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Readers share memories of Gwinnett before growth

As usual, I can depend on my readers to come through with stories more interesting than my own. Two weeks ago, when I asked readers to share their Gwinnett memories, natives and newcomers alike had stories to share.

Lucy Higgins of Lawrenceville called to share memories of picking grapes and strawberries at Extension Agent Alexander's home on Scenic Highway.

"There was J.S. Adams Grocery which was my granddaddy's on Scenic Highway where the Pizza Hut used to be and G.H. Tanner Feed Store where my daddy Charlie Johnson used to work. I used to go with him and play on the feed sacks," Higgins said.

Jeff Archer wrote to say, "As a native of Gwinnett, I often am rather dismayed at the lack of interest in historic preservation, not only in aspects related to buildings and structures of interest, but 'historic landscapes' as well.

"One of my great memories is our summer days spent seeking relief from the blasting heat, (in the early '60s air conditioning was not particularly common).

"We frequently sought this relief in the local creeks and rivers. Not so much in traditional swimming holes but at what we referred to as shoals. These were various granite out-croppings that streams flowed over, and created inclines (not quite waterfalls) that provided slippery rocks to slide down into (usually) sandy basins at the bottom. Often there was a rope swing for plunging into a natural pool and sandy banks for picnics and sunning. Often these areas were micro-climates that sheltered unusual plant species such as creeping cactus and native yuccas lending a touch of the exotic. The shoals were a simple and welcome escape from the mundane, providing recreation and respite in a simpler time."

Brenda Knight, a realtor, wrote, "We moved to Killian Hill Road in 1972. Back then it was only paved between Five Forks and 29. One day, I discovered Moore's Store in Old Town Lilburn which had an old-timey meat case where they stored the meat and it was wrapped once you purchased it. They also had some grocery items. It was a step back in history for all of us."

"I am in the seventh generation of my family to call DeKalb County home, and I always expected to raise my children there," Jo An Chewning wrote, "but in 1978 my husband and I moved with our two small children to Gwinnett."

Chewning's memories of what make her happy to call Gwinnett home include Gary Ewing, who ran a gas station/convenience store at the corner of Five Forks Trickum and Oak Roads and after her first visit always greeted her by name.

Nita Hallford Killebrew shared her memory of a house on Indian Trail that was covered in hubcaps. Yes, I remember that. And I think anyone who ever saw it remembers it, too.