Kate Ann White and Jean Elam sat in a quiet room and nibbled chocolate birthday cake Saturday between presentations.
They discussed the trolley line that ran from Hamburg, to Charleston, S.C. When Lauren Virgo, director of the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta, came into the room to test a DVD presentation on North Augusta’s history, the discussion turned to Friday night’s birthday bash at the center.
“(Trooper Terry and Lee Sheridan) were a hoot. They were cutting up with Flo Carter, and they were cutting lines at each other. It was awesome,” Virgo said.
Friday night’s bash and Saturday’s presentations were part of the center’s fourth birthday celebration.
The weekend focused on entertainment in North Augusta throughout history.
A gold record featuring country music artists Lady Antebellum hangs on a display in the center.
Nearby, Lady Antebellum guitarist Dave Haywood’s first guitar lies in a display case, next to a Learn-to-Play CD recorded by Haywood’s father, Van Haywood.
Dave Haywood’s parents are North Augusta residents.
The display also featured James Brown’s shoes, a display on baseball and movie-making in North Augusta. Members of the North Augusta Artist’s Guild painted while guests strolled around perusing the displays.
“This year we did the entertainment history of North Augusta, so we’re doing all entertainment themed (seminars),” said Virgo.
The Friday night birthday bash included performances by Flo Carter, the Savannah River String Band, The Henry’s and Ryan Abel. Virgo said about 160 people attended the bash.
On Saturday, Don Rhodes, music columnist for The Augusta Chronicle, spoke about celebrities of North Augusta. Virgo followed with a presentation about North Augusta’s early history, which included photographs of a natatorium and resort hotel that existed during the early 1900s. Both were destroyed by fire. Local storyteller John Menger shared North Augusta folklore.
“This is an opportunity to choose a topic people might be interested in, get a concentrated focus and tell it as kind of a side story (to North Augusta’s history),” Virgo said.
White and Elam listened to Virgo’s presentation with rapt interest. During Virgo’s presentation, she talked about how half of the Pine Heights sanitorium was destroyed in the 1970s. White said that she lived on West Avenue when it caught fire and remembers the rubble.
White and and Elam attended the anniversary event because they said they enjoy the center.
“There’s just so much history and things of interest that this facility brings out,” White said. “It’s not only interesting, informative, educational, (but) just to realize the work and the effort that has been forthcoming, too.”
The entertainment exhibit will remain on display through Sept. 20.