McCranie’s Turpentine Still, 1936, Willacoochee

mccranie brothers turpentine still willacoochee ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

Built in 1936 by George F. McCranie, Jr., and his three sons, the McCranie Brothers turpentine still near Willacoochee is the last original still in its original location remaining in Georgia. It is a reminder of a time when naval stores were the only cash crop in South Georgia other than cotton.

willacoochee ga mccranie brothers photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

The still was active until 1942, when two of the brothers went off to war. It was a wood-burning still, built in the style of 19th-century whiskey distilleries in North Carolina. The young McCranie brothers were quite experimental, though, and charted many innovations in an effort to modernize and improve the process.  By the time of its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, this still was recognized as the most important remaining example of a naval stores operation in the state, and it remains so today.

willacoochee ga mccranie brothers turpentine still mailbox photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

National Register of Historic Places


Filed under --ATKINSON COUNTY GA--, Willacoochee GA

9 responses to “McCranie’s Turpentine Still, 1936, Willacoochee

  1. Javan Collins

    I truly loved reading about Coochie. I lived in Douglas, Ga. Back in the late 70’s. And traveled through this little town many times and I called on an account by the name of PAK Unlimited which made shade cloth.

  2. Tom

    I worked for Rayonier on the survey crew 40 years ago. We would mark the boundaries of timber lands for the crews to cut in this area of Georgia. Always look forward to seeing this piece of history… thanks for your pictures. Many of these places would be forgotten if not for your efforts

  3. These are some of my relatives, Brian and thanks for the pictures.

  4. phil

    B&W works so well here ,Brian . Great shots .

  5. Denise Jackson

    Wonderful photos on the McCranie Brothers Brian! I’m wondering if they are kin to the Brown and McCranie families we are connected to in Telfair and Dodge Counties now. LOL

  6. Mike

    Is the still accessible to the general public? This is only about 4 hours from where I live and I’d love to ramble over there some weekend.

  7. This is amazing! Can’t believe there is one still around!

    • Denise

      The still is amazing, and the McCranies have kept the property up. It was left open until recently, but after someone stole the split rail fence the gates are now closed to the public. Mr McCranie, one of the founders of the still, is still active at 91, he as an amazing story to tell about how it was founded and how he and is brothers built and worked at the still.

      • I have had the opportunity to visit this still several times with my father, Clinton Robinson, who worked for the Sessoms in Cogdell for many years. The history of the turpentine industry has fascinated me all my life because that was all my father and grandfather knew for the longest time. Please ask Mr, McCranie if he ever remembered Marvin, Lizzie,Clinton or Ruth Robinson from the Cogdell area.!! of course, EVERYBody knew the Sessoms!! Thank you McCranie family for having made this available for the public to learn about an important past of Georgia’s past!

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