December 2013: From the Editor

Words: Dan Kamys From the Editor

The Stories They Could Tell

Jennifer Morrell

I’ve been seeing them since I was a kid. On the side of the road, out in a field, and off beaten paths in the middle of the woods: the lone chimney. Not attached to a house or hardscaping a patio. Just a solo chimney, seemingly out of place at first, but at the same time, standing its ground.

I can rattle off for you the location of about 10 different lone chimneys around Georgia. My favorite one is within a few miles of my home in Cumming. Over the years, they’ve become mile markers as I travel across the state to see my family. I can always count on them being there, because – for whatever reason – they were left to carry on, long after the structures they warmed were demolished.

Maybe it’s because I have such a natural love of masonry, but I find them intriguing. How many families cooked over fires in the fireboxes of these chimneys? How many celebratory occasions took place around them – new babies, Christmas dinners, or just little feet getting toasty on a cold winter’s night?

As life happens inside the walls of a home, the fireplace absorbs all of the joy and the sorrow, the good times and the bad. I can only imagine the stories these still-standing chimneys have to tell.

I have considered creating a coffee table book filled with images of lone chimneys around the country, and perhaps telling their stories, if possible. My grandfather always loved old barns and would ask my grandmother, an artist, to paint them. I guess my passion is the fireplace and chimney, still erect and made of old-fashioned mortar and antique bricks that are impossible to find today.

The next time you pass one of these lone chimneys, you might wonder when it was built and by whom, and what it has seen during its lifetime. I am sure that, if these chimneys could talk, they could write a book of their own.

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