Monroe Downtown is offering a Turtle Scavenger Hunt with a little local history to go along with it

From Monroe Downtown

10 turtles have made their way downtown. Take a walk around to see if you can find them all! Begin your search at City Hall where Myrtle is resting by the fountain. The rest of her little friends are a bit harder to find, but they are hiding in plain sight. When you’ve found all 10, stop by the Monroe Walton Center for the Arts to collect a Monroe Turtles sticker as your reward. Here are some clues to help you find each one as well as the historic turtle tale behind each of their names: 
  1. Myrtle the Turtle came to Monroe in 2019 for the first-ever Monroe Blooms Flower Festival. Her name was chosen by a community wide vote because of the numerous crepe myrtles throughout town and to honor Ms. Myrtle Shields, who taught school in Monroe for decades and helped her husband, Wayne Shields, as he made the Monroe Girls Corps known around the country.  Myrtle is resting next to the fountain at City Hall. 
  2. Moina the Turtle is named after Moina Belle Michael, known as “The Poppy Lady.” Ms. Michael was born in nearby Good Hope.  She began to sell poppy flowers to raise money on behalf of soldiers killed and injured in World War I. Now, over 100 years and billions of dollars later, the poppy has become the international symbol of remembrance and support for all military veterans. This little turtle likes to be associated with flowers too, just like her namesake. She’s sitting near one of the planters on N. Broad Street.
  3.  Mary the Turtle is named after Mary Ethel Creswell who was the first woman to receive a baccalaureate degree from the University of Georgia in 1919. She became the first dean when the college of home economics was established in 1933 and remained as a professor until 1949. Ms. Creswell was also the first woman employed by the Federal Extension Office in Washington D.C. Being such a learner, like her namesake, this little turtle is heading to the library.  Mary Creswell’s grave site is in Rest Haven Cemetery downtown. 
  4. Marvin the Turtle is named after Marvin Sorrells who was a lifelong resident of Walton County and a devoted public servant.  Mr. Sorrells became Deputy Sheriff after his father was killed in the line of duty as Sheriff. He later served as Sheriff, State Representative, Juvenile Court Judge, and Superior Court Judge. As a lawmaker, he wrote the bill that created the Alcovy Judicial Circuit.  When Walton County Courthouse was renovated in the mid-1990s, Judge Sorrells guided the project as it was restored to its 19th century grandeur. It’s clear why this little Marvin seems right at home nearby this historic treasure.  
  5.  Morris the Turtle is named after Morris Mendel. Mr. Mendel was born in Russia in 1865. He came to New York in 1883, and he and his wife, Esther, migrated to Monroe in 1891. He started in business here as a peddler, and his business grew rapidly. Later in the 1890s M. Mendel owned and operated the Atlanta Bargain house in the Walton Hotel building right next door to where this little turtle can be found.  Throughout the years, Mr. Mendel, along with his six sons and other members of his family, operated many businesses in downtown Monroe. He was a leader in civic affairs and served as a member of the Monroe City Council. 
  6. Mollie the Turtle is named after Mollie Lewis, who was the founder of the first licensed African American owned day care center in Monroe, GA. Ms. Lewis began her career at Boggs Academy Preparatory High School in Keyswill, GA, which was one of the few black preparatory boarding schools that existed in the United States. Afterwards, she went on to teach in the Wayne County and Walton County school districts.  Because of her namesake’s passion for teaching the next generation, this little turtle is near the Monroe Walton Center for the Arts where art classes are taught throughout the week.
  7. Michael the Turtle is named after Michael Everette Etchinson Sr., who was born and raised in Monroe, GA. While attending Carver High School, he was a part of the 1969 Championship Football Team that has the best football record in Walton County School history to this day.  Mr. Etchinson joined the Monroe police force in 1973, where he worked his way from Corporal Sergeant to Lieutenant. Michael Etchinson Sr. was with the Monroe Police Department for five years before his untimely death in the line of duty on October 11, 1977.  Lieutenant Etchison is the only police officer to date to be killed while on duty serving the citizens of Monroe. This turtle can be found near the building that once served as the Monroe City Hall, Police Department, and jail at the time when his namesake was with the force. Today the building and nearby park serve a much different purpose for downtown visitors. 
  8. McDaniel the Turtle is named after Georgia Governor, Henry McDaniel. He graduated first in his class from Mercer University in 1856. Afterwards, he began to practice law in his hometown of Monroe. Mr. McDaniel was called to lead the commission building the Georgia State Capitol, which was the only capitol in the country to be built on time and under budget. He served as Governor of Georgia from 1883 until 1886. During his tenure, the Georgia Institute of Technology was chartered to support economic development in the state. Following his service as Governor, Henry McDaniel returned to Monroe to build the beautiful home which still stands today and is known as the McDaniel-Tichenor House, and it looks like this little turtle may be heading there for a visit. 
  9. Major the Turtle is named after Major Humphries, which was a local establishment built by Elisha Betts when Monroe was first becoming a town in the early 1800s. Mr. Betts constructed log and frame houses, stores, and a tavern known as Major Humphries Assembly Room, which was used for public meetings, dancing, and other forms of amusement.  His own two-story log house is said to have stood on the lot at the corner of Broad and Washington Streets. Though a fire destroyed most of these original buildings in 1857, leaving only the courthouse standing, new brick buildings replaced them, many of which still make up the downtown streetscape today. When the people of Monroe gather these days for dancing and amusement, it’s around a large outdoor downtown green, and this is where you’ll find little Major waiting for the next event. 
  10. Martha the Turtle is named after Martha Lumpkin, youngest daughter of Georgia Governor Wilson Lumpkin. Governor Wilson assisted in the state-establishment of the Western and Atlantic Railroad system. The southern terminus of the rail line was in a town named Marthasville in honor of Lumpkin’s daughter. Later, the town came to be known as Atlanta, Georgia. Martha Lumpkin was born in Monroe in a home that used to be located where a locally-owned, downtown grocery store stands today. Martha the turtle is looking in the window of this store probably thinking about getting something to eat. 

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