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Plains, Georgia honors former First Lady Rosalynn Carter with street name, butterfly trail

The town of Plains, Georgia made a heartfelt gesture toward the former First Lady, creating a place you and your children can visit.

PLAINS, Ga. — On Friday, the town of Plains, Georgia took a moment to honor the former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

They did it by making a heartfelt gesture, creating a place you and your children can visit.

In 1928, Rosalynn Smith moved into 219 Bond Street. She grew up there and didn't leave until 1946, when she married a man destined to become the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

Friday, Secret Service agents brought Rosalynn to her special event.  

Folks along Bond Street got together and decided to rename the street in her honor. They say it was all done before Rosalynn even knew it, and if she found out, she probably would have said, "No, don't do that."

The Plains native is humble, and spoke to the masked crowd for a few minutes.

"I walked to school in the morning and I walked back in the afternoon. We had dinner back then in the main meal of the day," Carter said.

"She always loved flowers and loved butterflies, Aunt Rosalynn, and she's interested in the pollination and the preservation of the Monarch butterfly and all, and she grew up with my grandmother who loved flowers," said LeAnne Smith, Rosalynn's niece. 

Smith now lives in the bright yellow house.

She had a big hand in helping folks bring together the second part of Friday's event, introducing the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail Children's Garden.

"We're talking about potentially having animals with a little stable and chickens and a coop," said Tim Buchanon.

Buchanon lives on the other side of the garden lot. He says they originally planned an elaborate celebration, but they had to scale it back because of COVID-19.

"We had plans for a big party with a 1940s truck, ice cream, watermelon," Buchanon said.

Smith said, "They've been vaccinated, and with everything going on, we're trying to be as safe as possible."

It didn't turn out as grand, but all those folks showing love for Rosalynn in her hometown had a big impact.

"As busy as she was her whole life, she didn't have a lot of time to garden, but she got some of us to make her dream come true," said Smith.

Rosalynn Carter says she is honored by the gesture from the people of Plains.

"To have it named after me is over the top," Carter.

Former President Jimmy Carter didn't attend Friday's ceremony. The family says it was out of an abundance of concern over COVID-19.

Tim Buchanon said there are 1,100 Rosalynn Carter butterfly gardens all over the world, and you can find them in 13 countries.

You can visit part of the trail in Plains. It sits right across from Main Street.

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