banjo owned by patricia smart
Banjo © Author Adventures

“Once ’pon a time,” said Uncle Remus to the little boy—“But when was once upon a time?” the child interrupted to ask. The old man smiled. “I speck ’twuz one time er two times, er maybe a time an’ a half,” so begins a classic Joel Chandler Harris story.

If you have a rural background in your family history, these old tales will tug on your heart like a thumb pick to a banjo string. The Wren’s Nest in Atlanta may be the sweetest Author Adventure site in the South. Maybe even nationwide. The home of Joel Chandler Harris, it is the oldest historic home museum in Atlanta.

Be sure and read up on Uncle Remus stories at uncleremus.com before visiting. Interestingly, Harris attended a lecture of a Tulane University professor and scholar named Alcee Fortier when he discovered that the African stories that slaves had told Fortier were similar to the ones passed down to him by his elders. These are the stories that he published under the Uncle Remus name.

We like this description of the Wren’s Nest found in the Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums by Franklin D. Vagnone and Deborah E. Ryan (2016):

“Director of the House, Lain Shakespear, says, ‘We’re letting people know the full story, instead of the story that’s been told by other people. We talk about it. We don’t sweep it under the rug.’ By preserving both the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris AND the heritage of African American folklore, the HHM [Historic House Museum] has become an educational resource for the city of Atlanta.”

The Wren’s Nest is the second stop on our Georgia Trail!

Patricia Smart