The Old Ruskin Church, Circa 1895

the old ruskin church ware county ga landmark photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

Colonization movements were very popular in that last decade of the 19th century, bringing large numbers of people with shared values together to create a world of their own vision. Ruskin was an example of such a place, named for John Ruskin who came from England with the hopes of establishing an agrarian utopia. Founded in 1898, the colony survived for just three years before individuals decided to go their own way. Some reports suggest that Ruskin was a large and thriving community, though much of this seems apocryphal, considering the community was attempting to attract settlers. (I’d like to thank Sharman Southall, historian for the Georgia Department of Transportation, for bringing much of this history to my attention).  The church predates the Ruskin experiment by a few years. It’s thought to have been built by a Methodist congregation serving the nearby lost community of Duke but will likely be known forever as the Old Ruskin Church. It has recently been restored and is well-maintained to this day. Its survival of historic wildfires a few years ago is nothing short of miraculous and is quite inspiring.


Filed under --WARE COUNTY GA--, Ruskin GA

23 responses to “The Old Ruskin Church, Circa 1895

  1. To: Melissa Reyes – yes there would have been a fireplace in a tobacco barn. It was kept at a constant temperature in order to cure and dry the tobacco. Someone usually spent the night to watch over and maintain the fire.

  2. Kimberly Long

    I am very interested in this for a wedding. But how can I get in contact with this Church?

  3. Amanda

    Does anyone have a contact for this place? I am looking to get in touch with who owns or uses it.

  4. Pingback: Ezekiel New Congregational Methodist Church, 1874, Ware County | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  5. olyvia english

    I would love to get married here if at all possible!!! Does anyone know contact info for this church?!

  6. Sharman Southall

    I am doing research on the history of this church for the congregation. If anyone has any information, old photos of the church, or just great memories, please contact me.

    • my great grandfather, Cornilus Broughton, I was told, owned the town of Ruskin. He lived down the dirt road to the right next to the property of the church. Go all the way back and you’ll pass a house with pecan trees all over the yard. (My kinfolk use to live on that property). Then you’ll come to railroad tracks. On the tracks beside the fence my grandfather lived wi8th family (my grandmother). They walked to that church. She told me the men and women to not sit beside each other but opposite sides.. They would have church picnics on the grounds. They had to leave the area when the depression hit. I took my grandmother back there a couple of times. I have great pictures and memories of her and especially about the little town of Ruskin.

  7. Cathee Boswell

    A few years ago after the swamp fires I went shooting photos in this area. This church was surrounded by blackened on all sides. Someone really loves this little church because they worked really hard to save it. It is a gem. If traveling toward Valdosta you can see it from the road on the left.

  8. Melissa Reyes

    Is this church off an dirt road? I am from waycross, now living in Atlanta and I believe that this is the church that my aunt and uncle married at when I was a child.

    • It is, Melissa, right off Highway 84, going from Waycross to Homerville, and near the little town of Manor…

      • Melissa Reyes

        That is what I thought. Amazing:) If you keep heading down 84 toward homerville, not to far up the road, to the right there is a pecan orchard. My papa griffin, 96 years old owns this land and lives behind it. There is or was an old building that stands in this orchard. As a child I went in but never was able to explore because we were always warned of snakes. I remember there being a fireplace in this building which I found to be odd. They use to tell me it was a tobacco barn but I have always wondered if that was the true history behind that building.
        I really love all the photos. How amazing!

      • Thanks, Melissa! Would love to know more about the place on your Papa’s land…

  9. Wow! This looks like a road-trip worthy sight to me! Absolutely beautiful church!

  10. Mike

    I just spent a few days on the back roads of central and southeast GA. The azaleas, dogwoods, cherry, and Japanese magnolia (to name a few) were in full bloom.

    How I love the colors of springtime in the deep South.

  11. Erbie James

    Beautiful. Love the azaleas.

  12. beth anderson

    What a beautiful church . The azaleas are perfection.
    Thank you for these wonderful photos.

    • Glad everyone has enjoyed this shot. It’s tough to shoot at anytime, due to the altar of pines around it, but the azaleas were just too irresistible.

  13. SAnn

    This old church building is beautiful. Look at all the wonderful details. I’m afraid this type of workmanship and pride, in their work, is a thing of the past.

  14. This is a magnificent photo and such a beautiful old church!

  15. thanks and thanks again

  16. Jake

    Wow! Not only is that a gorgeous building, those azaleas are intense! How I long for the ground to be littered with flower petals in northern Ohio…

    Great job, B!

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