Sweetums and I do learn something new almost every day, but with us, the preferred saying is, “You learn something new in every city.” It’s what makes travel such fun. We don’t have to go to cities with theme parks or entertainment venues or museums. Sometimes the main attraction in a city we visit is the World’s Largest Rocking Chair. Sometimes it’s a dusty old statue. Sometimes it’s a headstone with an entertaining epitaph. It may even be something as unassuming as a road sign.
So when we drove through Dalton, Ga., on our way home from Dahlonega earlier this month, we weren’t looking for – or expecting – anything. Sweetums said, “Isn’t that the carpet place?” Turns out, Dalton, a city of about 34,000 residents, was known as a major manufacturer of carpets.
But on the rainy Sunday we passed through town, we noticed two things: painted fiberglass peacock statues and a historic depot. We love cities that have fun fiberglass art installations (the trend began with cows and now includes as many mascots as there are cities that participate) and Sweetums, as anyone who follows our travels knows, is unable to resist climbing aboard any train car left on display. We have dozens of photos of him sitting on the back of a red caboose, or hanging from the step railing. In Dalton, next to the preserved brick depot – which I have since learned was built ca.-1852 – was a huge silver Crescent City train car. Sweetums climbed up onto the back platform to pose for a few photos before we went across the street to a sports bar for a quick lunch. The server there told us the city’s display of painted fiberglass peacock statues is based on the history of former businesses located on the site before the sports bar. The area was known as Peacock Alley before it burned.
It wasn’t until we got home that I learned why it was called Peacock Alley. According to the local newspaper, The Daily Citizen, “U.S. Highway 41 was commonly called ‘Peacock Alley’ for the most popular chenille bedspread design. The tufting techniques for the spreads, initiated by Catherine Evans Whitener, produced the technology that transferred to the manufacture of carpet.”
Here’s a photo I found of the peacock tufting.
How cool is that? The peacocks are symbolic of tufting on a chenille spread, and later carpet. Love it. While I didn’t have time this close to Christmas to research a full history on the town, I thought I’d share a few of our photos and “revisit” Dalton another time.