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Midway perspective

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POSTED: September 10, 2012 8:00 p.m.

Imagine holding hands with someone special, strolling down a boardwalk late in the afternoon at Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center as the tide moves in. Trees tower above, shading you as you leisurely wander above and next to ponds that cover the marsh some days and expose tree roots other days.

Whether you enjoy picnicking or bird watching, seeing wildlife in a marsh as the water changes from fresh to brackish, Cay Creek is ideal. There are more than 100 species of trees and plants along the boardwalk, as well as gators, snakes, insects and lizards. The round-trip walk is one-seventh of a mile and is wheelchair-accessible. Just off Highway 84 and Charlie Butler Road, Cay Creek offers a full day of outdoor enjoyment.

If you drive about two miles west from Cay Creek to Highway 17 and make a right, you’ll find yourself back to the 1700-1800s, when Liberty County was in its infancy. Midway was founded in a log cabin in 1754. One of the first buildings you see is the Midway Congregational Church, built in 1792 after the original church was destroyed in the Revolutionary War by the British.

Behind the church is the Midway Museum, Georgia’s only colonial museum. It is rich in historic documents, artifacts and furniture. You can read documents written by Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall, who signed the Declaration of Independence. Midway is the only city with two signers. Directly across from the museum is the cemetery, where two Revolutionary War generals are buried, Gen. James Screven and Gen. Daniel Stewart.

Few other places in America have so many important people buried in the same cemetery, such as Dr. Francis Goulding, who invented the sewing machine; Dr. Samuel Axson, who was the father of the first Mrs. Woodrow Wilson; and the Rev. Jedidah Morse, who was the father of telegraph inventor Samuel Morse. And don’t forget to ask about the ghost story pertaining to the brick wall.

Next to the church is the Midway Art Gallery, which supports continuing efforts to preserve the history and integrity of Liberty County by offering local art and representing local artists.

West on Highway 84 from the museum is Dorchester Academy, which was established after the Civil War for freed slaves. The academy’s museum documents the past and struggles of Coastal Georgia’s African-Americans. In 1962, as he prepared for his 1963 Birmingham campaign, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his staff gathered and slept in the building once used as a dormitory.

Midway is part of the Liberty County Historical Trail and includes interesting places to visit, such as the Geechee Kunda Cultural Arts Center, which is reflective of the family compounds that exist throughout the Gullah Geechee areas of the Carolinas, Georgia and northern Florida as well as Africa.

You also can find the LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation, formerly the home of Dr. Louis LeConte. It flourished as one of Georgia’s earliest inland swamp rice plantations and now is a nature preserve.

Other area attractions include Melon Bluff, Seabrook Village, Fort Morris Historic Site and Sunbury Cemetery. To visit the wonders of the Midway area, whether you are an old-timer or new to the area, start your trip at the Historic Midway Museum, just north of Highway 84 on Highway 17, to get directions to all of Midway’s attractions.

Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway and has written for trade publications in various fields.

 

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