Malcom Bridge Middle School invites the community to celebrate the history of Oconee County Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Eagle Tavern. 

MBMS students and teachers have made this event, dubbed Vintage Oconee, fun and informative for the public.

For example, a group of students from Sarah Stice’s class will recite poetry from the time of the Eagle Tavern’s creation and early years.

Near the Eagle Tavern, the restaurant Pub on Main has selected a menu inspired by meals that would have been served in the 1800s. 

The menu includes a rich chicken soup to start, followed by a dinner plate with baked ham, Boston baked beans, stewed mustard salad (similar to mustard greens) and a biscuit. For dessert, there will be apple pie dumplings with ice cream. 

A pub was a place where adults could get a drink and spend time with friends, whereas a tavern was a place for the family to eat, sleep and gather. 

Both pubs and taverns were originally brought over from England in the 1600s. Eagle Tavern was built around 1801. 

“History, in general, is very important. It helps us stay rooted as we move forward as a community," said Sarah Wells, manager of Pub on Main. "It brings the community together.”

Middle school docents will give tours of the Eagle Tavern, and there will be activities in Rocket Hall as well. 

Vintage Oconee is a collaborative project by the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation and Malcom Bridge Middle School that is supported by a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Funding was also provided by the Georgia General Assembly.

 Student artwork on display at OCAF 

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s opening gallery for Youth Art Month at 4 p.m. Friday.

The exhibit features artists from both public and private schools. The collaborative history projectVintage Oconee will follow in Rocket Hallat 34 School Street and at the Eagle Tavern.

The exhibit will feature a makers-space, which is an interactive room open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Children take part in developing a wall mural, selfies of themselves dressed up as famous artists, and coloring prints of works featured in the exhibit.

OCAF will also offer a HomeSchool Day March 14 from 12-2 p.m. and Scout Day on March 21 from 12-2 p.m.

In lieu of a monetary admission, OCAF is asking that families bring a non-perishable food item. Items will be donated to the Oconee County Resource Council and Nigel’s Nest, which isthe University of North Georgia’s food pantry.

“Youth Art Month is an extraordinary time of the year for the students of our county to celebrate and display their creative and independent art projects,” said Jessica Johnston, Malcom Bridge Middle School art teacher. 

OCAF Executive DirectorLa Ruchala Murphy added, “Youth art month highlights how art helps develop problem solving, innovativeness, observationand communication skills.”

In Rocket Hall, students will be staffing exhibits about colonial life. They’ll read ghost stories that they’ve written and lead visitors through an exhibit of student art in the style of the 1800s. Students will also read children’s books, recite poetry, and quiz visitors about the period.

Visitors will have a chance to tour Eagle Tavern with students as their tour guides. While researching the history of Eagle Tavern, students were able to imagine and recreate what life was like in this area two centuries ago. 

Eagle Tavern is a famous Watkinsville landmark. Built around 1800, the four-room building was an active stagecoach stop, restaurant, and inn. After a rail line was built in 1841 that bypassed Watkinsville, the building was gradually expanded and put to different uses. Thirteen additional rooms were added, completely encasing (and preserving) the original structure. In 1965, the additions were removed and the original structure was restored. 

For more on this story, see the March 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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