Then it was on to Chattanooga, where we stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo (another former railroad station) for several days while exploring the area. Our main destination was Howard Finster's Paradise Garden in Summerville GA. Howard, who died a few years ago, was a visionary preacher, artist and bicycle repairman who received a command from God ( in a paint smear on his finger) that he was to devote his art to God's work. He proceeded to create many thousands of art works, all numbered and titled, promoting tolerance, kindness to humans and animals, respect for Creation, and Coca Cola. His several acres in this small town are filled with sculptures and buildings, mosiacs, paintings and stored elements for future work. It was great! The Gardens are owned by the county and managed by a foundation; the new Director is a smiling young man named Jordan Poole who sees his job as preservation of the Gardens and service to his home county. Jordan needs a lot of help; the Gardens currenly don't have running water, restrooms or electricity due to financial problems. Both Howard Finster and Jordan Poole, I think, are utopian reformers in their own style who would have enjoyed knowing Thomas Hughes.
I'll post more about the Gardens later (after I figure out how to transfer photos from my new smart phone to the computer--need to contact tech support tomorrow).