The visit to the Thomasville History Museum was very educational and interesting. $5 gets you a tour of someone's mansion and a history lesson of things you never knew about the town.
Thomasville was unlike other southern towns after the Civil War because they actually wanted the Northerners to come! Other towns snubbed them because they killed their family members after all. Well, the rich and the very rich came to this place with a nice climate and built grand Victorian and Queen Anne sytled mansions. McKinley was convinced to run for President while visiting here and once he left the area, he had enough support from other rich people to get the nomination.
Owners of big companies came here; former slaves got jobs and made money; a railroad was built from Thomasville to Savannah to transport cotton without going down to the gulf and around Florida; blacks were educated because a lot of them stayed here nad the whites saw advantages for blacks to stay and work for them cheaply.
There was money in Thomasville before the Civil War, actually. It was here (between Thomasville and Tallahassee) that the land was conducive for farming and southern planters were abundant. To become a planter, you had to have so much land and at least 10 slaves. Most people couldn't afford that, so there weren't as many slave owners as history textbooks and movies would have us believe.
The guy that used to live in the museum had a garage for his Model T Ford (unheard of back then), and a building for exercise and sporting - it housed a bowling alley! Most of the time they bowled with the small pins and balls because the women couldn't take part if they did regular bowling - they were corsetted with heavy, underwear and couldn't bend over. I'm shocked they could even take part! Billiards in the top story of these mansions was popular. The old-fashioned hunting methods are still practiced today for the royalty of the nation - dogs that went ahead and pointed at the ducks; men in carriages catching up; two men got out and when the dogs chased the ducks, one man got the ones that flew left and the other got the right ones!
The first Black man to graduate from West Point came from this area and his four brothers got to be successful businessmen as well, due to their mother's insistence that they get an education after being freed. After hearing the stories about this family, we thought there should be a movie based on their lives!