On Sunday Leah and I drove out to Berry College for some sightseeing. I also wanted to use my new camera.
Berry College has about 27,000 acres, most of which is a wildlife reserve. It stretches from the Rome city limit on the south to beyond Lavender Mountain on the north. The college campus is almost entirely within the original 30 acres at the southern edge of the current campus. About three miles north there is another set of buildings called the Mountain Campus.
When I was growing up my family lived on Redmond Road., at the southern edge of the school. When summer came, we roamed the neighborhood on our bikes and occasionally followed a path through the woods onto the Berry College campus. Once there we roamed the campus like we owned it. We rode past the faculty and staff houses, through the classroom building areas, around Victory Lake and down what I believe was called the Three-Mile Road to the Mountain Campus. At the Mountain Campus, we biked past the swan pond, sometimes detoured out to see Frost Chapel, sometimes up the steep hill to the dairy buildings, and then out the gravel road to the Old Mill.
Much of this is the same, but much has changed. Campus access is controlled at a gate where you have to show your driver license. Of course the “guard” is a coed who is not very scary.
When we were kids, Victory Lake looked a lot like this.
This was an image on a sign at the lake. On the far edge of the lake there is a line of cypress trees. I remember Jimmy Carter talking about the northernmost cypress trees, which were considerably further south than these. Maybe he was talking about naturally-occurring cypress trees. I assume these were planted when the lake was formed by the dam that the cypress trees line.
The lake was originally made in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, sink holes formed in about 1986 and drained the lake. The college gave up on refilling the lake after trying for five years, so the lake now looks like this.
The Ford complex is visible from near the lake. That’s where we attended the school’s jazz concert.
Out at the Mountain Campus, the old dairy buildings have been taken over by the WinShape Retreats, an organization founded by S. Truett Cathy, the ostentatiously Christian founder of Chick-fil-A.
There is another set of buildings behind where I stood to take this picture. From this vantage, looking behind me, you can see Mount Alto, which appears in my sunrise photos.
The Old Mill is still like I remember it.
The overshot waterwheel wasn’t working, of course. It’s fed by a pipe from the Berry reservoir up on the mountain. I have seen it running on rare occasions, but the mill is no longer used for its original purpose of grinding corn for use at the campus.
You might have seen the Old Mill if you were one of the very few people who watched the one-season NBC television series “Constantine”. When the main character went to his secret hideout, he was shown approaching the locked door to the mill. Once he was inside, he descended into a large underground lair. I am pretty sure such a facility does not exist beneath the mill. I only watched the series a few times because I had heard it was filmed in Georgia. Once I saw a few recognizable landmarks, the show itself was not enough to keep me watching.
But back to school. When we left the Old Mill I noticed some bottlebrush-stage longleaf pines.
There was a thicket of young longleaf pines just beyond that. I think they are part of the Berry longleaf pine project.
Here is the Frost Chapel.
It would have been prettier in spring or early summer with green grass.
This is a small pond near the swan pond. There was one swan and a good number of Canada geese, who, according to some students I spoke to, are permanent residents.
We drove back to the main campus where I was confused about what was where. There are so many new buildings since I last saw it that I had some trouble orienting myself. Of course I had not seen some parts of the campus in more than 50 years.
Berry opens large parts of the campus to the public. There are about 80 miles of public-access trails for walking, biking or horseback riding. Maybe Leah and I will take our bikes out there someday.
The Berry College Wikipiedia page gives a reasonably-complete account of the school. There is also a class project called the Marthapedia, named for the school’s founder, Martha Berry. There is also the Berry College Website, of course.