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Forest Park celebrates 100 years of history

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The city of Forest Park is gearing up to celebrate 100 years of incorporation, with several events aimed at involving citizens and making them aware of their city's unique history.

From now until January 11, the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House on Jonesboro Road in Forest Park will accept contest entries on behalf of the city for a new logo and slogan, to be introduced during the city's Centennial Celebration to take place Aug. 14-16 next year.

Currently, the city uses its official seal as a logo and its slogan is "Progress, recreation, felicity, and bounty." However, contestants of all ages, in and around Forest Park, have a chance to submit a new design and logo, with a cash prize of $200 to be awarded to the winner in January.

In addition to the logo and slogan contest, the city is gathering historical information from its residents to be compiled in a book on the history of Forest Park, to be sold during the Centennial Celebration.

The city is seeking personal accounts, family history, photographs, sketches, films, newspaper and other visual media that depict life in Forest Park during the last century. Documents will be copied and returned to citizens in a timely manner, the copies becoming part of the city's historical archives.

"We have grown into the largest city in Clayton County," in both population and size, said Beverly Martin, an office assistant with the city, and a member of the Centennial Committee that is organizing the events for next year. "We started out as a one square-mile town and now we are up to nine square miles. The city, as a whole, is want to have a celebration to let people know about our heritage and our future."

Forest Park, a city which literally emerged from the old Union and Western Railroad line, has gone through a significant number of changes over the century and a half.

Until the 1950s, the "Forest" in Forest Park was spelled with two "R's" as opposed to one. Before the city was Forrest Park, it was name Astor, and prior to that was named Stump Town, due to the fact that tree stumps were all that were left after Union and Western had filled up on water and timber to power their steam engine, which ran from Jonesboro to Atlanta.

Before Stump Town, the area held the names of Quick Station, Forrest Station, and Forrest Grove Station.

Until the 1930s, passengers road the "Dummy Line" -- named as such for the fact that the train couldn't turn around, and ran its return trips backwards -- from Jonesboro, through Forest Park and Mountain View, up to Atlanta.

Elaine Corley, director of Parks and Recreation for the city, and chairman of the Centennial Committee, hopes citizens will become more aware of their city's history in the course of preparation for the anniversary.

She said next year's celebration includes plans for a parade, as well as a walk-through museum featuring photos and historical information gathered from citizens.

"We hope they get a real sense of the history of the city and have a great time celebrating," said Corley. "We plan to have a parade, lots of entertainment, and a lot of good food. We hope that they'll enjoy the history museum and understand where their history came from."

For more information on rules for the logo-and-slogan contest, contact Sandy Swinson at the Forest Park Chick-fil-A Dwarf House. To submit historical information for the city's archives, contact Christine Terrell, director of Support Services, at (404) 608-2347.