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Column: Celebrate Gainesville’s 200th birthday with this trivia quiz
Johnny Vardeman

In observance of Gainesville’s 200th birthday, enjoy these historical trivia questions.

  1. What year did the first railroad come to Gainesville?
  2. What other towns in Hall County felt a direct impact from railroads?
  3. What two Georgia governors came from Gainesville?
  4. When did Lake Lanier begin to fill with water?
  5. What two major rivers form Lake Lanier?
  6. For whom is the first bridge over Lake Lanier on Dawsonville Highway named?
  7. For whom is Clarks Bridge over Lake Lanier named?
  8. What big international event occurred in Gainesville in 1996?
  9. What years did two devastating tornadoes strike Gainesville?
  10. Gen. James Longstreet was an important Confederate officer during the Civil War. Who was another prominent Confederate officer who lived in Gainesville?
  11. Who is depicted in the statue that stands in the middle of Gainesville’s downtown square?
  12. What was Gainesville’s first newspaper?
  13. What Gainesville man invented the measuregraph, a machine that measures fabric?
  14. What was the name of the hospital on White Sulphur Road that was eventually acquired by Northeast Georgia Health System?
  15. What savings and loan bank once operated at 311 Green St. in Gainesville where Pinnacle Bank is presently located?
  16. What Gainesville radio station operated in upstairs studios on Main Street in its early days?
  17. What three photo studios once operated on Gainesville’s Main Street?
  18. What was the name of the original owner of a shoe repair store that operated on Athens Street, later on Northside Drive and still later on College Avenue?


  1. 1871
  2. All communities were affected by the coming of the railroad, but it significantly impacted Lula, Flowery Branch, Oakwood and Clermont. Other communities such as Brookton, Belmont and Candler, which were on railroads that connected to Southern Railway, also felt its effects.
  3. A.D. Candler and Nathan Deal. Some mistakenly believe that the two governors buried in Gainesville’s Alta Vista Cemetery were from Gainesville. Only A.D. Candler was. The other governor was James Milton Smith, who served from 1871 to 1877. Though not from Hall County, he was buried in Gainesville because his wife, who had been a resident of White Sulphur Springs, was.
  4. Buford Dam gates closed Feb. 1, 1956, and the lake was considered full at elevation 1,070 feet above sea level May 25, 1959. The “full” level today is considered at 1,071 feet.
  5. Chestatee and Chattahoochee
  6. Jerry Jackson, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from South Hall.
  7. Elizabeth Clark, who operated a ferry and later a toll bridge across the Chattahoochee River.
  8. Gainesville hosted a rowing and canoe/kayak competition in the 1996 Olympics. The venue at Clarks Bridge remains in operation for various events on Lake Lanier.
  9. 1903 and 1936, although storms in other years have caused multiple deaths and extensive damage.
  10. Col. C.C. Sanders, whose statue at the corner of Washington and Green in downtown Gainesville, was destroyed by the 1936 tornado. Parts of it are on display at the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University. Sanders founded a prosperous bank in Gainesville and was its president when he died. He was active in First Baptist Church and various civic activities. Sanders was a prisoner of the Union Army in Washington when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
  11. Nobody in particular. Many assume it’s a statue of Gen. James Longstreet, but it is a generic Confederate soldier. Longstreet’s statue stands at his old homesite on Park Hill Drive. The Northeast Georgia History Center says the statue on the square isn’t an accurate depiction of a Confederate soldier. The rifle the soldier is holding was made after the Civil War, and the statue has no cartridge box or bayonet. Similar statues by American Bronze Factory in Chicago were erected in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; Edenton, North Carolina and Farmville, North Carolina.
  12. The Gainesville Eagle, predecessor of The Times, began just as the Civil War started in 1860, but it was suspended until after the war.
  13. Walter F. Hosch
  14. Lanier Park Hospital
  15. First Federal Savings and Loan, later Great Southern
  16. WDUN
  17. N.C. White, Hardy’s Studio and Magic Craft Studio. Magic Craft remains in operation, but its studios are on Candler Street.
  18. Carter’s Shoe Shop was operated for many years by Thomas H. Carter. Carter was commissioned to dye all the shoes for the cast of the movie “Gone with the Wind,” for which he received his first $100 bill, according to authors Linda Rucker Hutchens and Ella J. Wilmont Smith

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times. He can be reached at 2183 Pine Tree Circle NE, Gainesville, GA 30501; phone, 770-532-2326; email, His column publishes weekly.

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