to make $100 a
week. I recently met a lovely lady in Greenville, South Carolina during a
visit to speak to the Greenville American History Club. She was a vivacious
and beautiful 97-year-old who will quite likely live past her 100th
birthday. For years I had a much older friend from New Orleans who was much
younger in spirit than I, and he lived into his 100th
year. I have been writing and editing the Robert Burns Lives! web
site for several years and it now consists of 99 articles. I wanted the 100th
to be something special, a song of joy and a celebration of history. What
better way to celebrate my 100th
article than to write about the 100th
anniversary of Atlantas Robert Burns Cottage? Imagine, 100 articles and,
much more importantly, a cottage built in 1910, celebrating its 100th
The Burns cottage is unique and as current club president Eddie Morgan was
recently quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Its a very
special place. It honors Scotlands Poet, Robert Burns. The cottage still
opens its doors, 100 years later, for members and their guests the first
Wednesday of each month. It was built by men of vision with Joseph Jacobs
being the leader of the pack. Who was he? Well, when Dr. John Pemberton, a
pharmacist from Atlanta, concocted an unknown drink, he walked down the
street one day in May 1886 to Jacobs Pharmacy and history, as well as
billions of dollars, were made over the years when owner Jacobs added a wee
bit of carbonated water to the syrupy drink putting Coca-Cola within arms
reach of millions of people who were seeking the pause that refreshes.
Jacobs purchased a little land on the edge of Atlanta and a small Scottish
home was built replicating that of the cottage in Alloway, Scotland where
Robert Burns was born. So how do you celebrate a building that is already on
the National Register of Historical Places? If my math is right, it adds up
to 1,200 monthly meetings but does not include the annual Burns Night
suppers, numerous weddings and social gatherings of other groups. Thats a
lot of wear and tear but remember, the old gal was made of Stone Mountain
granite and today looks very appealing to the eyes of this Scotsman.
Membership has included just about every occupation imaginable. But no
matter the personal status of anyone who walks through the front door, once
inside everyone is equal.
What happened back on November 5, 1910 was celebrated 100 years later by a
hearty crowd of Burnsians at 4 p.m. on November 5, 2010, a cold Friday
afternoon. Let me walk you through the highlights of that wonderful
Richard Graham, past president of the Burns Club of Atlanta, welcomed those
gathered and introduced special guests. He familiarized those present with a
poem written and read at the 1910 dedication by Maj. Charles Hubner, a club
member and Poet Laureate of the South. Our own beloved and distinguished
member, David M. Jones, himself a past president and retired professor,
reread Hubners poem entitled The Burns Cottage.
Richard Graham, along with State of Georgia
bringing the dedication ceremony to order
David Morgan Jones
Palmer Mills, Masonic grand master, along with State of Georgia Masonic
officers, led attendees in a rededication of the 1910 cornerstone after
which everyone was piped into the cottage by fellow member George C.
Partial view of those present at dedication
New cornerstone plaque
the conclusion of a deliciously catered reception inside the cottage, Dr.
Edward T. Morgan, current president of the Burns Club of Atlanta, welcomed
one and all and introductions were made by vice president David Grant. Among
guests who spoke were Annabelle Malin, HBM consul general, David Baird,
Robert Burns World Federation president, and Federation senior vice
president James Shields who added much humor to the occasion. Mr. Graham
then read a proclamation from the Governor of Georgia for the event.
(L-R): David Baird and Eddie Morgan
(L-R): Victor Gregg and Eddie Morgan
One of the highlights of the evening were remarks by Professor G. Ross Roy,
founding director of the Rare Books & Special Collections at the University
of South Carolina, and his colleague Dr. Patrick Scott, director, both of
whom are honorary members of the Burns Club of Atlanta.
(L-R): Drs. Jim Flannery (Emory University
Yates Professor) and Ross Roy
Dr. Patrick Scott
International Time Capsule Society president Paul S. Hudson commented on the
new 100-year-old capsule and stone bench that club members have been filling
with written comments and memorabilia under the direction of Victor Gregg,
club historian and past president. The stone bench was constructed and given
to the club by member Beaux Pettys working in conjunction with club
superintendent Charlie Bogle. Items collected for the capsule include
programs from recent Burns Night Dinners, a copy of the club centennial DVD
produced by club member Dr. Phil Benton, and a set of the Burns Club/Stone
Mountain Highland Games pins created by former president Tom Burns.
HBM Consul General Annabelle Malin
suggested by member Jim Montgomery, the stone bench will be inscribed as
November 5, 2010
In grateful appreciation
the vision and dedication
those Atlanta Burnsians of 1910
is the custom the first Wednesday of each month and at each annual Burns
Supper, the crowd circled up and ended the festivities by singing Auld
Lang Syne made famous by Robert Burns.
The photos of the dedication used in this
article were taken by club member, Bill Tucker, editor of the Burns Club of
Atlanta newsletter, and we wish to thank him as well for sharing his
pictures with us.
Used with permission of club historian Victor
Many thanks to past president Jim Montgomery for designing and providing the
collectors quality program for this great event. Jim has
provided highly innovative programs on Burns Night Dinners for many years.
Each program bears his own imprint: Printed at the Sign of The Head &
Note the different roofs
For additional articles about the Burns Cottage of Atlanta on the Robert
Burns Lives! web site, click on URL
and go to the following chapters:
(1) Chapter 19 - Who are These Burns People?
(2) Chapter 30 - A Place To Come To
(3) Chapter 44 - From Scotlands newspaper The Sunday Post, His
Alloway Cottage - in Atlanta, USA