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Saturday, October 15, 2016  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 1C

Senoia, Ga. 1866 - 2016

Senoia founded by Methodist parson


Francis Warren Baggarly preached about a heavenly city built on a hill – and he built his own city, Senoia, which still flourishes today. Baggarly was born in 1818 in North Carolina; his family moved to Georgia’s Bibb County when he was a toddler. He married Julia Bowles from Meriwether County in 1845 and – in 1860 – bought what is now downtown Senoia. There were already families in the area. The Addy, Page, Shell, Leavell, Barnes, Falls, Moses and Young families had come from South Carolina starting 1828 and settled on farmland around what is now Senoia. It was Baggarly, however, who had the vision for Senoia and brought it into being. Tray Baggarly, the preacher’s greatgreat-grandson, still lives in Senoia. He related that there was a community called Willow Dell south of where Senoia is located today. F.W. Baggarly “bought the property where downtown is,” Tray Baggarly said. He was just in time to get settled before the Civil War broke out. F.W. B a g g a r l y bui lt t he stone building near the corner of Main Street and Baggarly Way. That building became a Confederate commissary, and the upper floor was where the first Methodist services were held in town – leading to the organization of what is now Senoia United Methodist Church. Tray Baggarly said few stor i e s a b o u t F.W. , his grandfather’s grandfather, have been passed down in his family. The Francis Warren Baggarly Rev. Baggarly died in 1880. A good bit of history about him has, however, been preserved. It is known that during the Civil War he set up a factory in his home, hiring local women to make hats and shoes for soldiers. It was after the war – in 1866 – that Senoia was chartered, and F.W. Baggarly began selling lots that led to the creation of a new town. He preached at the Methodist church, and a Baptist church was organized as the town was coming into being. Later there were a Presbyterian church, which is now a residence, and a small but elegant Lutheran meetinghouse that is now home to the Church of God of Prophecy. There are two stories about the origin of the town’s name. Some sources trace the name to a Creek Indian leader – described in a 1965 historical account as “a medicine man and philanthropist, noble, brave and generous, who lived near the present site of Sargent.” A story told more often is that the town was named for the Creek Indian mother of Chief William McIntosh, Senoya He-ne-ha – commonly referred to as “Princess Senoia.” Coweta County is named in McIntosh’s honor as chief of the Cowetas. Like all towns, Senoia has had its economic ups and downs, but generally the town has flourished. The 1870s and 1880s were boom times for Senoia. Harness and collar manufacturing, a ceramics firm, a cotton mill, a guano plant and a hotel were among the town’s businesses. Several newspapers came and went. One of them, The Senoia Enterprise, had as its editor and publisher Robert F. Jones, one of Baggarly’s successors in the pulpit at Senoia Methodist. For a time, there was a telegraphy school, and the early decades of the 20th century were time when Senoia was a central commercial area for the many farms in eastern Coweta County. Farmers and their families came to town to buy groceries, overalls, farm supplies – or even a car. In 1940, Southern Mills came to Senoia – creating jobs for many and an economic engine that kept the town progressing. Southern Mills is still in Senoia – now operating as Ten Cate. In recent years, the movie industry has discovered Senoia, and ties with fastpaced Peachtree City just down the road have also helped the town flourish. Francis Warren Baggarly’s dream continues as the city he envisioned launches a new chapter of its history.


Erik Mays, current pastor of Senoia United Methodist Church, rests his hand on the original pulpit used by Francis Warren Baggarly, first pastor of the church and founder of the town. Tradition says a John Mays built the pulpit in the 1860s. “I’m not sure if I’m any relation to him, but there’s a chance I am,” Erik Mays said.

2C — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Saturday, October 15, 2016

Senoia, Ga. 1866 - 2016

Senoia barber was first black millionaire in Atlanta

By W. WINSTON SKINNER Alonzo Herndon wanted to get out of the cotton field. Born as a slave in Walton County in 1858, Herndon lived through the Civil War as a boy. As a young man, he decided to find some way to ma ke a living other than through backbreaking farm labor. At 20, he was in Senoia where he learned how to be a barber. He subsequently ran a barbershop in Jonesboro a nd was in At la nta i n 18 82 . He established and operated more than one successful barber shop on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta and became a Alonzo Herndon developer a nd major proper ty owner in Atlanta. Herndon cemented his economic prosperity by founding the Atlanta Life Insurance Company and is widely considered to be Atlanta's first black millionaire. Jennifer Dobbs Hill, executive director of the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation, described him as “one of the most impactful entrepreneurs ever to exist.” Herndon was active in the Niagara Movement, a black civil rights organization. Founded in 1905, the Niagara Movement held its first meeting at the famous waterfall. Organizers – who included W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, as well as Herndon – pitched the movement as opposing racial segregation and disenfranchisement, opposing the accommodation policies of Booker T. Washington and other African-American


This elegant mansion, now a museum, was built by Atlanta’s first millionarie, Alonzo Herndon. Herndon started his path to wealth learning barbering skills in Senoia.

leaders. One of Herndon’s most lasting legacies is the sumptuous home he built at 587 University Place NW in Atlanta. Constructed in 1910, the elegant brick home was largely designed by Herndon’s first wife, Adrienne Herndon, and built using exclusively black craftsmen.

Now a museum, the house includes many furnishings dating to 1910. Other furnishings in the house were collected by Norris Herndon, Alonzo’s son. Norris Herndon, the second black graduate of the Harvard Business School, was a world traveler who collected antiquities and art.

“The Herndon Home Museum enjoys upwards of 1,000 visitors in a year, from nearly every one of the 50 United States, and from all over the world, including visitors from France, Germany, Nigeria, Canada, India, and Jamaica, to name a few international countries,” Hill said.

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38 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA 30263 | (770) 253-4580 • Funding underwritten by Physicians Life Insurance Company

Saturday, October 15, 2016  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 3C

Senoia, Ga. 1866 - 2016

Construction sites can be found on Barnes Street, and on several other city blocks, in downtown Senoia.

City development to bring more business By KANDICE BELL

Although the city of Senoia is popular for movies and filming, the downtown district is also well known for its history and appealing shops, boutiques and restaurants. The downtown area is home to Nic and Norman’s, an eatery that serves a variety of food, and is owned in part by Norman Reedus, a star character of AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead” and TWD makeup effects supervisor and sometime director, Greg Nicotero. There are a total of six owners, all involved with the show, including Scott Tigchelaar, president of Riverwood Studios in Senoia, where the television show is filmed. In addition to his restaurant and studio, Tigchelaar and his company Senoia Enterprises own many buildings downtown. Senoia Enterprises is currently working on a development along Main and Barnes streets in downtown. The new project enlarges the footprint of downtown, with several buildings on Barnes Street, which was formerly residential in that area. “With this project, we are adding 15 new retail spots, 10 residential lofts, and a new restaurant,” Tigchelaar said. “The restaurant will be upscale and a farm-to-table

restaurant.” There’s more to the infill development than just the buildings. The two rows of buildings on Main Street face inward, with a pedestrian walkway between them, leading to the new development on Barnes Street. The “farm to table” aspects of the restaurant emphasizes using locally sourced food. The remaining space will be boutiques, an upscale hair salon and a spa. “All of the space is preleased. We only have availability on lofts and some of those are leased and they haven’t even been completed, which is surprising to me.” Tigchelaar said there was a demand for rental properties in the area for people in the filming industry and corporate employees who are looking to downsize and simplify their life. “There’s a huge demand for space in Senoia,” Tigchelaar added.” We have people on a waiting list for new space that comes available. We’ll continue more infill work.” He added the downtown district would be successful with or without the f ilm industry. “Coweta is a desi rable place to live and work,” he added. “Downtown Senoia has become the adopted downtown for

15 new retail spots, 10 residential lofts, and a new restaurant will be added to the Senoia skyline, according to Scott Tigchelaar, president of Riverwood Studios.

Peachtree City, because they don’t have try are in the area.” one. Most businesses have nothing to do Construction began back in March, and is with film industry. Only a few businesses scheduled to be finished by early December, directly related to tourism and film indus- with the the exception of the restaurant.

We're proud to be part of Senoia's past and future!

4C — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Saturday, October 15, 2016

Senoia, Ga. 1866 - 2016

Senoia movie industry continues to boom By KANDICE BELL

The movie industry has boomed in Georgia and right here in Coweta, in Senoia. Hit television series “The Wa l k i ng Dead” h a s been a staple television series in Senoia, adding to the charm of the small town, but according to Senoia Mayor Larry Owens, the film industry in Senoia started back in the late 1980s with over two dozen movie and TV shows. “T he most recent boom started in 2008 as a result of the collaboration between Riverwood Studios and the city to make Senoia a livi ng a nd breat h i ng mov ie set,” Owens said in an email response. “It was the vision of Paul Lombardi and Scott Tigchela a r to ut i l i ze t he city's historic backdrop and charm to create unique sets for the industry.” Scott Tigchelaar, president of Raleigh Studios Atlanta

(formerly R iver wood Studios), has been operating in Senoia since 2003. Paul Lombardi built the studio in 1989. “The town gets a lot of film work just in its own right and certainly ‘The Walking Dead’ ta kes up our entire studio facility,” Tigchelaar said. “The town is used quite extensively, but ‘The Walking Dead’ uses the town more than any other show because it’s a TV series.” Owens added that in addition to economic benef its, movie and television filming has introduced the world to Senoia. “It brings tourism and has provided the city exposure that would not have been ordinarily received,” Owens added . “ We h ave a g reat product and the industry has allowed people to see what Senoia has to offer. I think the locals enjoy seeing so many people from all walks of life a nd diverse cu lt u res v is-

iting Senoia along with the excitement created by the industry.” Tigchel a a r s a id pe ople have come from as fa r as Europe, New Zealand, Asia and Australia to see where the hit TV show is filmed, or to visit the house where “Fried Green Tomatoes” was filmed in the early 1990s. Tray Baggarly, director of event services for Coweta County and camera-ready l i a i son to t he St ate Fi l m Office, said he believes production companies feel welcomed or wanted in Senoia a nd Cowet a Cou nt y a s a whole. “When local officials and a majority of the residents are open to work with production companies it makes their jobs a lot easier,” Baggarly said in an email response. “I think Coweta County, including Senoia, Newnan, Haralson, Grantville and others, is reaping the benefits of being


Walled neighborhoods and closed streets are part of regular filming in Senoia for the hit show, “The Walking Dead.”

film friendly.” Suzanne Helfman, chairwoman of Downtown Development Authority, said the cast and crew are also very supportive of Senoia.

“They visit restaurants and try to purchase locally from our stores,” she said. “The i ncrea sed people com i ng for filming – they see what a charming, historic town

Senoia is. It’s very exciting.” Tigchelaa r believes t he TV show will have a positive impact on the town long after production. The show is currently filming season seven.

Happy 150th Birthday Senoia!

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150th Birthday!

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Saturday, October 15, 2016  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 5C

Senoia, Ga. 1866 - 2016

Senoia interim city manager settling into role By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL After so many years of wearing a police uniform and carrying a gun, the biggest cha nge for Senoia’s new interim city manager is dressing in civilian clothes to go to work every day – and not having that pistol on his hip. Police Chief Jason Edens i s set t l i ng i nto h i s role as the city’s interim city manager. H i s f i r s t S e n oi a C i t y Cou nci l meeti ng as cit y manager was an easy one – it l a sted le ss t h a n 2 0 minutes. Edens spent the last week of September shadowing Richard Ferry, who left his job as city manager on Sept. 30. Most of that time was “to figure out where he puts stuff.” Many aspects of the city manager’s job are no different than being police chief, Edens said. He says managing personnel and running the city is a lot like running a department – it’s just bigger. The thing that is different is the project management side – dealing with the

various projects going on in the city. “I’m dealing with engineers, surveyors,” he said. Community Development Director Deena Rima is handling the city’s major stormwater ma nagement project. All in all, serving time as city manager “will be a really good experience for me,” Edens said. “It will make better as a chief, moving forward.” The city council has been working diligently on hiring a new city ma nager. There were nearly 60 applicants, and the council has held two meetings in closed session to interview candidates on the short list. There is one more person left to interview. That cand id ate wa s supposed to come for an interview last week, but Hurricane Matthew intervened. Once interviews are complete, the council will narrow it down to three candidates. Under state law, once the list is narrowed to three or fewer ca ndidates, the names must be released to the public. “We’re being very selective; we’re not going to rush through it,” Owens said.


Police Chief Jason Edens, now interim city manager, chats with Councilman Chuck Eichorst after Edens’ first council meeting as city manager.

“We’re trying to take our time to get the right person at the right time for the job.” Owens hopes that a candidate will be chosen by around the first of 2017. In the mea ntime, Edens “is doing a very good job.” The city has only had a city manager, per se, since 2 014 . B efore t h at , t here was a city administrator. The positions seem similar, but there are some big differences. Before 2014, the city had a “strong mayor” form of government, with a city administrator. The mayor had the power to hire and fire city personnel and was responsible for t he cit y ’s budget. Changing to the current city manager form of government took a change in the city’s charter. The change was approved by the Georgia General Assembly in 2013, and took effect the 2014, as Owens was taking office.

INTERIM, page 6C

Celebrating 150 Years!

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Everybody needs a home—and Tri-County Baptist Church’s home is here in Senoia! It was founded by Bro. Ron Whitlock and has proudly been a part of Senoia for 39 years. In January 2016, Bible Baptist Church of Newnan and Tri-County merged and became a “new” Tri-County Baptist Church with Dr. Doug Anderson as pastor and Bro. Whitlock as pastor emeritus.

We are excited to be a part of this growing community and we invite our neighbors to worship with us!

Service Schedule Sunday: Dr. Doug Anderson Pastor

10:00 a.m. Classes for all ages 11:00 a.m. Morning Service Children’s Church 6:00 p.m. Evening Service

Wednesday: 7:15 p.m. Mid-Week Service King’s Kids Rev. Ron Whitlock Pastor Emeritus

Nursery provided for all services

“The Difference is Worth the Distance” 5445 Hwy. 16 East | Senoia, Georgia P.O. Box 1270 | Sharpsburg, GA 30277

770.599.8121 Dr. Doug Anderson, Pastor | Rev. Ron Whitlock, Pastor Emeritus

6C — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Saturday, October 15, 2016

Senoia, Ga. 1866 - 2016

Previous decade has brought growth, revitalization to city By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL

Senoia has gone through many changes in its 150 years. But few have been as drastic as those over the past 10 years. In 2006, Senoia was experiencing the same residential growth that was all over Coweta. Downtown had many vacancies, but there were successful businesses, from Hutchinson’s Hardware and Hollberg’s Furniture to the Senoia Coffee Shop, and a few antique stores. It was small, and perhaps sleepy, but by no means dead. Fast forward to 2016, and Senoia is a vibrant and bustling town with new commercial construction and throngs of tourists. On a pretty weekend, downtown can be packed with visitors enjoying restaurants and shops. Dow ntow n is bigger t ha n it used to be, thanks to infill development by Senoia Enterprises. In 2006, Scott Tigchelaar and Paul Lombardi of Riverwood Studios (now Raleigh Studios Atlanta) began buying up vacant lots and some buildings downtown. The vacant lots got new buildings that were designed to look historic, and the existing buildings got makeovers. They dubbed it “The Historic Senoia

Project.” This was before the movie industry picked back up, and Tigchelaar and Lombardi planned to not only develop the town, but to make it a “living backlot,” designed for future filming projects. When Paul McKnight, Jr. was facing a massive fine from the Environmental Protection Agency for items that a tenant had stored on the site of the city’s old cotton gin, Tigchelaar and Lombardi bought the land to turn it into “The Gin Property” residential development. The Gin Property was also designed for filming – rows of brownstones can stand in for cities as diverse as New York and Charleston. “Southern Living” chose one of the brownstones for its “Idea House” in 2010. The magazine chose Senoia – and The Gin Property – again for the 2012 idea house. As it turned out, the Gin Property also did a great job of standing in as a safe haven from a zombie apocalypse in “The Walking Dead.” Senoia’s downtown revitalization hasn’t only been thanks to Senoia Enterprises. When Hutchinson Hardware closed, John Barrow of A Better Way Ministries purchased the building on Main Street and divided it into The Shoppes on Main Street. And Frank Hollberg of Hollberg’s Fine Furniture prettied up his Main Street warehouse


ing vacant. New development is in the works and most of it is already leased, as well. Residential development is also continuing unabated. Though it slowed during the recession, it has never stopped – the now-famous city is a very desirable place to live. With all that growth comes some challenges. As Senoia looks toward another 150 years, the city is embarking on another major project – a new stormwater system that will carry rainwater from downtown to the ponds at Marimac Lakes Park. Because of population growth, the city is now required to have greater levels of stormwater management. Downtown is bustling, and the city is also hoping to get more commercial and industrial growth outside of downtown, on the Highway 16 and 85 corridor, said Mayor Larry Owens. Increasing the commercial and industrial tax base will help take some of the tax burden off the city’s residents, Owens said. City leaders want to be deliberate about planning and designing the new development. “We want to concentrate on the gateway into Senoia so that it’s not just a series of strip malls and things like that as you come into down,” Owens said. “I think we’ve got a handle on what the residents need, what they expect. And we’re trying to make that work and make that happen.”

Police Chief Jason Edens is now interim city manager

Continued from page 5C

The city manager now is the head of personnel and develops the budget, and all department heads report to the city manager. In addition to t he city manager and Rima, other off icia ls include P ublic Works Director Randy Padgett, City Clerk Debby Vol k , Code En forcement Off icer Bob Werner a nd Interim Police Chief Steve Tomlin. Over the past decade, the city has built the new police station and municipal court facility on Howard Road, a nd renovated cit y ha l l. T here h ave been dow ntown landscaping and sidewalk improvement projects, and the special events put on each year, including the “Cruisin’ to the Oldies” car show and “Light Up Senoia” Christmas parade, draw in visitors. In 2007, the city passed an ordinance allowing golf ca r ts to operate on cit y streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less, and setting up a registration system for carts operated in the city. The golf carts have become very popular with city residents, and the city has been

to blend in with the rest of downtown shops, and added a parking lot for his workers. Senoia’s Downtown Development Authority has been active every step of the way, and the city government made everything possible by first developing a sewer system – all buildings in Senoia were previously on septic tanks – and approving some rather novel development requests. The city also put in place ordinances allowing golf carts on many city streets, and has constructed golf cart paths. Many local residents arrive downtown on their golf carts. Much of Senoia’s recent success was the result of planning. But what no one could have expected was the phenomenal success of television’s “The Walking Dead,” based at Raleigh Studios and filmed in and around Senoia. The show’s most dedicated fans – known as “walker stalkers” pour into downtown when filming is taking place, hoping to catch glimpses of stars. And fans come from around the world to visit filming sites. The city’s new-found popularity has been the subject of news stories and television spots across the country and representatives from other cities come to Senoia to see how it was done. Now, commercial space in downtown is in high-demand – so much so that there is noth-

working on a system of cart paths to connect different areas of town. A major new path is in the works. And the city’s development ordinances now require all new residential developments to provide golf cart connectivity to the rest of the city. T he Senoia Downtown Development Authority has long been an active proponent of downtown, and puts on many of the downtown events. The DDA also staffs the welcome center on Main Street. To help bring development to areas outside of downtown, and to work on courting industry, the city created the Development Aut hor it y of t he cit y of Senoia in 2014. Senoia has grown tremendously in the past 150 years, but some of the most important things have stayed the same, the mayor said. “Ever ybody ca me to Senoia 1 50 yea rs ago because they had specific needs,” Owens said. The town had the businesses and services they needed. “There is still that sense of place, where people want to be here,” he said.

a curated collection of found objects and lifestyle wares


24 Main St. Senoia, GA

Saturday, October 15, 2016  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 7C

Events bring visitors to Senoia’s downtown

Photos by James Johnson Events like the 12th annual Cruisin’ to the Oldies Car Show bring visitors to downtown Senoia. The Sept. 24 cars show attracted visitors from Alabama, Florida and the Carolinas. This vehicle – featured in the "Roadkill" television series – occupies a spot during the Cruisin’ to the Oldies Car Show. This rare AMC Rebel – backed in front of the Church of God of Prophecy – attracted lots of attention at the car show. Only 1,000 of this model were manufactured. Visitors and local residents walk down the sidewalks of Senoia to take in the Cruisin' to the Oldies Car Show and other special events throughout the year.


Events like the 12th annual Cruisin’ to the Oldies Car Show bring visitors to downtown Senoia. The Sept. 24 cars show attracted visitors from Alabama, Florida and the Carolinas.

This vehicle – featured in the “Roadkill” television series – occupies a spot during the Cruisin to the Oldies Car Show.

Visitors and local residents walk down the sidewalks of Senoia to take in the Cruisin’ to the Oldies Car Show and other special events throughout the year.

This rare AMC Rebel – backed in front of the Church of God of Prophecy – attracted lots of attention at the car show. Only 1,000 of this model were manufactured.

Senoia’s downtown is a popular place for events including holiday gatherings, concerts, festivals and the recent car show. Film companies have also used the downtown in numerous productions.

University of Georgia professor Alexander Bucksch gets his photo taken with some “walkers” during the UGA New Faculty Tour stop in Senoia.


University of Georgia faculty and staff, along with State Rep. Lynn Smith, far left, and representatives from Georgia’s film office were able to meet “walkers” during a recent film tour in Senoia.

8C — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Saturday, October 15, 2016

Remembering Senoia past The Senoia Area Historical Society operates a museum in a historic home and maintains a collection of photographs chronicling the community’s history. These images from their collection are, clockwise from bottom left, the Welden family with stacks of newspapers in downtown Senoia, a postcard image of Main Street in the early 1900s, an early truck loaded with Coca-Cola from the same era, a big sale drawing a crowd at Hollberg’s in the 1920s and the facade of the R.S. Sewell General Merchandise.


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Happy 150th Birthday, Senoia!

The Senoia Downtown Development Authority is proud to have been a part of Senoia’s growth and prosperity over the years.