Jarrell Plantation’s Labor Day celebration took place Saturday, Sept. 1, showcasing what the historic site was like for farm workers back in the 1800s and giving visitors a trip into the past.
The Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site is a cotton plantation and state park located at 711 Jarrell Plantation Road in Juliette, and is open Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6.50 per adult, $6 for seniors, $4 for youth, and free for children.
Gary Thomas, senior park ranger, said he loves the land at the site and how generous the Jarrell family has been. He said he enjoys the history of the agricultural past of the farm.
“The time period that Jarrell Plantation existed in was so different than how we live today,” he said. “This gives people a chance to come out and look back to see
what their heritage was like , as well as what Georgia was like way back then. It’s hard to believe this was the norm for Georgia only just 100 years ago.”
Thomas said there was something for everyone to do over the Labor Day weekend. Children could see the goats and chickens, and also learn about gardening from their parents. He said the adults had a chance to see demonstrations that reminded them of the past. He said Jarrell Plantation is filled with entertainment, but also ways to engage in education.
“Our Labor Day was meant to show off the farm exhibits,” Thomas said. “It was focused around blacksmithing, steam engine operation and woodstove cooking. We also had woodworking and the 1847 plantation house.”
Jarrell Plantation has a new interpretive ranger on the land, Derek Jackson. His position at Jarrell is to show people the history of the site and help bring it to life. He said his favorite thing about Jarrell is the originality of a lot of the furniture and how peaceful the atmosphere is.
“We wanted to show all the different types of work done here on the farm for Labor Day and celebrate it,” he said. “The family was able to keep the farm afloat during hardships, all the way up until they donated it.”
Thomas said the staff is always looking for more volunteers to help keep Jarrell preserved and maintained in the condition it is in. The next volunteer work day is Sept. 29.
“All of this was put on by our dedicated volunteers. They deserve credit because we couldn’t do a bit of this without them. It’s almost all about them because they really do it all,” he said.
The senior park ranger said that spending Labor Day at the site gave visitors a chance to put down their phones and soak in the past. He said Jarrell Plantation has 90 percent of the original equipment and furnishings, making it a worthwhile location. He said the Jarrell family has been really generous about donating these items.
“There’s only 13 state historic sites in the state of Georgia, so Gray and Jones County really has a gem right here,” Thomas said. “We’re lucky to have a state historic site in our county and we need to promote the tourism. It is a treasure we have here.”
Jackson said Jarrell plantation has a lot to offer the public. He said it’s a great way to witness the past and it’s a beautiful location. He said it’s one of the few places left where history has really been preserved, so he hopes to see more visitors take advantage of the beauty of the site.
“It’s just a unique site as far as being so well preserved. You get a new experience coming out here,” the ranger said. “When we have people out here dressed up and doing the work the Jarrell family would have done, you kind of get the feeling what it was like.”
For more information about Jarrell Plantation and other historic sites, please check out https://gastateparks.org/JarrellPlantation, or call 478-986-5172.