Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Old Abandoned Home and Store, ca. Unknown, Lumpkin County, GA

Photographer facing NW
I stumbled across this property in the southern part of Lumpkin County, near the Dawson County line. The Chestatee River flows into Lake Lanier just down the road

Not having any access to the Lumpkin County Tax Assessor's web page, I know nothing about the age or previous owners of this property. Located near homes that are on Lake Lanier, this gem has been vacant for quite some time.

Photographer facing west
Unlike many properties that interest me, this one also had what appears to be an old store that is located maybe 100' from the house.

Along with the house and the store, there is a barn, and several other outbuildings. Unfortunately, without crashing into the vegetation, most of them are not visible from the road right of way. There is also the remnants of a stone wall that separated the former lawn from the roadway.

I'd have loved to have seen this property during its heyday. As always, I encourage anyone to leave a comment if they can add some historical perspective to this property.
House and stone wall, photographer facing north

Old store, photographer facing NW
Barn, photographer facing north
Rock foundation under the NE side of the wrap around porch

Store in the foreground with house in the distance, photographer facing NE

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Tenant Homes, c. 1920, Lexington, Oglethorpe County, GA

Photographer facing SE
This trio of houses, all listed as being built in 1920, and all of them sitting on a one-acre parcel leads me to believe that they were built for the purpose of being tenant homes. Perhaps one of them, considering its size (1200 sq ft) and quality of craftsmanship, was the owner's personal home. It is the home in the center between the two homes in the photo below.

Photographer facing NE
Located about 17 miles SE of Athens, Lexington, GA reached its population peak in 1900 with 635 residents. By 1920, that number fell to 469. Today, Lexington has an estimated population of 228, a far cry from its heyday in the early 20th century.

Lexington was founded in 1800, is the county seat of Oglethorpe County, founded in 1793. The land that makes up the county was surrendered by the Creek and Cherokee Indian Nations in the treaty of 1773, and named for Georgia founder James Oglethorpe.

Photographer facing SE
On the opposite side of  Main Street from the location of this property, particularly on Church Street, are some grand homes that were all built in the early 1900s. Located less than 1000' from these modest homes, yet a world away.

Photographer facing north.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Pirkle & Son Grocery, Dawson County, GA

Old sign, photographer facing SW
I've always been a sucker for old stores. Whether it be grocery, general, or hardware stores, these were lifelines to their surrounding areas, during a time before the mega-grocery stores. Of course, the low low prices that the larger chain stores were able to charge became the death of most independent stores. This one was probably a casualty of the market forces.

Closed before I moved into Dawson County, this store was located on the eastern side of the intersection of Nix Bridge Road, and Harmony Church Road in eastern Dawson County. Nix Bridge Road is a conduit to several neighborhoods that have lakefront access to Lake Sidney Lanier.

The building had been used for a clubhouse for a chapter of The Wingmen Motorcycle Club, whose website states that they "promote motorcycle touring and brotherhood". Started by military veterans, but not limited to, they are a "fraternal brotherhood of men of high character committed to common goals, and supporting one another through good times as well as bad". I posted all of that because I often wondered what kind of group was meeting there, and I figured others were curious as well.

Photographer facing north.

Time marches on, and the property was purchased by a group that ended up building a Dollar General Store. The construction of the new store required the complete removal of the old store. However, before the construction got rolling too heavy, I saw a couple of men taking down the old sign. Hopefully it is being saved as a memento of what used to stand on this site.

Like all of my posts, I encourage anyone that has stories about this place, or historical information to add, it would be greatly appreciated.

Photographer facing SW
Photographer facing NW
Photographer facing east.
View as seen currently, photographer facing east.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Praise Houses, Saint Helena Island, Beaufort County, SC

Coffin Point Praise House, photographer facing NW
Saint Helena Island, SC has a long and storied history. French colonization at Charlesfort (now Port Royal) in 1562 by the French Hugenot, Jean Ribault, was followed by the Spanish explorer Pedro Salazar, who built a fort on the same location, and named it San Felipe. Eventually the English took over and established the colony of South Carolina.
Interior of the Coffin Point Praise House

With the English, came the transport of African slaves from Western Africa. From it's earliest times, the number of slaves on Saint Helena island greatly outnumbered the Europeans. These slaves gave rise to the Gullah culture that is associated with the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia.

Over time, the slaves adopted Christianity, and needed places to worship. Because of segregation, the slaves were not allowed in the churches attended by the whites. The plantation owners saw merit in having the slaves learn about Christianity, and allowed them to build praise houses.

The typical praise house was small, about a 20' by 20', wood-sided structure that could hold between twenty and thirty people. The reason for the small size was because the white's did not want too many slaves congregating in one place at the same time, fearing that they would organize, or plan an insurrection.  Because of this, praise houses cropped up all over the Saint Helena area, continuing to be used even after Emancipation, and the end of the Civil War. In 1903 there was a reported 3,434 "literate black males" to 927 whites in Beaufort County.
Eddings Point Road Praise House, photographer facing NW

A driving factor for post civil war use is that the sea islands were not connected by bridge to the mainland until 1927, so automobiles were a luxury. With very few islanders having automobiles as a transportation options, they needed places that were within walking distance from their community.

In 1932, there were 25 praise houses on Saint Helena Island. Today, there are only three remaining.

All three praise houses were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. You can check out a good video here on the history and significance of these places of worship.

Eddings Point Road Praise House, photographer facing west
Eddings Point Road Praise House, photographer facing south
Another Eddings Point Road Praise House; photographer facing NW

Another Eddings Point Road Praise House; photographer facing west

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Old Farmhouse, Taliaferro County, GA c. unknown

Photographer facing south
Located on the west side of Hwy 22, between Hwy 44 and Philomath, GA, this old home has recently been exposed to the highway due to extensive logging around the house.

Photographer facing NW
This location is about as rural a location that you'll come across.  In fact, Taliaferro County is the second least populous county east of the Mississippi River. The 2010 census listed a population of 1,717, for a density of 8.8 people per square mile.

Just to the south and east of this location is Crawfordville, GA, a quaint classic small town in the south, so much so that there have been several movies shot there. These include Coward of the County, Paris Trout, Sweet Home Alabama, and Get Low.

Crawfordville was also known by anyone within 50 miles, as the home of Christmas in Dixie which operated from 1982 - 1997. My family would make the 55 mile trek out I-20 from Augusta to enjoy the decorations, fires with toasted marshmallows, hot dogs, and the Christmas Spirit. You can read more about Christmas in Dixie here.

Photographer facing NE

Taliaferro County is also home to Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy. He was born in Crawfordville in 1812. He also served as a U.S. Congressman, and Governor of Georgia until his death in office in 1883. His home, Liberty Hall is now part of the A.H. Stephens State Park in Crawfordville.

Photographer facing east
This house has lasted much longer than the Confederacy did, but traveling through this part of the state, with its bucolic views, allows you to time travel back to the same landscapes that would have existed 160 years ago. Open fields, sandwiched in between piney forests with some hardwoods mixed in.

There really isn't much in the way of modern buildings on Hwy 22 between I-20 and Hwy 78 near Lexington, GA. If you've never driven that stretch, it's worth the trip just to step back in time.

The classic old home with a tin roof, double chimneys on the NW side of the house, a covered porch on the back, evidence of a former covered porch on the front, and an old rock-lined hand-dug well certainly dates back to the early 1900's, if not the late 1800's. I know nothing of the history, or the former owners of this place.

Open, rock-lined, hand-dug well on the NW side of the house
Standing alone surrounded by the scrub trees that were left behind, while the underbrush and briers creep into the open sunny space that was formerly too shady for them to thrive; I try to imagine the sights and sounds that would have been present while it was somebody's home.

Even now, with hardly anyone around for miles, the home speaks to me, as the front screen door is pushed occasionally by the wind, and flaps and creaks on the one hinge that is still attached. She won't go easy.

Front door, photographer facing SW

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Old Farmhouse, Dawson County, GA c. unknown

Photographer facing NE
Barn, photographer facing SE, taken in July 2017.
Sitting in an unassuming spot near the road, this house stands alone at the edge of a large pasture. Across the road, an equally dilapidated barn stands accompanied by a group of Angus cows that have gathered at he fence on the other side of the road. By the intense bellowing that alerted my presence, much like a car alarm sounding, it was assumed that they thought I was there to deliver some feed, or a roll of hay.

As you travel from Dawsonville, GA west on Hwy 53, the highway is primarily squeezed by a densely wooded stretch until you reach the intersection at Cowart Road. From here to the Pickens County line, the countryside opens up briefly into an area of cleared agricultural spaces. This stretch only lasts a bit over a mile before the blacktop disappears again, curving into the woods of eastern Pickens County.

Photographer facing SW
 About two miles to the east, as the crow flies, the Amicalola River winds its way south, cutting through the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

Hardscrabble farmsteads, stills, and probably a few gold panners were all commonplace in the distant past of this quiet north Georgia location. 
Photographer facing west
Photographer facing SE

Photographer facing north

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Walls Farm Buildings, Dawson County, GA

Farm house, with visible stacked rock foundation, photographer facing north.
Sitting next to a paved road in just about as far south in Dawson County as you can get, this old home, along with a few other farm buildings, were hidden. Time had allowed privet, briers, and other choking vegetation to completely obscure the fact that somebody lived, worked, and sweated over this acreage that is located a quick jog away from Forsyth County. I have driven past this property several times over the past four years, and I never knew there was anything in there beyond what I assumed was an old poultry house.

Farm house, with hog pen (?) to the left, photographer facing SW
 The tattered remnants of the brick-patterned tar paper can be seen on the house, which appears to have doors on three sides. Windows were apparently not too important, or were viewed as a luxury at the time of construction. All of this was held snug between a tin roof above, and a stacked rock foundation below.

Undoubtedly, these structures over time would have collapsed with very little knowledge that they even existed. If they haven't already been razed, they will be soon, as this site was cleared for the construction of a new home.

I am assuming that this now slightly less than one-acre parcel was previously part of a larger farm, based on the Walls name being associated with other, larger parcels that are adjacent to this one.
L-R, house, block well house, outbuilding. Photographer facing SE 

Exposed along with the house is a concrete block well house, an outbuilding,  a hog pen, and a long building that appears to be a poultry house.

As with all of these posts, any additional information on the history of this property would be welcomed, and I ask you to share what you know. Every little detail brings these places to life.

End of poultry house, photographer facing NW