Cathy Holtzclaw is credited with initially stimulating local interest in the preservation of Rockmart’s history.
On April 13, 2003, she first displayed a notice written on poster board in the former Municipal Building on Marble Street. On it, she wrote the names of people from Rockmart that had been sent to Iraq and placed a yellow ribbon for those serving, black for the missing in action and red for the fallen that had spilled their blood on foreign soil.
Thereafter, people brought her photos of servicemen and women who had served in other wars. She talked with anyone that showed interest and asked them to bring pictures of other family members.
“If I borrowed a photo to make a copy,” she said, “I was always very careful to protect and return it to the owner.”
As her interest grew, she noticed a picture in The Rockmart Journal. It was taken with the camera focused on North Marble Street from the downtown area and featured a streetlight and snow.
“I clipped that photo and displayed it near my desk,” Cathy said.
Soon she discovered another photograph of a group of people working to raise funds for the park. There was a parade with women wearing long dresses and hats.
“That got my attention!” she said.
Cathy wanted to preserve the heritage of the people of Rockmart so that it would not be lost or forgotten. Many of the things being torn down bothered her until she realized she could not chain herself to buildings.
She did get photos of things that are no longer visible, including the Rockmart-Aragon Hospital.
About 2 years ago, Cathy got her camera and walked the streets and made photos of all the existing buildings in the downtown area. Some of these have since been removed.
“For me,” she said, “the greatest reward is knowing that people will share their heritage and personal stories with not only this but future generations.”
One fact she is now researching is whether or not the columns at the former police building - shown in a 1922 picture - were marble or cast iron.
The name for the museum was chosen by a group of volunteers who were formed to organize and catalog items of historical significance that have been donated and / or loaned to preserve them. This group includes Cathy Holtzclaw, Bob Culver, George Anna Watson, Ken Moore, Cornelia Jackson, Ann Wilson, Jean Laltrello, Mark Stringer, Nancy Feek.
Culver, who has served as spokesman for the group, facilitated a recent organizational meeting. He discussed the fact that a $1,000 donation has been received from the Ray Beck/Doc Ayers Foundation.
Preliminary decisions were made to begin the process of collecting and displaying all items.