2018 Convention Hotel Information

Hotel Indigo® Vinings   Story

Social Crossroads 

From the rails to the river , the village charm and clapboard character of modern-day Vinings goes back to its original name as Crossroads, the cultural junction, community exchange and social escape with a notably artistic twist.

Back then, the pioneering Hardy Pace was running a ferry across the Chattahoochee River, while an out-of town engineer named William Vining was building the nearby railroad bridge. Locals naturally began calling the area Vining's Station by association , and as neighborhoods tend to do, grew up swiftly as the train tracks came to town, leading straight to the South's newest  social crossroads.

As a way to encourage rail travel from downtown Atlanta, Western & Atlantic Railroad built an open-air pavilion in Vinings , promoting it as scenic day-trip destination. Hearing word of a popular gathering place, the area's young elite began riding out to this riverside retreat for social mixers-and even to soak in the natural spring. (Apparently, this was the best place for sightseeing , as most gentlemen agreed that the W&A carried only the loveliest ladies out to Vinings) . By now, the place to be seen had evolved into an enchanting escape from the summer heat, as prominent social clubs popped up, like The Every Tuesday Club, which took afternoon tea with governor's wife. But these same folks were equally as fond of loosening their collars, with some sneaking off for a dip in the water and a having moonshine on the large boulders along the river's edge.

Let's not forget, while the families who lived in Vinings were a bit more down-to-earth, they also had social spaces all their own. Small farms and gardens carved into the hillsides were hot spots for exchanging banter and bartering vegetables .

Others crossed paths in the peach orchard by the tracks, or gabbed their way through patches of wild figs and

blackberries .. .although it was the local whiskey that provided a more high-proof conversation-starter. Rufus Rose cornered the market with his distillery, producing several brands of hooch that catered to the thirsty social clubs. But for the most potent, plenty of backwoods competition was brewed up and down Vining 's mountain and down Stillhouse Road , giving old Rufus a run for his money.

So while the elite clinked teacups on one side of the tracks, a most colorful social outcast occupied the other. No one had more people talking than Nellie Mae Rowe . The artist was a freethinking force recognized for her homespun "playhouse" studio and later, the folk art that she produced in it. You see, she married young and moved to Vinings with her husband, whose time came all too early. Never one to stay settled, she remarried and moved just down the road. It's here in this rustic farmhouse where she let her passionate imaginations run wild, while maintaining an open door for curious guests. Her Vinings memories became her muse, although often misunderstood by her neighbors. Maybe because no materials were off limits: paints, pencils, cardboard, glass bottles, baby dolls, wig, and really whatever she could find. And now her works are shown in the grandest of galleries, displaying the creativity that crosses over social classes around the country.

Today, every sidewalk leads to a gathering pl·ace filled with that locally made, modern. village charm where the romance, laughter, conversation and new ideas all com,a -together again... as the train rumbles through the social crossroads...right on schedule.

Georgia World Organization of China Painters