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The Old Tate Gym - A happening place on Tate Day

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By Lawton Baggs


The Old Tate Gym, now on the National Registry of Historic Places, was built in 1925. For many years, the gym served Tate school, and the community, as a recreation center. Later, the board of education deeded the gym and the property on which it sits to the Marble Valley Friends historic preservation organization. MVF now maintains the gym as a viable community resource. Appropriately, during the Tate Day Festival each November, the Old Tate Gym is again a center of activity.

On November 3rd the public is invited into the gym beginning at 11 a.m. to enjoy a barbecue lunch from Williamson Brothers. Pre-orders for the lunch must be placed by October 27th. Prospective diners can place the pre-order by calling Penny Davis at 770-735-2564. A competitive cake bake off allows diners to complete their meal with a delicious serving of cake and vote for their favorite. MVF members Mary Jane Griffeth, Anita Poole and Barbara Walters will happily sell the cakes and accept the votes.

Coinciding with the lunch, mini class reunions under the coordinating efforts of Janie Carver, will be occurring. Classmates and their friends from the Tate High School days are invited to share tables and memories.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Marble Valley Friends President Mary Jane Griffeth will lead a memorial remembrance for recently deceased members and friends. This will also take place in the old gym.

Just a short distance from the old gym, visitors may enter Tate Elementary School, formerly Tate High School, for a walking tour of the only marble schoolhouse in the nation. The school, built in the 1920s and another Tate entity on the National Registry of Historic Places, has continued to house students for educational purposes since its construction. These tours are conducted by veteran Tate educator Lisa Burnett. She and Tate Principal Stephanie Hall join MVF in welcoming Tate Day visitors to the area and to the school.

The day’s activities at the Old Tate Gym end at 3 p.m. when the Amicalola Garden Club draws the winning tickets for its two raffles. That long established Tate club will be selling tickets on a locally made Victorian birdhouse and on a Chickapin Oak print. The print is of a tree that stood for many years on the grounds of the historic Tate House.

Before or after spending time at the Old Tate Gym, visitors would likely enjoy traveling a little further east to the Tate United Methodist church. That congregation annually supports and participates in the Tate Day Festival. Again this year a large yard sale is offered.

Other Tate Day attractions will be highlights in next week’s Pickens County Progress. Plan on seeing them all.