Cherokee County Historical Society Delivers 2020 Historic Preservation Awards

In lieu of the annual Awards Banquet that takes places every year in March, this year members of the Cherokee County Historical Society hand-delivered bronze plaques to five historic property owners to recognize their outstanding work in historic preservation. “We were disappointed that we couldn’t celebrate their success with all of our CCHS family as usual, but this gave us a chance to really interact with the property owners in a personal way,” stated director Stefanie Joyner. “With two religious institutions, two residences and a commercial race track, the 2020 winners truly represent the wide range of unique historic resources we have here in Cherokee County.”

The honorees are:

Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Woodstock

Mt. Olive Church was established on Mill Street in Woodstock in 1866 on land donated to a group of freed slaves who had been meeting at a nearby brush arbor.  The current brick structure was built in 1954 and is the third church building on the site. Mt. Olive has served the spiritual needs of its congregation for over 150 years and its present members are leaders in the African American community.

 Holbrook Campground, Alpharetta

Since 1838 people have made an annual pilgrimage to Holbrook Campground for ten days of prayer and fellowship. The present gable-type arbor was built in 1890 and is encircled by 53 cabins, with another 19 cabins on an outer half-circle. Today, the cabins are still referred to as “tents” and have been passed down through generations of Cherokee County families.

 Wheeler-Roberts Home, Ball Ground

The Wheeler-Roberts home was built in 1902 by local businessman, John Wheeler. In 2018. The house was damaged by fire and Mr. Wheeler’s granddaughter, Sylvia Roberts and her son, Mayor Rick Roberts renovated the structure. The family worked diligently to restore the wood floors and original features of the historic home. Working with David Bray of Landford Thompson Interiors, the renovation included installing or restoring antique hardware and period lighting fixtures.

 Edwards-Wood-Irizarry Home, Ball Ground

This home was built in 1935 by C.M. Edwards and purchased by Dewey and Florence Wood in 1938. The Woods owned the property for over 45 years and operated a cattle farm on 160 acres surrounding the house. The property still retains some of the original outbuildings including a washhouse with its brick fireplace. The house was recently renovated to preserve the historic character.

Dixie Speedway, Woodstock

Dixie Speedway has been a family favorite sporting venue for over 50 years. Built in 1968, the track was purchased by Mickey and Martha Swims in 1976 and they converted it from asphalt to Georgia red clay. Other than adding more seating and a VIP suite to the tower, the Speedway retains its original features. Still operated by the Swims family, Dixie Speedway has been inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and draws 150,000 attendees yearly.