Category Archives: Baxley GA

Appling County Honors 2020 Seniors During Pandemic, Baxley

With over 43,000 cases* of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Georgia, life as usual has been anything but since early March. One of the effects of the pandemic has been the closure of schools and much has been made of the fact that members of the Class of 2020 won’t be able to have a traditional graduation ceremony. While I’ve noticed yard signs honoring this historic class in towns all over South Georgia, I’ve seen nothing quite as memorable as this display by Appling County High School. Senior photos of each and every student have been placed on signs on the front lawn of Baxley City Hall. along busy U. S. Highway 341. I think it’s a wonderful gesture.

*-as of 25 May 2020

 

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Caroline Miller House, Baxley

Though largely forgotten today, Caroline Miller (1903-1992) was once a best-selling author. Her novel Lamb in His Bosom, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1933, was critically acclaimed as one of the best first works of the Southern Renaissance. Miller was also the first Georgian to be so honored.

Born in Waycross to Elias and Levy Zan Hall Pafford, Caroline married her English teacher, William D. Miller, soon after graduating from high school. They moved to Baxley soon thereafter. While raising three boys in this rental house, Miller wrote short stories in her spare time. Aiming for authentic regional dialect and material, she ventured out into the surrounding countryside and talked with many old-timers, documenting the idiomatic speech and folkways of the Wiregrass region, which she would later incorporate into Lamb in His Bosom. As it depicted poor whites who didn’t own slaves, it was a departure from the romantic South of literature. It is widely regarded as one of the best available sources for this largely overlooked culture today. Margaret Mitchell even considered it her favorite novel about the South.

The Millers divorced in 1936 and Caroline married Clyde H. Ray, Jr., in 1937. The couple moved to Waynesville, North Carolina, where Caroline gave birth to two more children. In 1944 she published her second novel, Lebanon, which didn’t receive the praise or success afforded Lamb in His Bosom. Though she would continue to write prolifically, she chose not publish later manuscripts, largely to avoid the attention and scrutiny of the critics. She died in North Carolina in 1992.

Today, the house is owned by the Friends of the Caroline Miller House.

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Craftsman Bungalow, Baxley

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Eclectic House, Baxley

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C. W. Deen House, 1897, Baxley

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This is the grandest home in Baxley, made more so by all the azaleas in bloom. If you’ve ever passed north through the town on U. S. Highway 1, you’ve undoubtedly seen it. Begun in 1894 and completed in 1897, it was built for C. W. Deen. The house was designed by Joseph J. Johnson, a prominent architect and builder responsible for a number of local landmarks, including the county courthouse, a bank, a church, and several other residences. Deen was a timber and naval stores opoerator and one of the leading businessmen and landowners in Appling County at the turn of the last century. He also operated a grist mill and store in Baxley. In 1901, he became a leader in a project hoping to bring a sugar refinery to Appling County. Despite a large investment, this project was unsuccessful. In 1906 he became involved with the development of the town of Alma. Deen moved his family to Lakeland, Florida, in 1908, but remained active in the business affairs of Baxley and Appling County. The home was purchased by W. Hughes & Carrie Rogers in 1909. Mrs. Rogers was a co-founder of the Baxley Women’s Club.

National Register of Historic Places

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Grace Lynn House, Baxley

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Lori Graham writes: This house belonged to Miss Grace Lynn, a very special woman…She was a native of Appling County and lived in Atlanta for many years before returning to Appling County in 1974. She was an interior decorator and a member of the First United Methodist Church, where she was active in the beautification of church grounds. She was in charge of beautification for the City of Baxley and Appling County for many years.

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Straton Hall, Baxley

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Shingle-Style House, Baxley

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This has been home to Mayers Florist for many years.

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Barber Shop, Baxley

barber shop pole baxley ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

These old barber poles remind of my own first experiences going to the barber shop as a boy in the 1970s. Jesse Bookhardt sums it up best: The old barber poles are not gone but they are few in number. When I was a child these poles were common on all hair-cutting shops. Those were the days when men went to barber shops and women to hair salons. The old poles rotated. When little I didn’t like to get a haircut, for I feared that the barber would lop off my ears when he used a straight razor to shave around them. I don’t remember any ears falling to the hair filled floor, but it was not unusual to get a nick or two. The most interesting thing about these places of business was the people that gathered to have their “ears lowered.” It was definitely a man’s domain and conversations centered on farming, weather, women, fishing, hunting, politics, and who got locked in the jail that was not far down the street. Mr. Thornton of Hazlehurst ran a good shop and there were at least two barbers available on most days.
Often we didn’t go to town to get our hair cut but went to local farm folk who did the job for less. These semi-professionals used old manual hand clippers which snatched out as much hair as they cut and the choice of styles were limited to whatever the cutter could do best. I usually just asked for a G. I. or Flat-top cut. Such cuts cost only 50 cents or less.

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Appling County Courthouse, 1908, Baxley

appling county courthouse baxley ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georiga usa 2009

Appling County’s courthouse was designed by architect H. L. Lewman and built by the Falls City Construction Company for $50,000.

National Register of Historic Places

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