A postcard dating to 1945, in the collection of the Boston Public Library, would suggest this local landmark was likely built around the end of World War II. At that time, the catch phrase for the business was “Court of the Lost Flower”, for the mysterious Franklinia tree (Franklinia alatamaha) first collected by John Bartram near Fort Barrington along the Altamaha River in 1765 and named for Benjamin Franklin. Though the species survives in cultivation, it was thought to be extinct in the wild by the early 1800s. The motel is still standing to the left of this structure, but is now used as apartments.
In its heyday, it was a busy roadside stopover on U. S. Highway 84.
This postcard, from the early 1960s, shows that the Ludowici Tile used as awning on the restaurant today was not present in the structure’s early days. The motel did boast a Ludowici tile roof, which has since been replaced. It was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Gordon at the time of this image.
I recently learned that this historic Masonic Lodge (#227, Free & Accepted Masons) will soon be torn down.
Though they can still be found in most communities, truck farmers who sell produce door-to-door are much less common than they once were. Most grow small plots of vegetables for family use and sell the extra. This farmer from Wayne County was selling mustard greens in Ludowici and began the day with a truckload. When I photographed him, he was nearly sold out. He noted that he doesn’t use chemicals and composts with manure.
This was once the home of Allen Johnston, who settled the area of present-day Ludowici around 1850. It was known as Johnston Station until 1905. The Ludowici tile roof was added to this structure around 1905, as well. It’s a real shame to see it in this condition, as it’s the only remnant of the town’s earliest history in existence. For an interesting history of Ludowici, check out Thomas Houston’s essay here:
Tom McCoy, who grew up in Ludowici over 60 years ago, writes: “This looks like the service station Ivy Horton ran when I lived in Ludowici as a kid…“
Ludowici was founded as a railroad stop (known as Four and a Half) in the 1840s; by 1850 it was known as Johnston Station, after landowner and businessman Allen Johnston. German entrepreneur William Ludowici built the “Dixie” plant of his Ludowici Celdadon Company in Johnston Station in 1903, and in 1905 the town was renamed in his honor. Ludowici roofing tile is still manufactured and considered one of the finest such materials available, though it hasn’t originated in Long County in decades. Just a handful of Ludowici tile roofs survive in the town so linked to their history, but several are well-maintained by owners. This home, architecturally one of the most interesting surviving, is in critical condition.