Many Really Big Hitters come from Really Small Towns in Georgia

As we drove into Young Harris, Georgia recently,  I had to reflect on why it is so famous – and it is famous.  It’s not big.  The 2000 census counted 604 residents.  That’s almost a hundred less than the town’s very famous college, Young Harris College, which only has 700 students.

Zell Miller, former Georgia United States Senator and Governor

Like Plains,  Young Harris illustrates that a town doesn’t have to be big to produce big leaguers. Zell Miller might not be quite as famous as Jimmy Carter, but he’s plenty famous – and, to a lot of Democrats,  now infamous.  He served as  Georgia’s Democratic Lt. Governor,  Governor, and United States Senator.  But, even though never resigning from the Democratic Party,  he took up with the Republicans, even speaking at the Republican National Convention that nominated George W. Bush for president.   

 Just as Young Harris is famous because of people like Zell Miller, Young Harris College  is also famous, because people like Zell were students there.  And, I’ll bet you didn’t know that, according to Wikipedia,  these famous folks also went to Young Harris College:  “entertainers Oliver Hardy

Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy, is on the floor, and Oliver Hardy is standing next to him in this lobby poster for their first movie, Lucky Dog, as Laurel and Hardy in 1921.

, Wayland Flowers and Amanda Bearse, country music singers Ronnie Milsap and Trisha Yearwood, Major League Baseball player Nick Markakis, and Waffle House founder Tom Forkner. Poet and novelist Byron Herbert Reece was a student and teacher at YHC.”

Wonder if Zell is going to endorse a Democrat or Republican for governor this year?  You just never know what he will do. But, we do know that he did one very important thing for Georgia. He was instrumental in establishing the state lottery, which funds the HOPE Scholarship program. Furnishing college tuition and textbooks is a big deal.

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2 Responses to “Many Really Big Hitters come from Really Small Towns in Georgia”

  1. Janet Sue Gibson Gray Says:

    When traveling back home to Smyrna from Augusta last year about this time of year, Gordon & I came upon a sign on I-20 West that said….”Laurel & Hardy Museum” next exit. We weren’t in too much of a rush and decided…why not? So we pulled off the exit, made a left and headed to…Harlem, Ga. The sign made it seem just off the exit but we had to actually travel approx. 12+ miles to get to this sleepy little town quite like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show. After wandering a bit we came across a very small building…next door to a very small post office and arrived at the museum. Looked like we were the only visitors but after going inside and marveling at the magnitude of history and memories of the silent movies & slap stick comedy we ambled to a back room with a black and white checkered floor, metal chairs, lights down low…and the Laurel & Hardy movies running on a screen. There was actually another couple sitting and enjoying the movies. It was hot outside and the cool dark room and the light hearted humor kept us captivated for at least a full 30 minutes! What a great little ‘find’ and what a surprising story behind Mr. Hardy and his path to the big silver screen! We highly recommend if you find yourself on I-20 outside of Atlanta on it’s east side that you look for the sign for the “Laurel & Hardy Museum” in Harlem GA. I don’t recall if in all of the history mentioned and viewed that day, if the fact that he was a Young Harris College alum was mentioned. Small towns in Ga have lots of wonderful folks who were & are movers and shakers in the world!

  2. Richard Says:

    Zell Miller seemed unusually quiet during the 2008 election. And he hasn’t said much publicly (from what I can tell) so far this year. That leaves me wondering if he’s in good health.

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