Gallery Four of the new Cherokee County History Center takes visitors on a journey through fifty years in Cherokee County that include the Great Depression, World War II, the days of the booming poultry industry, and the Civil Rights movement.

Two mini-theaters patterned after the Canton Theatre and Howell’s Drive-in show a documentary and historic short films that highlight the 1950s and 1960s. Visitors to Gallery Four will also learn about the impact Allatoona Lake has on Cherokee County and the changes in schools, medicine, and communications that impacted the era.

One of six galleries, each covering a specific chapter in Cherokee County’s history, Gallery Four is named for Dr. Thomas Jackson Douglas, a veterinarian who operated the Georgia Poultry Laboratory when Cherokee County was known as The World’s Largest Broiler-Producing County in the early 1950s, and his wife, Dorothy Walker Douglas.

Dr. Jack Douglas

Photo Courtesy of Cherokee County Historical Society

Dr. Thomas Jackson Douglas, “Jack”

Dr. Douglas, known as Jack, and wife, Dorothy, or Dot as she was fondly called, moved to Cherokee County in 1953 after their marriage in Greenville, South Carolina. Jack came to Canton to open the first poultry lab in Cherokee County for the state of Georgia. Georgia Poultry Improvement operated the lab under contract with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The lab inspected poultry and identified any diseases before allowing chicken to be shipped for consumption.

Jack, a native of Brunswick, Georgia, attended Auburn University, where he got his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1948. He received post-graduate training at the University of Georgia in avian medicine and poultry pathology. Jack also served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Chicago and St. Louis in the Veterinary Corps, serving mainly in food inspection.

Following his discharge from the Army with the rank of major, he worked in a private veterinary practice in Greenville, where he and Dot met.

Jack worked for the state poultry lab for six years before going to work for Gold Kist, where he eventually became veterinarian director for eighteen years. Gold Kist, founded in the 1930s, grew into one of the world’s largest agribusinesses.

At Gold Kist Jack was in charge of the health of millions of chickens and swine throughout the United States. While there he helped develop numerous vaccines for poultry and traveled to the Bahamas, England, and other countries resolving poultry issues.

Jack spent the last ten years of his career working as a poultry consultant for A. L. Laboratories headquartered in Oslo, Norway. In this position he worked in the United States with companies such as Tyson and Perdue helping keep their food products healthy.

Jack was one of the earliest veterinarians in Cherokee County and was a licensed vet for more than fifty years. In addition to his regular job he provided indigent vet care for people who adopted dogs long before there were official “rescues” or a county Humane Society.

Dot Douglas

Photo Courtesy of Cherokee County Historical Society

Dorothy Walker Douglas, “Dot”

Dot graduated from Greenville High School and attended Greenville Woman’s College, which later became Furman University. After moving to Canton in 1953 she worked in the accounting office of Canton Textile Mills and later served as assistant to the treasurer.

She was the first president of the Canton Jaycettes and a member of the Canton Service League. For sixty years Dot was a member and president several times of the Laurel Garden Club and served on the Cherokee County Garden Club Council, regional council, and state council of the Garden Club of Georgia.

She was one of the founders of the Cherokee Community Concert Association, which brought national artists to the county for years. She was involved in Cub Scout work and received the Merit Award from the Atlanta Area Boy Scout Council. Beta Sigma Phi honored her as Woman of the Year in 1981.

Photo Courtesy of Cherokee County History Center

Inside the Douglas Gallery at Cherokee County History Center.

The Douglas Gallery is named for a true poultry industry leader in veterinary medicine and his wife, an outstanding community volunteer.


The Cherokee County History Center is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m.

Located at 221 East Marietta Street in Canton, History Cherokee provides free parking for guests. There is also a free public-use parking garage across from the History Center at 200 West Marietta Street.

Admission to the museum is $9 for adults and $7 for children ages five to fourteen as well as seniors over sixty-five. Admission for children under the age of four is free. All History Cherokee members also receive free admission.

For more information visit HistoryCherokee.org.




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