Monday, October 15, 2012

Kim Basinger Bought Braselton, Georgia

Kim Basinger Bought Braselton, Georgia, Herbert Braselton, a 69-year-old member of the family that for 113 years has owned this town except for 200 acres or so, said today he was satisfied that the family had done the right thing by selling it.

''I wouldn't have voted for this if I anticipated that it wouldn't be good for everyone,'' Mr. Braselton said, showing a letter from the buyer assuring the Braseltons that all America would now know who they are and where Braselton is (53 miles north of Atlanta).

''She kind of struck a tender note in our hearts with that,'' Mr. Braselton said.

She is Kim Basinger, the actress. On Monday the 24 family members who own stock in Braselton Brothers Inc. decided that they would sell 1,751 acres of the 2,000-acre town to Ms. Basinger and a group of other investors for $20 million. Ms. Basinger, a native of north Georgia who has been in films like ''The Natural'' and ''9 1/2 Weeks,'' was interested in developing the Braseltons' farmland as a tourist attraction, commercial center and a possible site for film studios, said her mother, Ann Basinger of Athens.

Cradle to grave, life in this town of 500 people has gone on under the paternal gaze and hand of a Braselton since anyone can remember, said Otis McNeal, a resident for 35 years.

Such dominance by one family is not unusual. In this region, economies and lore once revolved around vast family-owned plantations and Gothic tales of the generations in the big house. The president of the Jackson County Historical Society, Ralph Freeman, said Braselton was ''just a family business big enough to be a town.'' Others suggested that it was more than that because it had existed virtually unchanged for so long.

Stephenie Huber, 18 years old, who works in the Braselton Supermarket, called the sale ''sad - like the passing of an era.''

Mary Lewis, whose family has deep roots here, was indignant. ''I don't feel sold,'' she said.

Terry Kitchens, who operates a garage he rents from the Braseltons, said that it would be just fine if Ms. Basinger ''moves down here too.''

''It's got to be better because the place has gotten kind of rundown,'' said Mr. McNeal, pointing down the town's main street and its several ramshackle, vacant buildings.

Family members always had the biggest stake in the town. They rarely sold the cotton-growing land. That would give others a stake. Even today, said Mr. Kitchens, small business leans heavily on the Braseltons, who are the landlord and the bank.
Title: Kim Basinger Bought Braselton, Georgia
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