MOULTRIE -- Hundreds of history and architecture buffs are headed to Colquitt County this fall.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has selected Moultrie as the site for one of its biannual "rambles," opportunities for members of the organization to experience first-hand the historic and notable architectural resources of the state.

The trust has rambled to Moultrie before, representatives said, but not since the late 1980s. Group members are looking forward to their return, Georgia Trust Communications Director Alison Tyrer said.

Among a long list of buildings and homes on the tour are the old Carnegie Library; the old Colquitt Inn; the old Federal Building; the old chapel at Magnolia Manor; and, of course, the 99-year-old county courthouse.

The old Colquitt County Jail (now the chamber of commerce building) is also on the tour. The trust recognized the building with an annual preservation award for "Outstanding Rehabilitation" in 1997. This will be the first time, Tyrer said, that the trust as a group will have the chance to see the castle-like structure.

Chartered in 1973, the Georgia Trust is the country's largest statewide non-profit preservation organization, with more than 9,000 members. One of the trust's founding trustees, Frank McCall Jr., was a resident of Moultrie during the time he served on the trust's board (1973-1978), and a newly-elected trustee, John Clark, is also from Moultrie.

"This group is (made up of ) preservation lovers. They love going into courthouses, love to go into historic buildings and houses. That's what they eat, drink and sleep. Most of the members are retired executives from Atlanta, Savannah and all over the state," Main Street Director Amy Johnson told the Colquitt County Board of Commissioners Monday night.

She and Colquitt County Museum Director Jack Bridwell asked the county commission and city council this week to serve as tour guides during the two-day event.

"The Georgia Trust likes to take its members to all parts of the state," said Georgia Trust Chairman Tom Wight said Tuesday. "We haven't had a ramble in Moultrie since 1987, and this seemed a good opportunity to show our members some of the exciting preservation projects going on in southwest Georgia. Since Moultrie has a very strong Main Street Program, we're looking forward to seeing a wonderful mix of commercial and residential projects."

"Some people are more interested in the architecture. Some of the people are more interested in the history and the culture. We try to include a little something for everybody," Tyrer said.

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