We went to Toccoa to visit the Currahee Military Museum. It poured all the way, but by the time we got to town the rain backed off enough to get out of the car. While Sue shopped in the antique mall, I went over to the museum. It's run by the Stephens County Historical Society. The displays cover some of the history of Toccoa and Stephens County as well as Camp Toccoa which was located a couple of miles from town at the foot of Currahee Mountain. The name "Currahee" is from a Cherokee Indian word meaning "standing alone".
Camp Toccoa was built in 1940 by the Georgia National Guard in anticipation of the needs of an impending war. It was located at the base of Currahee Mountain and was geared to turn out the most physically fit members in the service. Potential paratroopers ran up and down the Mountain, 3 miles each way, every day to build endurance. Camp Toccoa also lacked a rifle range, so airborne trainees would march 30 miles to Clemson Agricultural College (Clemson University)in South Carolina, to practice on the college's shooting range. Approximately 17,000 soldiers of the 501st, 506th, 511th, and 517th Parachute Infantry Regiments trained at Toccoa before moving on to Ft. Benning for jump training and other training including large scale manouvers in Tennessee and Lousiana. Probably the most famous of the PIR was the 506th. The History Channel's series "Band of Brothers" chronicled the history of Easy Company, 506th PIR from its activation in 1942 at Camp Toccoa through the end of WWII. The camp closed at the end of the war and the only remaining building from the camp is the mess hall, which sits on a corner of a Milliken & Company textile plant (now gone). The Patterson Pump Company occupies another portion of the grounds and a monument to the Airborne troops sits on the corner next to the comapny's sign. The twisting trail up Currahee is now named the Colonel Robert Sink Trail and is marked by a historical marker.
The museum houses uniforms, medals, photos, maps, weapons, books, and other memorabilia from the Airborne troops who trained there. The most unusual display is a stable from Aldbourne, England that housed Easy Company prior to and after D-day. It was donated to the museum by the owner. It was dismantled and flown to Georgia by the Missippi Air National Guard. It was dedicated in 2005 to honor the contributions of paratroopers in WWII. It has some displays that contain items from WWII era found in the walls when it was disassembled. The museum is worth visiting for those of you that are history buffs. For the runners, there is a run up and down Currahee on D-Day each year. The last event had over 500 runners.