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Interview with Ben Slade, September 23, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is the Georgia Environmental Oral History Project interview number four with Ben Slade, who is the Executive Director for the St. Simons Land Trust.

00:00:22 - Traveling throughout coastal Georgia in childhood

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Partial Transcript: In your bio, you said you were born in Savannah and lived in several coastal towns in your childhood.

Segment Synopsis: Slade talks about his childhood and the process of moving to Midway, Georgia, where his grandfather and father worked as timber operators at the Lyman Hall Plantation. The family then moved to Thalmann, Georgia to set up a saw mill. After moving to Atlanta in 1951 to attend North Fulton High School, Slade left to attend Vanderbilt University, then was commissioned by the Navy and stationed in California on the U.S.S. Rochester. Slade finally returned to Brunswick, Georgia with his wife and child, traveling from Bremerton, Washington to St. Simons in 1961.

Subjects: Bremerton, Washington; Candler Hospital; Lyman Hall; Lyman Hall Plantation; North Fulton High School; St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital; U.S.S. Rochester; Vanderbilt University; timber

00:03:03 - Banking and development projects in coastal Georgia

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Partial Transcript: And so you got into banking here, uh, in the '60s, from the '60s on, and uh, as we think about the environmental history and the evolution of the environment here on the coast, uh, do you recall the first time that the environment as such came to your attention as anything other to enjoy?

Segment Synopsis: Slade talks about his childhood interest in "the woods" and the environment of coastal Georgia. He then discusses his later involvement in economic development issues as a local banker, including a Kerr-McGee Corporation proposal to strip mine for phosphate in the Georgia coastal marshes and the Marshland Protection Act.

Keywords: Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority; Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce; Cassina Garden Club; Escambia; Escambia Wood Treating Company; Eugene Odum; Floridian aquifer; Fred Marlin; Georgia Surface Mining Act; Glynco Jetport; Hercules; Hercules Chemical Company; banking; dock permits; environmental protection; garden clubs; insecticide

00:14:59 - Environmental issues on St. Simons

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Partial Transcript: What was the, just so we can get a feeling for it, what was the tenor of the community as part of Glynn County during the time when attention came sort of--

Segment Synopsis: Slade discusses his involvement in environmental projects and land use on St. Simons and coastal Georgia land with the St. Simons Land Trust.

Keywords: Cannon's Point; Escambia Wood Treating Company; Frederica Road; Frederica Township; GA Greenprint; Great Depression; Greenprint; Jasper Barnes; Jim Gould; John Gilbert Nature Trail; Sea Island; Sea Island Company; St. Simons Land Trust; creosote; industrialization; land development; recreation; road widening; roads; southern pine; traffic signaling; wood produ

00:24:44 - The Cannon's Point transaction

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Partial Transcript: In fact, we could go ahead and get to the Cannon's Point--

Segment Synopsis: Slade discusses the sale of Frederica Township and Cannon's Point to Wells Fargo Bank. He also discusses his position as Executive Director of the St. Simons Land Trust.

Keywords: A.D. Correll; Georgia Pacific; Kohler Company; LEED; Little St. Simons Island; Old Stables Track; Pete Correll; Sea Island Company; Southwire Company; The Cooper House; The Stables at Frederica; Wells Fargo Bank; Wendy Paulson; Woodruff Foundation; cattle dip

00:30:30 - Historic preservation on St. Simons

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what about the African American, uh, land that's over there? I remember that being rather controversial when I was here before, and some of it getting sold for development and then others who didn't want to. Have you all dealt with that community--?

Segment Synopsis: Slade talks about the process of acquiring the Harrington School House (formerly known as the "Harrington Graded School") for historical preservation by the St. Simons Land Trust. He further describes other historical preservation projects on St. Simon.

Keywords: African American coalition; African American history; Frederica Road; Glynn County; Harrington Graded School; Harrington School House; Isadora Hunter; Julius Rosenwald; Lawrence Road; Rosenwald schools; St. Simons Land Trust; education; former slaves; historic preservation; plantations

00:32:57 - Linking green spaces and determining qualifications for historic preservation

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Partial Transcript: Uh, are you all able to link the-- do you see "linking" the green spaces?

Segment Synopsis: Slade discusses the process of linking areas of Harrington with the recently preserved "Harrington School House." He further talks about the scientific "talent" and resources available to the St. Simons Land Trust when determining the qualifications for sites deserving of historic preservation.

Keywords: Harrington Graded School; Harrington School House; St. Simons Land Trust; green space; marsh protection

00:35:40 - St. Simons Land Trust and zoning mediation

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Partial Transcript: Have you all tried to influence planning and zoning at all?

Segment Synopsis: Slade talks about the role of environmental advocacy on the actions of the St. Simons Land Trust.

Keywords: Georgia coast; coastal land zoning; environmental advocacy; land zoning; marshland protection

00:37:48 - Civic engagement efforts by St. Simons Land Trust

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Partial Transcript: Could you talk a little bit about having to, sort of the challenges-- maybe it's not even fair to say that, what is it like to having to deal with different personalities to, uh, get something done?

Segment Synopsis: Slade talks about civic engagement, including the challenges and considerations made by the St. Simon Land Trust in "trying to communicate" the "vision" of the organization. Further, he discusses the changing demographics of St. Simons.

Keywords: African American communities; civic engagement; coastal Georgia; race relations; racial diversity; southern racial diversity

00:42:56 - Beach renourishment on St. Simons

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Partial Transcript: Uh can you speak a little bit about beach renourishment and sort of the different issues?

Segment Synopsis: Slade talks about his response to development of "beach renourishment" on St. Simons. He then discusses the Sea Island Company and their financial support of the St. Simons Land Trust.

Keywords: Sea Island Company; beach preservation; coastal Georgia; coastal preservation

00:45:26 - Future land development pressures on St. Simons

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Partial Transcript: And just out of curiosity, have you looked at where you think the next, uh, development pressures are gonna be on St. Simons?

Segment Synopsis: Slade discusses the future of land development on St. Simons.

Keywords: coastal development; land development

00:46:59 - Interview Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well is there anything else you'd like to say before we close out here?