Minis & Marble

Words: Bronzella Cleveland
Tate Elementary in Tate, Ga. Photo: Tate Elementary

For most working Americans, free time is a precious commodity these days. I would wager that most of you don’t know a single soul who works a “standard” 9-to-5 and then spends the weekends doing whatever he or she pleases, never checking their smartphone for that all-too-important email. I certainly don’t know anyone like that, and I don’t fit the description either.

However, when I do find myself with a free Saturday or Sunday, I often spend them with a small group of fellow auto enthusiasts. Specifically, we all own Mini Coopers, and we enjoy driving the twisty roads of the North Georgia Mountains. If you’re not having a good time with these folks, then you’re not driving fast enough.

I only bring this up on this blog because during one recent trip, I found myself asking my wife/co-pilot to quickly look up some information on a building as we drove past. You see, even while navigating sharp turns and undulating hills, and trying to keep up with my car club friends, my job is never far from my mind. The structure in question—Tate Elementary School in Tate, Ga.—I would come to learn was constructed in 1927 and is built entirely of Georgia “Cherokee White” marble. The school was made possible by Georgia Marble Company president, Colonel Sam Tate. The column-flanked, two-story structure truly is a site to behold. In fact, in 2005, Tate Elementary, along with the Georgia Marble Company and Tate Historic District, was placed on the State of Georgia, Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division’s National Register of Historic Places.

For the unaware, Georgia has long been a source for quarried marble. It’s not all Italian, you know! In fact, many historic structures in our nation’s capital feature Georgia marble, including the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol building. The state is rightfully quite proud of its marble heritage. There’s even an annual Georgia Marble Festival that has been held every fall for nearly 40 years.

Oddly, I might not have discovered any of this had it not been for a free Saturday where I went for a long drive in my Mini, but wound up researching marble.

Minis in my rear view from an Oct. 1, 2016 ride in North Georgia.
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