Historically significant places within Roswell are getting ready for their big debut this week during the city's first ever inclusion within the The Georgia Trust Spring Ramble.
Alongside places well known for their history - like the Southern Trilogy homes - spots rarely, if ever, seen by the public, will also polish their floors and weed the gardens in preparation for the event, which is expected to draw around 250 visitors to Roswell from throughout the Southeast.
That's something which is particularly exciting for local residents who've long wanted to see inside places off limits to the public. Places like the current home of Carolyn Whitmore on Mimosa Boulevard that was built for the president of the Roswell Manufacturing Company in 1908. Or, one of the Hembree family homes on Hembree Road, which was built in 1903 and is now owned by the eighth generation.
"I think a lot of people who think that they know Roswell will be surprised," said Bryn Chanudet, a Roswell resident and special events manager for The Georgia Trust. "There are homes that locals have probably driven by a million times that they now have an rare opportunity to go inside. Residents can really make it a 'staycation' out of it."
Sally Hansell and Maggie Davis - current residents of Mimosa Hall on Bulloch Avenue - are thrilled to have the opportunity to get a glimpse into Roswell's past with hopes that it could lead to a better future for the area.
"We now can see Roswell's historical past in its fullness," said Davis. "Not just the mill and antebellum homes that everyone thinks of, but the farms and coming up through the industrial age."
Davis believes the more attention that is focused on preserving Roswell's rich history, the better chance the city has at carving out a unique identity which incorporates its heritage with future ideals, like and the .
Hansell - who grew up at Mimosa Hall, located adjacent to Bulloch Hall - has loved working with the Roswell Garden Club at tidying up the home's gardens for the Ramble. The gardens were designed by famed Georgia architect Neel Reid and while the home itself won't be a part of the Ramble, ticket holders will get a rare opportunity to tour the Mimosa Hall gardens.
"After Sunday afternoon, this opportunity to see rarely seen sites won’t be available to people," said Marsha Saum, tourism sales manager for the . "It’s now or never."
But, if the fact that these privately-owned historical sites are throwing open their doors to Ramble visitors hasn't quite convinced you of its significance in Roswell, consider the fact that the event hasn't yet been to nearby Marietta, an area also known for its history.
"The Ramble has brought a clear vision for how many historically significant places Roswell actually has," Hansell said. "It's pretty incredible."
Chanudet told Roswell Patch, the state preservation organization has an ongoing list of potential Ramble sites. Before making the official selection for its spring and fall Rambles, they make sure the area under consideration has enough history to fill the event's three days.
"We were actually approached by [preservationists in] Roswell to do a Ramble," said Chanudet. "They had a extremely strong local comittee with members from the Historical Society, and the . Being a resident of Roswell myself, I was excited for the opportunity to show off everything that Roswell has to offer."
According to the Roswell Convention & Visitor's Bureau (CVB), is fully booked for the weekend, thanks to several events including the Ramble. Similarly, the , which is hosting the Georgia Statewide Preservation Conference April 19-20, is filling up and expects around 50 rooms will be occupied by Ramble weekend visitors.
The CVB, which receives hotel tax funding, is thrilled with the economic potential of the weekend. Not only does the event put "heads in beds," it also fills local restaurants and shops with customers who spend money.
"It's a win, win for the city,” said Saum.
Additionally, in a first-ever opportunity for Ramble package purchasers, registration includes a meal voucher with a choice of several historic district restaurants, pumping money back into the local economy.
But perhaps the event's biggest potential economic boon for Roswell could be its residual effect, bringing back tourists who didn't get to see everything they wanted to see in just three days.
"The Ramble is a great opportunity for Roswell to shine and attract future visitors," said Chanudet.
To check out all the different Ramble package options, visit The Georgia Trust website. Walk-up Tour Only tickets will be available this week at Alive After Five on Thursday, as well as at the on Friday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and at on Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.