Grice Inn, 1906, Wrightsville

This tavern is illustrated in John Linley’s The Architecture of Middle Georgia: The Oconee Area and though I’ve traveled through Wrightsville often in the past decade, I didn’t know it was still standing until recently. Linley didn’t have much information on the structure, but Donald Hall writes:

The Grice Inn, the home of the Johnson County Historical Society since its organization in 1977 is one of Wrightsville’s most historic structures. The two-story brick and wood frame structure located on east Elm street was built in the spring of 1906 by John Robert Grice. Mr. Grice, born in 1857 was a carpenter, brick mason, furniture maker, architect and man of God. He first married Lucinda Walker and owned a farm on Cedar Creek near Donovan. He had 3 sons Milo, Cleo and Norma Lee. Lucinda died abt 1895 and John then married Rebecca Hartley. In 1900 he bought property from the deacons of Brown Memorial Baptist Church. The timber used to build this house was cut from his farm on Cedar Creek and laid to cure for a year. Where John came up with the design for the house is unknown. There was nothing else like it around. This pattern of gabled ends rising above a larger 4 sided slope atop a rectangular main section along with wide galleries around recessed exterior walls and a first floor of brick top with a second story of wood is thought to be a Gulf Coast style of the 18th century. This style originated by the French and Spanish settlers in Louisiana, was designed to keep the house cool. Dirt was dug out of the hillside by hand at this place known to residents of Wrightsville as the “knob”. Grice and his sons built the house themselves. He also had an adjoining park as a resort for young folks. The house was built for a residence but the Grice’s, who already had a reputation for good food, turned it into a boarding house in 1907 for students of the Nannie Lou Warthen Institue, which was going strong at the time. Quickly John became known as Daddy Grice. In 1907 he tiled the sidewalk in front of the house, probably the first such sidewalk in the city. The house is on the National Register and shares this distinction only with the court house.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JOHNSON COUNTY GA--, Wrightsville GA

Georgian Cottage, Wrightsville

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Filed under --JOHNSON COUNTY GA--, Wrightsville GA

Vernacular House, Wrightsville

This is essentially a Georgian cottage with a modified roofline.

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Filed under --JOHNSON COUNTY GA--, Wrightsville GA

Georgian Cottage, Peacocks Crossing

 

 

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Filed under --WASHINGTON COUNTY GA--, Peacocks Crossing GA

Kaolin Mining, Wilkinson County

With around 8 million metric tons mined and $1 billion in annual economic impact, kaolin is one of Georgia’s largest natural resources and industries. In fact, Georgia is the leading clay-producing state in the nation. Primary applications of kaolin include paper-coating (glossy magazine pages, for instance), paint pigments, ceramics, and pharmaceuticals, especially antacids such as Kaopectate and Mylanta.

The Kaolin Belt in Georgia runs roughly parallel to the Fall Line and is a vital economic force in at least 13 counties.

Historically, the industry had a bad reputation for its land rights and reclamation practices, but improvements in recent decades have (hopefully) lead to better stewardship. For an overview of the industry’s controversial earlier days, read Charles Seabrooke’s Red Clay, Pink Cadillacs and White Gold: The Kaolin Chalk Wars. The book was not well-received by the industry, though locals agree that much of it is solidly documented and reported. I’m not endorsing nor attacking the industry as it’s very important to the economy, but let’s hope it has improved. It’s not a liberal or conservative view to treat people right, to not steal their land, and to leave the land better than you found it.

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Filed under --WILKINSON COUNTY GA--

Union Church, 1856, Irwinton

After both the Methodist and Baptist churches in Irwinton burned in 1854, congregants came together to form a common house of worship. The result is the wonderful structure you see here, first known as the Irwinton Free Church. Though Sherman’s forces burned the courthouse, the church was somehow spared. Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians shared Union well into the 20th century but by 1960, the Presbyterians were gone and the Methodists and Baptists were settled into their own churches. During that decade, Joseph T. Maddox came forward to restore the building and prevent its deterioration. Perched on a hill on the edge of Irwinton, it stands today as an enduring symbol of cooperation and common faith.

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Filed under --WILKINSON COUNTY GA--, Irwinton GA

Wilkinson County Courthouse, 1924, Irwinton

This unusual courthouse has been expanded over the years; it’s very difficult to photograph. This is a side view.

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Filed under --WILKINSON COUNTY GA--, Irwinton GA