On March 17th at 12 noon, the City of Thomasville and the West Point Society of Tallahassee will host an event at the Flipper Cemetery that will unveil a new bronze burial marker for Lt. Henry O. Flipper and granite markers for his parents. According to Kha McDonald, Senior Assistant City Manager, the new markers are more befitting of such contributors to Thomasville’s and West Point’s history.
“Lt. Flipper’s legacy is significant and a source of pride for all of Thomasville,” said McDonald. “He was a former slave who went on to become the first African American graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point and the first African American officer to command regular troops in the U.S. Army.”
The event will feature General Lloyd J. Austin III (USA-Ret) as the keynote speaker. General Austin was a graduate of Thomasville High School, Class of 1971 and a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1975. General Austin is the second African American from Thomasville to graduate from West Point, with Lt. Flipper being the first. During his distinguished 41-year career in the Army, General Austin was described as a “soldier’s soldier.” Prior to his retirement, he was the commanding general of U.S. Central Command, overseeing the U.S. efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of the Middle East.
According to McDonald, the new markers were necessary to correct an inadvertent error that existed related to Lt. Flipper’s military service. The error was discovered after the City of Thomasville unveiled an all-steel, decorative fence to replace the chain link fence that was at the Flipper Cemetery.
“Shortly after we unveiled the new fence in March 2015, we were approached by members of the West Point Society of Tallahassee with the news that there was ‘one military error of significance’ on Lt. Flipper’s marker,” said McDonald. “We’ve discovered that Lt. Flipper was a member of the 10th US Cavalry and not the 10th Oklahoma, as his previous marker stated.”
McDonald said that the 10th Oklahoma was a territorial militia and not part of the standing army of the United States. “In historical terms, we were told the error was ‘significant and important’ to Lt. Flipper’s military service,” she said. “Of course, our intention is to honor Lt. Flipper, so we felt correcting this designation on his burial marker was critical.”
Dr. H. Steven Hammond, President of the West Point Society of Tallahassee, announced that General Austin will be featured speaker at their annual Founder’s Day celebration to commemorate the founding of West Point 1802 by then President Thomas Jefferson. The West Point Society of Tallahassee has had a long-standing interest in the maintenance and care of Lt. Flipper’s gravesite.
“For several years, the West Point Society of Tallahassee has had an annual day of cemetery maintenance to honor and commemorate Lt. Flipper’s service to the Army and to West Point,” McDonald said.
Together, the City of Thomasville and the West Point Society of Tallahassee collaborated to fund a replacement bronze marker for Lt. Flipper’s grave. This initiative was expanded to replace the concrete markers of Lt. Flipper and his parents with granite markers as well.
Lt. Flipper is honored annually by West Point through the Flipper Dinner, an event that has been held yearly since 1977, the centennial anniversary of Flipper’s graduation from the Academy. The Flipper Dinner also honors a senior cadet who has demonstrated the highest qualities of leadership, self-discipline and perseverance in the face of unusual difficulties. This year’s event was held this year on February 9, 2017 and featured guest speakers Vice President Mike Pence and 2010 West Point graduate Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva is also a former Army Ranger and Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive tackle.
The event unveiling the new burial markers is being held in partnership with the West Point Society of Tallahassee. It is scheduled for Friday, March 17th at Lt. Flipper’s gravesite at 12 noon. The event is free of charge and the public is invited to attend.
For more information, please call 227-7001.
You’re invited to A FROZEN Night in the Creative District on Saturday, February 25th. This free outdoor screening of the hit Disney movie FROZEN is open to children of all ages. From 5:30 – 6:30 pm, participating businesses on West Jackson Street will offer family friendly activities inside their shops and restaurants.
At 6:30 pm, enjoy watching Disney’s FROZEN outdoors in the grassy lot located at the corner of Stevens Street and West Jackson Street (between Live Young Studio and Trinity Anglican Church). Bring your lawn chair or blanket and spend a fun, family-friendly evening in Thomasville’s Creative District!
“The City of Thomasville would like to extend a special thank you to all of the Downtown merchants who are participating in this event,” says Sherri Nix, marketing/communications manager for the City of Thomasville. “They have created some amazing activities for this event that kids will love. In particular, we’d like to thank Linda Lawson Signs for generously donating the signage for this event.”
In case of rain, the movie will be moved to the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium (144 East Jackson Street). For more information, call the Thomasville Main Street and Tourism Office at 229-228-7977 or visit www.downtownthomasville.com.
What’s Happening in the Creative District from 5:30-6:30pm:
The Mix Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream: Visit with Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from 5:30-6:15- don’t forget your camera! (The Mix will also be set up at the movie for a sweet treat!)
Fuzzy Goat: Colorful snowballs (pompom making) for ages 3 and up (3 and 4 year olds must be accompanied by an adult). Limit 20 children. (free)
HuggaMugga’s: free dog treats for pups visiting the shop, kid’s crafts, and balloon animals (free)
The Pale Moon: fun coloring station with take home coloring books and special FROZEN bags to carry your children’s crafts (free)
Waldrep’s: Surprise activity! (free)
Trinity Anglican Church: enjoy crafts on the porch (free)
Bloch Piano: get musical with a hands-on children’s music activity and coloring sheets (free)
Pottery Frenzy: Paint-your-own “tattoo tile”! Children can choose from 6 “tattoo” tiles featuring FROZEN characters and paint them any way they like. Pottery Frenzy will customize your child’s tile with their name and attach a ribbon for hanging! Tiles will be fired and can be picked up in about a week. Tiles are $7/each.
Leap Frogz: grab a snack- Caprisun drinks and candy (free)
Liam’s Restaurant, Lounge, and Cheese Shoppe: A special treat for the grown-ups- grab a cheese board, charcuterie plate, smoked fish dip with crackers, spicy blue crab dip with crackers, or a gourmet deli sandwich TO GO (assorted prices)
Joyride: Bring your little one to enjoy balance bike rides and a fun bike mini-course (free). Children’s helmets and whimsical bike accessories will be available for sale!
Spend the Day in Thomasville!
The annual Downtown Thomasville Fall Sidewalk Sale will be held Saturday, October 15th. Stroll the Downtown sidewalks as your favorite retailers step out of their store fronts and onto the sidewalks with some of their best deals of the season. The Sidewalk Sale begins at 10:00am Saturday and will continue as long as the merchandise lasts. “If you’re an early bird, we recommend hitting the sidewalks early for the best selection,” says April Norton, Main Street Director. “Retailers are excited to offer deals on their end of season merchandise to make room for new inventory. While you’re here, enjoy eating lunch at one of our delicious Downtown restaurants!”
After a day of shopping, what could be better than relaxing in Paradise Park? The community is invited to join us for a special outdoor screening of “Zarafa” in Paradise Park on Saturday, October 15th. This FREE event will feature popcorn, lawn games, a children’s craft activity, food vendors and more. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Covey Film Festival to bring this movie to Thomasville,” says Sarah Turner, Events Director. “Screening films like ‘Zarafa’ is a part of the City’s larger commitment to bringing high quality cultural events to the Thomasville community. Thomasville has a long history of building on the arts by making events like this accessible to children and families within Thomas County. The City’s partnership with the Covey Film Festival is a natural- and fun- fit.” Activities begin at 6:00pm with the film beginning at 7:30pm.
Zarafa is an animated family film that tells the heartwarming story of a boy and his love for an orphaned giraffe. The Mix Frozen Yogurt, Smallcakes Cupcakery, The Billiard Academy and Grassroots will all be on-site with delicious dining options available for purchase. Popcorn and all outdoor activities including the film are free; no tickets are required. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy an evening in Paradise Park!
Spend the day with us in Thomasville this Saturday, October 15th!
If You Go:
What: Sidewalk Sale + Downtown Movie Night
When: Saturday, October 15th (Sale begins at 10:00am, Paradise Park opens at 6:00pm for activities with film beginning at 7:30pm)
Where: Sidewalk Sale- Downtown Thomasville; Downtown Movie Night- Paradise Park
Burning cinders and ashes envelop the city; Thomasville is in flames. The beautiful and famous resort hotel, the Piney Woods Hotel, is gone, leaving nothing but a framework of the landmark that once was. The cause of this April 1906 Thomasville tragedy remains unknown. Join the Thomas County Historical Society, and our cast of “witnesses” in the investigation of the ruinous fire at our 14th Annual Fundraising Dinner.
The Piney Woods Hotel opened in 1885 on property deeded by S. Alexander Smith and was located along the railroad tracks at Paradise Park. In its more than twenty years of operation, thousands of vacationers enjoyed stays in its luxurious rooms. At its height, the Hotel could accommodate roughly 300 guests and was one of the most popular resort hotels in the South. Declining visitation around the turn of the century resulted in the auction of the hotel’s contents in 1905. The Hotel did not re-open for the 1906 “season” and a mysterious fire, described as “incendiary” in origin, destroyed the large hotel as well as several surrounding structures before spreading to the neighboring Sandy Bottom district. The catastrophic fire resulted in more than 100,000 dollars in damages–nearly 2.5 million dollars in today’s currency!
Join us for a delicious dinner under the stars catered by J.B. Crumbs and bid on luxury items at our live auction. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Thomas County Historical Society and help us to ensure that the appreciation of our unique history remains an intrinsic and unbroken thread.
Mystery at the Museum: The Burning of the Piney Woods Hotel. Saturday, October 15th
Tickets are available at shop.thomascountyhistory.org. Tickets are $100 each or guests may purchase tables of 8 for $750. Portions of each reservation are tax deductible. Thank you for your support, we look forward to seeing you there!