Milton/Alpharetta History Moment

What did folks used to do for fun and entertainment in the early days of Milton and Alpharetta?

A typical fun night with my family would involve food, laughing, just being with each other, and of course, someone playing on their smart phone (see above).  A typical fun day for me would generally mean going to work, because my work is fun.  An average fun day for my friend Robert would be cycling the length of the Alpharetta Greenway and back.  My friends, David and Rochelle Cox, have some of the best fun of all:  worldwide travel.  You name it, they've been there.  

Sometimes we picture our parents or grandparents or just people in days gone by as being as serious as they look in some of those old pictures; never smiling, always working, but folks have always invented ways of having a good time.  Here are some tidbits that I've gleaned over the years from local residents.  

Mr. Paul Westbrook, who grew up on what is now called Birmingham Highway, once told me that for fun he and his friends would go fishing and swimming in the Blue Pond, which is now a part of the Triple Crown neighborhood.  His mention of Birmingham Highway made me think of horse farms, so I asked Mr. Westbrook, "Did you ride horses?" "No!", he said, "I don't particularly like horses and anyway, no one had horses back then."  But speaking of animals he did add that his daddy used to hunt squirrel and rabbit and would go into Alpharetta to sell the rabbit. "What about deer?" I asked.  Mr. Westbrook replied that deer were just not plentiful back in those days.  His daddy would have to walk for miles and miles in order to come across deer.  Hard to believe - especially today when deer gobble up so many gardens in Milton and Alpharetta.  

I once spoke to a lovely old-time resident of Alpharetta and Crabapple named Jewell David.  Mrs. David told me that for fun she and her husband used to play Rook every Friday night with the Dinsmores, the Walkers and the Barnetts.  She said they also really enjoyed all day singings at the Crabapple First Baptist Church.  

Not far from the Crabapple First Baptist Church was the Broadwell Store, now owned by the Stathams.  The second floor of this building, which  now houses offices, was once a square dance hall.  As you might recall from a prior blog of mine, a Miss Jennie Rucker got in a bit of trouble once for this square dancing business.  But I bet she was having fun. 

Crabapple was important to the local community in days gone by because it had a cotton gin.  Farmers brought their cotton here and when they were finished with their business they would picnic under the crabapple trees (thus the name Crabapple).  Picnics are always fun. 

Many of you are aware that a native son of Crabapple by the name of Nap Rucker played major league baseball back in the early 1900's. What you may not be aware of is that Crabapple was a regular bastion of baseball activity in the early part of the 20th century.  Indeed, Mr. B.Y. Coleman once explained to me that there used to be a baseball field at the present day site of Crabapple Crossing Elementary.  And back in 1931 there was even a women's baseball team whose names you will recognize from road signs:  Rucker, Broadwell, Dorris, and Westbrook.  

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Donald Mitchell December 24, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Thanks Julie, it is nice to think back on our history. Merry Christmas!
Travis Allen December 25, 2012 at 01:47 PM
There was a baseball field where the pool and clubhouse are in the Crabapple Chase subdivision as well. The dugouts were still standing when they began developing the neighborhood. Also, Nap wasn't the only Rucker to make it to the big leagues, his nephew Johnny Rucker played for the New York Giants (San Francisco now) and even made the cover of Life Magazine's April 1, 1940 issue...I have a copy if anyone would like to see it!


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