Toccoa, Georgia is a wonderful town in the north Georgia mountains. Not only is it home to the Simmons-Bond Inn Bed & Breakfast, but it’s also the gateway to many attractions, points of interest, and year-round events in the area. For my blog this week, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of famous people that called Toccoa home, and an attraction just a short drive from the Simmons-Bond Inn Bed & Breakfast.
Less than a mile from the Inn is a beautiful park dedicated to
the memory of Paul Anderson, the World’s Strongest Man. Paul was born in Toccoa in 1932 and as a teenager, he began his early weight training on his own in his family's backyard to increase his size and strength so that he would be able to play on the Toccoa High School football team. Paul trained with special homemade weights that his father created out of concrete poured into a wooden form. In 1955, at the height of the Cold War, Anderson, as winner of the USA National Amateur Athletic Union Weightlifting Championship, traveled to the Soviet Union, where weightlifting was a popular sport, for an international weightlifting competition. The Russians snickered as Anderson gripped the bar which was set at 402.5 pounds, an unheard-of lift. But their snickers quickly changed to awe and all-out cheers as up went the bar and Anderson lifted the heaviest weight overhead of any human in history. The Guinness Book of World Records (1985 edition) lists his feat of lifting 6,270 pounds (2,850 kg) in a back lift as “the greatest weight ever raised by a human being.”
Jackson DeForest Kelley, known to colleagues as "Dee", was an American actor, screenwriter, poet and singer known for his roles in Westerns and as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy of the USS Enterprise in the television and film series Star Trek. Kelley was delivered by his uncle at his parents' home in Toccoa, Georgia, the son of Clora (née Casey) and Ernest David Kelley, who was a Baptist minister. During World War II, Kelley served as an enlisted man in the United States Army Air Forces, assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit. After an extended stay in Long Beach, California, Kelley decided to pursue an acting career and relocate to southern California permanently.
Less than 15 minutes from the Simmons-Bond Inn is Traveler’s Rest, a stagecoach inn and plantation home built around 1815 by James R. Wyly. Wyly operated the inn until 1833 when he sold it to his neighbor Devereaux Jarrett, the "richest man in the Tugaloo Valley." Jarrett continued to operate the inn but doubled its size to make it the home place of his 14,400 - acre plantation along the Tugaloo River. Three generations of Jarretts inhabited the site until the state of Georgia purchased the remaining few acres of the once-vast plantation for $8,000 in 1955. Thanks to both its architectural significance and its role in the early history of the area, Traveler's Rest was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Today, visitors can tour the house and see many original artifacts and furnishings, some of which were crafted by Caleb Shaw, a renowned cabinetmaker from Massachusetts.
Many other attractions, events, and people who hail from Toccoa make up the wonderful history of the area. During your stay at the Simmons-Bond Inn Bed & Breakfast, ask Dan & Tanya for more information to add to your enjoyment of Toccoa and the north Georgia mountains area.