Rifle Range Training and Lunch
Along this route our Stephens County Historical Society guide pointed out the buildings that once housed favorite watering holes for the men at Camp Toccoa. Some are still used as businesses, some have reverted back to personal residences, and one is even a daycare now. The stories those walls could tell! We entered the town of Toccoa, past the casket factory (it closed in the 1990's and is currently for sale…which of course brought the usual comments from the wisecracks on the bus: "Guess it hasn't sold because the real estate competition is "stiff", and "Are the owners "dead"-set on the asking price?). We also drove by the town dry-cleaners, a building that used to house the bus station where many men passed through on their way to and from Camp Toccoa. Nearby stands a building that was originally the Toccoa Women's Club, which became the local USO Club during the War. According to our guide, it was a popular place among the Camp Toccoa men since it was here that they could meet the female members of the local population. The USO hosted dances and musical acts, giving the men a place to unwind.
Soon we had passed through the town, the rain still steadily falling, and the group headed for a Southern-style lunch buffet, held at a local conference center that used to be the area hospital during the war. It was also the place where Easy Company had been invited to preview part of the Band of Brothers miniseries. We unloaded, passed a warming fire in the round, steel-domed main lobby, and headed for a delicious lunch of fried chicken, baked ham, black-eyed peas, whipped sweet potatoes, collard greens and bacon, corn bread and peach cobbler.
After everyone had their fill, some time was spent talking and visiting, some folks relaxing in the rocking chairs arranged around the large fireplace in the main lobby. However, once again the call came to load up, so we boarded the buses for our final stop, the Currahee Military Museum in Toccoa.
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