Thursday, April 13, 2006

Barnsley Gardens- Where Preston shot Harry

I had planned to take Cindy to Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile over Spring break but she had a show at GSU and I needed to get my photo taken for an AJC story so we stayed in town. On Thursday we did get a chance to take a day trip to the much closer Barnsley Gardens near Adairsville. Barnsley is a resort/corporate retreat built on the grounds of an old plantation that had fallen on hard times. Upon our arrival I found the rows of overly neat faux Victorian cottages and the empty crouquet courts reminded me of the village in the TV series The Prisioner. I had vision of visiting corporate execs being chased by large balloons when they wandered too near the edge of this placid settlement. The gardens themselves around the ruins of the original plantation house were well kept but not as extensive as I had hoped. But Barnsley was sadly lacking in the principal feature that had drawn me towards Bellingrath- young ladies clad in antebellum dresses waving at visitors to the lush gardens. But the Barnsley’s museum housed in the home that replaced the ruined mansion did yield some interesting history. The centerpiece of the historical display was the ancient blood stain on the floor where one Barnsley scion had shot his brother. It seems that in the 1920’s brother Preston a prize fighter with the moniker K.O. Dugan was arguing with his brother Harry over a mule (a common argument in the south at the time). The disagreement escalated and K.O. pull out a revolver and did in Harry. There was no information on what happened to the mule but the blood stain remains on the pine floor and a poorly aimed bullet remains lodged in a door.

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