The history of the Hurricane Shoals area is well documented in Frary Elrod’s “Historical Notes of Jackson County, Georgia”, in the Probate Judge’s Office; on the granite marker located at Hurricane Shoals property; and in various places within the Crawford W. Long Museum.
In 1962, representatives from four industries in the County — McEver Packing Company, Roper Pump Company, Blue Bell, and Jefferson Mills — jointly purchased this tract of land from Georgia Power Company. In 1972, the property was donated to Jackson County by these generous industrialists, who formed part of the Hurricane Shoals Recreation Park Association, Inc. The Shoals area was cleaned up and the Park was opened and dedicated as a public County park in 1978. Since that time, the Park’s facilities have been enjoyed by countless thousands of people, not only from Jackson County, but also throughout the southeast United States.
In the early 1980’s Colonel Tuttle Smith conceived the idea of writing a drama depicting the history of Jackson County to be produced and staged at Hurricane Shoals, site of one of the earliest settlements in the County. Colonel Smith was an ex-army officer who had moved into the County some years before upon his retirement from the service. His civic contributions were numerous and his persistence in pursuing projects to successful conclusions was known and appreciated by many Jackson Countians. Colonel Smith himself made the first attempt at writing the drama. To make a long story short, others also tried. While all efforts had some merit, none were completely acceptable.
In the meantime, a group of volunteers consisting primarily of retired citizens had been assembled and this group constructed the amphitheater. This group also reconstructed the gristmill on the site of the old power plant. The mill operates during the fall and grinds many a bushel of corn and sells the meal on the premises. The amphitheater was constructed from all volunteer labor and with contributions of kind labor, money, or material. The project was completed in 1985.
By this time, this group had named itself the Tumbling Waters Society and was in the process of getting itself incorporated as a tax-exempt corporation. This took tireless effort for a number of months, but was finally accomplished.
Aside from the construction volunteers, another group of Tumbling Waters’ volunteers took on the play/drama project. They obtained the services of a playwright who wrote “Inheritance of the Heart” which was based on the early history of Jackson County. This play was staged at the amphitheater in 1986, 1987, and 1988.
In 1989, a new play was written and produced, the title of which was “The Accidental Quest: The Crawford W. Long Story.” This was the story of Dr. Crawford W. Long’s discovery of ether as an anesthetic, the operation having been performed in Jefferson, Jackson County, Georgia in 1842.
The drama productions have been well done and for the most part well received. They have not been successful financially and due to several other production problems associated with the 1989 event, it was decided that no production would be staged in 1990 and instead began the successful Art in the Park Festival. The drama committee of Tumbling Waters is reevaluating the entire process as to the practicality of a self-sustaining historical drama.