Tag Archives: South Georgia Country Stores

Trackside Stores & Bank, Pitts

Pitts GA Wilcox County Stores and Bank by Railroad Track Restored by Delano Braziel Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

This iconic view is largely a result of the work of Dr. Delano Braziel, a retired art professor, master potter and native son of Pitts, who has worked diligently to restore the appearance of his hometown. I finally got to meet Dr. Braziel and his son, Jim, on a recent visit and have an even greater appreciation for this place than I did before. “Dr. B” notes that Pitts was founded in the late 1800s and incorporated in 1905. At its peak there were 33 stores and businesses in the town, as well as three doctors. His father, J. H. Braziel operated a general store until December 1971. It was the last business of its kind in Pitts and signaled the end of an era. (From the description of his painting “Downtown Pitts”, © Delano Braziel, 2010).

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Filed under --WILCOX COUNTY GA--, Pitts GA

Five Years & Counting!

Mystic GA Irwin County Ghost Town Abandoned Car Ashley Parrish Store Dirt Stree Film Photograph Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia 2008

Mystic, Georgia © Brian Brown, 2005.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Vanishing South Georgia!

What began as a personal project has grown into something much greater than I would have ever imagined. In traveling thousands of miles through 82 counties and hundreds of towns of varying sizes, I believe I have been privileged to see a Georgia that few people get to experience in such depth. As I branched out from Ben Hill & Irwin Counties, I did search after search for little places with interesting names I’d found on the map. I knew most would be hard to track down, but one after another seemed lost and forgotten. Part of my mission, and one that remains central to this work, was to create a permanent record  of these places for researchers and people nostalgic for a glimpse of their roots. As a historian, I was very aware of the need to document them, but what made my work take wings, so to speak, was the early support and feedback from the people I began connecting with as a result of my photographs.

Mrs. Gay's Farmhouse on Waterloo Rebecca Road Irwin County GA Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2008

Mrs. Gay’s Place on the Waterloo-Rebecca Road, © Brian Brown, 2007

And I’m not the only one out here, doing work like this. When I began posting my images to the internet I found a small but determined community of people doing the same thing as me, albeit it on a different scale and usually with far more credentials as artists. Too countless to name are all the other Georgians, whether serious or just taking snapshots for the benefit of their own memories, who record history with their cameras. As Mark McDonald of the Georgia Trust for Historic recently said in an interview with GPB regarding the scope of the work, “…in historic preservation, if you can’t save a historic building, the last step is to document it.”  Tobacco barns, country stores, and farmhouses truly are vanishing every day and with them the way of life they represented and the stories of the lives built around them. Just this week I’ve heard from several subscribers of the demolition of places I’ve photographed. And I know these are important because people are always so sad to report this kind of news. I’m glad they do, though. As long as the need exists and I’m able, I’ll be out in the country with my camera.

Revival for Body and Soul Folk Art Church Sign Westwood GA Ben Hill County Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia 2008Revival for Body And Soul, Westwood, © Brian Brown, 2008

My work on Vanishing South Georgia saved me, in a way. It came at a time when my own life was in flux and when I seemed to be looking for something as yet unknown. It’s renewed my love for place and for the people whose lives define all the places I visit and photograph. I hope that it brings a little happiness to everyone who sees it. That, as much as the documentary aspect, is worth it.

Dirt Road Ben Hill County GA Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia 2010

Seminole Road, Ben Hill County © Brian Brown, 2010

In the meantime, look for me on a road like this…

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Filed under *ABOUT THIS SITE*, --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, --IRWIN COUNTY GA--, Mystic GA, Waterloo GA, Westwood GA

Tison Naval Stores, Tison

Tison Naval Stores Building Tison GA Tattnall County Landmark Watermelon Creek Vineyard Picture image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Passed through the nearly-forgotten settlement of Tison  today, and was immediately drawn to this wonderful old store. As I entered what appeared to be the crossroads that was once the town, I noticed a sign for Watermelon Creek Vineyard. I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was grooming a horse and learned the he was Charles Tillman, who is a descendant of the Tison family. He’s the visionary behind the Watermelon Creek Vineyard. His son, it turns out, is the ninth generation to farm the fertile lands near Watermelon Creek. Mr. Tillman was very proud of this history and generously shared the story of his family and their endeavors in the community. Next Saturday, there will be a blessing of the vineyard and a reading by my friend Janisse Ray. I hope to be there, but if not, I’ll definitely visit again. I have the highest admiration for men like Mr. Tillman who return to their roots and keep the vision of their ancestors alive, especially done in such an innovative way. Visit Watermelon Creek here:

http://www.watermeloncreekvineyard.com/

Tison GA Tattnall County Old Naval Stores Building Front Porch Watermelon Creek Vineyard Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Tison GA Tattnall County Old Naval Stores Building Watermelon Creek Vineyard Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

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Filed under --TATTNALL COUNTY GA--, Tison GA

Spring Branch Store

Spring Branch GA Appling County Old Roadside Clapboard Country Store  Gas Pumps Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

This was once a busy store on U. S. Highway 1.

Spring Branch GA Appling County Old Roadside Country Store Closing Sale Half Price Sign Gas Pumps Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

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Filed under --APPLING COUNTY GA--, Spring Branch GA

Uvalda Hardware

Uvalda GA Montgomery County Hardware Store Small Town Americana Independent Business Storefront Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Uvalda Hardware is one of those rare remaining independent businesses that serve the needs of small towns all over South Georgia. Very few survive in this era of “big-box” stores. They even have a Facebook page. I say like it even if you’ve never been there, in support of small businesses!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uvalda-Hardware/140183719351995

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Filed under --MONTGOMERY COUNTY GA--, Uvalda GA

Charlotteville, Georgia

Charlotteville GA Montgomery County Ghost Town Miss Ila Mae's Abandoned Country Store Arched Front Doorway Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Charlotteville is located near the old Dead River Cemetery and the site of Dead River Church, an early frontier outpost on a dry branch of the Oconee River where three Revolutionary War soldiers were known to have been members: Captain Wilson Conner, Richard Cooper, and William Ryals. I can find no information as to the origin of Charlotteville’s name, but it likely refers to the wife of a railroad official or early landowner. Sherra Parisella, and Clint Haynes,  who grew up in the area, note that this old store, Charlotte Grocery, was better known as Miss Ila Mae’s Store. Sherra also tells me that everyone from the area has always referred to the community as Charlotte instead of Charlotteville.

Charlotteville GA Montgomery County Ghost Town Miss Ila Mae's Store Front Abandoned Country Store Arched Front Doorway Natural Reclamation Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Charlotteville GA Montgomery County Ghost Town Miss Ila Mae's Store Front Abandoned Country Store Arched Front Doorway Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

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Filed under --MONTGOMERY COUNTY GA--, Charlotteville GA

Tusculum, Georgia

Tusculum GA Effingham County Old Country Store Vernacular Architecture Early 20th Century Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Located between Egypt and Guyton, Tusculum is one of several picturesque ghost towns in Effingham County. This old country store seems to be all that remains of its early history.

Tusculum GA Effingham County Old Country Store Vernacular Architecture Early 20th Century Shuttered Windows Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--, Tusculum GA