The 2021 Magnolia Ball not only raised more than $60,000 for Bulloch Hall, but also honored the work of longtime Bulloch Hall site coordinator and Magnolia Ball chair, Pamela S. Billingsley.
Each year, the ball serves as the primary fundraiser for Friends of Bulloch Inc., the nonprofit dedicated to restoring, preserving and interpreting historic Bulloch Hall. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year’s ball was virtual. This year’s June 19 ball at the Atlanta Country Club was in-person, boasting around 200 guests, live music, live and silent auctions and a three course meal.
Billingsley, the long time Site Coordinator for Bulloch Hall and former Magnolia Ball chair, retired after 31 years dedicated to Bulloch Hall.
“All of you here know the story of Bulloch Hall,” Friends of Bulloch, Inc. president Bob Hagan said at the event. “You know Bulloch Hall is a national treasure and it is Roswell’s treasure, but you know who’s treasure it really, really is — is Ms. Pam Billingsley. This lady has given her heart and soul, and most of her life to this national treasure.”
Billingsley received the Historic Recognition Award from the Martha Stewart Bulloch Chapter of the DAR for Preservation, as well as the Remarkable Women Award from the Leitalift Foundation in Roswell. Billingsley has served on the board of the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries for two terms, was a member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, successfully created many programs and events and was instrumental in the reconstruction of all the outbuildings from the Bulloch period.
During the ball, Roswell Mayor Lori Henry also spoke on Billingsley’s commitment to Bulloch Hall and Roswell.
“I just want to thank you and your family for all the time you put together Bulloch Hall to make it prosper and help the city prosper in these historic times,” Henry said. “I can’t thank you enough.”
Henry continued on the read a proclamation for “everything she has done for the city of Roswell, for Bulloch Hall.”
Billingsley recalled how she began at Bulloch Hall April 1, 1989, where she met Bill Gray, past president of the Roswell Historic Preservation Committee.
“Our heart remains at Bulloch Hall and for me, it always will,” Billingsley said. “As Bill Gray said, ‘We had a great run.’ Thank you so much.”
The Magnolia Ball also paid homage to the Bulloch family’s Scottish ancestry through tartans displayed throughout the ballroom. Descendants of the Bulloch family originated form Baldernock, Scotland, located seven miles north of Glasgow. Modern Baldernock is home to less than 1,000 residents and is largely farmland. Descendants of the Bulloch family are buried at Baldernock Parish Church.
Roswell Presbyterian Church loaned its authentic clan tartan banners of the Roswell founding families for the event.
The money raised will help restore the area known as Orchard Hill and extending and improving the Nature Trail. A gazebo, pond, fountain, dock and bridge have been completed. Orchard Hill will be a water conservation demonstration area with a natural amphitheater and a stone and timber entrance.
The 2021 plans are to finish the timber frame blacksmith shop. This building is slated to house supplies as well as double as additional space for events. Preliminary meetings with contractors are underway for the new entrance to Orchard Hill.