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05 December, 2011

MonkeyTown, Georgia

Did you know that a hop, skip, and jump away from ATCO, just under the railroad trestle bridge is a place we oldies but goodies call "Monkeytown?"

The story behind the name of this tiny community, which is also called Fairview, is still, to this day, debated among ATCO Kids and others around town.

Recently a group of us 'old' kids who know what we're talking about and definitely have an opinion, chatted a bit about the history of Monkeytown on Facebook.

A few of the 'stories' from my friends are below:
"I heard that a circus train derailed there and a bunch of monkeys got lose true or not i don't really know."
"I heard this man had a monkey that lived there, and it got lose."
"My grandmother, who lived there her whole married life, said a truck driver left a monkey at the rock store across from Jim's Barber Shop, and truck drivers on the CB radio would say, "I am stopping at Monkey Town for a bite," on the CB, and everyone started calling it that name." 
"Ok, then in the words of Miss XXX, "Son, those are all cute little stories but not a word of them true." She told me sitting on her porch in Monkey Town that her relative - I think it was an uncle, had a gas station across the street from the barber shop, that I think was "Taylors" grocery store before that! If you went to Florida from up north you traveled down OLD 41 (AKA) Cassville Rd, and if you filled your car up with gasoline you could walk behind the gas station and look at the BABOON they had in the cage in the back !!!! Thus the name Monkey Town !!! You know, down there where they have that "MONKEY," the gas station set next to a store that that was beside Tilleys Garage and car dealership that set across the street from the hardware/ butcher shop, that was just down the street from the barber shop in Monkey Town......... 
Yes, we all know how to give GREAT directions to anywhere you need to go!
"NO trains derailed, No organ grinders died and no monkeys were set free... just a baboon in a cage behind a gas station! Miss XXX kept a baboon in a cage behind her house for years. I asked if it was the same one, and she said, "Lord no, son; The first one is long gone before you were born." she chuckled and rocked on her porch!"
And as the conversation got a bit more 'frisky...'
"I think we can all agree the monkeys came from a circus. I have never heard of a train derailing, though. My great grandmother was 96 when she passed more than 20 years ago. Her story was a traveling circus stopped to camp for the night, and somehow the monkeys got loose. She said it took the better part of a week to round them all up. I can still hear her saying, "Thay was everywhere just swinging in the trees. It was the darndest thing you ever seed" The circus had to leave without them, but some men stayed behind to finish rounding them up."
"That may very well be the true way it happened!!! BUT I work with the animals, and all the monkeys I have worked with were ten times smarter than a dog, and their owners just talk to them like kinder-gardeners, and they come to them. I asked Miss XXX about the Circus wagon, and she just chuckled and said, "Cute story, but no wagon no Circus!" We used to go down as kids and feed her baboon candy thru the cage 40 years ago."
"My dad told me the circus story as well when i was a kid, and I took it to the bank 'cause daddy said!!!!!!!" 
"Everyone else has told their version so I will tell mine. I heard as a kid that the man who lived in what later became the Barbershop, had monkeys and that's how it got the name. 
"My mom always told me there was a man who lived there who had one of those monkeys on a chain, and the man played an organ or whatever ...if the kids didn't give the monkey enough money, the monkey would viciously attack them to the delight of all the other kids watching ...the way she told it led me to believe that she probably had witnessed this firsthand."
"The old folk could tell us any thing back then and we would believe them. I don't know if Grandmaw's story was true are not, but she made it interesting, and she made me laugh when she told it. I could visualize those monkeys swinging in the trees while 2 old guys tried to coax them down with bananas and while people watched and laughed at them. That was how she told it." 
"There had to be a monkey somewhere. On a train, on a chain, in a tree, in a truck or a Baboon in a cage where he had been stuck. There was a monkey somewhere, or I'll be a Monkey's Uncle."
"Y'all believe whichever story u want for me, I'm gonna believe mom's story ...she would have turned 101 in a couple of weeks back had she lived, so i'm going with her story because it is probably the oldest in origin : )"
"My mom just talked to a XXX, whose family has always lived in Monkey Town. The derailed Circus train story is true - it happened in the 50's. The monkeys got out into the neighborhood, and it has since been called Monkey Town."
"Fairview was called monkeytown wayyyy b4 the 50's ....just saying ....there was a circus train that derailed near Silver Springs, Fla. ...those monkeys are still there .... I'm wondering if the two stories got crossed up." 
"I have always listened to my elders, so who really knows. XXX has always lived over there so maybe he is right."
"If there was a circus train overturned in the 1950's there should be a newspaper article about it in the Tribune archives ....when i see that article, I will accept it as the truth ...until then I am just going to have my doubts."
"Dad told me (I think) they bought the place in 46 and moved up in 47 with a tmodel and two pairs of mules hauling lumber from the home place in Allatoona. I did not get on the scene until 63 and every thing before 68 or 70 is hearsay anyway, 'cause I dont remember any of it! "
"Well, the brick on the chimney was marked 1949, that's what I was going by and it was all before my time!" 
And then one of us had a GREAT IDEA!
"We need to meet at the library. Bring your coffee."
But it was short-lived...
"That was the original story. I was told an organ grinder (man with load of monkeys) wrecked his wagon. My grandmother was 97 when she died. That was 20 years ago. She told me her story. Who do you thinks story is the oldest?" 
"Still waiting on that newspaper article .... the only story that matters is the one based on facts and / or an eyewittness account ....I think i got them both from my mom's story. : )"
"If you get a newspaper article, please, please post. Until then I'm gona believe there were monkeys swinging in the trees back in the late 1800s or early 1900s. She was so old I don't think she really knew her own age. Truth are not, her story was fun, and that's what counts to us. You guys have great storys too." 
"To change the whole name of Fairvew to Monkeytown there had to be least one. My children have never even heard of Fairvew until I posted this. My youngest is 34. My granddaughter is 16. Now they're asking questions." 
"I was told the post office changed the name from Monkey Town to Fairview. I was told that years ago. It's Fairview Street in Monkey Town..."
"I was under the impression that Fairview was never an incorporated community, and like my home turf in Sugar Valley, always under the jurisdiction of the mail service in Cartersville ...I don't think it was ever officially named Monkeytown on any level .... i just think that was a nickname."
"After we solve the mystery of Monkeytown, lets move on to Haytown, Dogtown, Slabtown and Mechanicsville." 
"This just in...the now famous stillson wrench ( a.k.a. monkey wrench ) was patented on this date in 1896 .... according to a little old lady whose aunt had a cousin that lived in Fairview Ga. For a short while it was invented there, and thus the little hamlet became known as monkey wrench town but was later just shortened to Monkeytown at 11. : )" 
So now YOU know what WE know about "MonkeyTown, Georgia!

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