I believe this was built in the late 19th century, when Long County was still a part of Liberty County. It was the home of longtime Ludowici merhcants Rufus & Ernestine Smiley.
Tag Archives: Ludowici GA
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.
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: