Eufaula Newspaperman & City Advocate Passes Away - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Eufaula Newspaperman & City Advocate Passes Away

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Joel Smith was more than a man about town in Eufaula.

"He was the backbone," according to Jan Snead.

"Joel is a local icon," Charlie Schaeffer said.

As meaningful to Eufaula as the homes that line its historic district, Smith made the news, literally.

Folks in Eufaula read Smith's work for nearly half a century.

He was the publisher of the Eufaula Tribune for 48 years, but his most famous work made it to an even bigger stage.

Smith was instrumental in restoring the now famous "Shorter Mansion" in downtown Eufaula.

It was featured in the 2002 movie, "Sweet Home Alabama."

"I can't even imagine this mansion without him," Snead, director of the mansion said.

He stepped forward to help purchase the home in foreclosure in the 1960's.

Current Eufaula Heritage Association President Charlie Schaeffer calls it the most recognizable building in Eufaula.

"The beauty of this town, the homes, the unique personality that this town has, has a lot to do with the leadership of Joel Smith making that happen," Schaeffer said.

While Smith made a living reporting the news, his legacy won't be the written word.

Just like the beautiful homes in Eufaula, Smith was a fixture, something that will be truly preserved.

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