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Park to bear Goss' name

By Michael Butler

Whenever there is a question about Tallassee history, there is one go-to guy. Bill Goss. Goss has been studying and preserving Tallassee history for many of his 92 years.

On May 10, the Tallassee City Council voted to name the downtown park at the corner of James Street and Ann Avenue, Bill Goss Park.

"I was surprised and grateful for the honor," said Goss. "For 47 years, as a native Tallasseean, I had the opportunity to work and travel in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. During that time, I worked hard and learned much. I was very successful as a high school teacher and school administrator. For that, I credit the teachers and administrators at Tallassee City Schools, Troy State Teachers College (now Troy University), and Auburn University for the knowledge, skills and foundation they provided me."

In 1995, Goss returned to his hometown to "enjoy and contributed to Tallassee’s growth, history and culture," as he put it.

"I'm glad that I made that decision," he added.

Bill Goss Park

When he was just 13, Goss began working at the Palace Café of the Woodall Hotel. The Woodall Hotel would later be named the Hotel Talisi. Upon Goss's retirement after 38 years in education, he found himself back in the familiar setting. He worked at the Hotel Talisi for six years.

Fittingly, Bill Goss Park is adjacent to the hotel property. The downtown district was a regular circuit for tours guided by Goss for 18 years. He was a member of the Talisi Historical Preservation Society for 24 years and served as curator of the Tallassee Falls Museum, which was also located in the downtown area.

Goss spoke of the historic significance of the park's location.

"In the 1860s-1870s, the entire current downtown area - from DuBois Street to the Benjamin Fitzgerald Bridge and from King Street to James Street, was owned by Benjamin Hall Micou, Sr. (1825-1887), the owner/president of Tallassee Falls Manufacturing Company from about the mid-1860s until the the late 1870s.

"The Micou Home, a two-story structure and Tallassee's first mansion stood on the spot where University Electric is today. It overlooked the Tallassee Mills. The Micou property contained a large beautiful park, which the Micou Family let Tallasseeans use."

A dedication of the park will be set for a later date.

"I am extremely thankful to the City of Tallassee for acknowledging me for this honor. I hope that future generations of Tallasseeans will continue to love, support and build Tallassee into the proud and thriving city it deserves to be."