Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fitts & Patterson Store, c.1928, Pickens County, GA

Photographer facing north
Driving on Hwy 53 between the communities of Marble Hill and Tate, in Pickens County, GA, this building commands your attention as it white color leaps out at you. This section of Hwy in northern Georgia, on the southern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a stretch that passes two or three marble quarries that, when viewed on satellite images, appear as white as this building.

Pickens County is known as "The Marble Capital of Georgia", with mined materials used for a variety of purposes. The Pickens County Marble Festival website states:

               "For decades Georgia Marble has been mined and used to create historic architecture around the world, including the Archives Building in Atlanta, the New York Stock Exchange, the Supreme Court, the Lincoln Memorial, and our local Tate Elementary School. The marble is also used for tombstones for the United States Military at Arlington National Cemetery. Most of the marble is white, but there is also a very rare pink marble. It is one of the few places in the world where pink marble is found".

Photographer facing NE
Thjs structure is located right across the highway from part of the Imerys Marble operation. I don't know what the exact nature of the store has been through the years, but there is a "Drink Royal Crown Cola, Best By Taste Test" sign painted, barely discernible, on the western side of the building.

Many stores of that era that were build near a manufacturing operation were company stores, set up for the workers to buy goods, thus giving their money right back to their employers. Some companies went so far as paying their employees, not in U.S. dollars, but company money that could only be spent at the company store. Whether that practice was used here is not known to me.

One would have to assume it was at least operated as a grocery store at some point. In one blog post I found, the writer recalls that his family bought appliances there.

Photographer facing NE
The store is constructed of concrete blocks, with the classic stair-step pattern on the facade. I don't know what this architectural style is called, but it is present on many older commercial buildings in the south.

One thing that is certain, the exterior of these old concrete buildings hold up against the elements. At nearly ninety years old, this building doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.

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