Category Archives: –BRYAN COUNTY GA–

Glen Echo, Circa 1773, Bryan County

Glen Echo Plantation Bryan County GA Colonial and Antebellum Eras Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Also known as the Bird-Everett-Morgan House, Glen Echo is the oldest house in Bryan County, and among the oldest in Georgia. The land on which it stands was part of a 400-acre king’s grant made to Abraham & Israel Bird and Hugh Bryan on 1 January 1771. Family lore suggests that construction on the house began in 1773. [While it’s unclear who built the house, an article by descendant and historian Kenneth Dillon Dixon in a 2014 issue of Richmond Hill Reflections notes: …it was likely built by Burgund Bird, as it descended to his son Sylvanus Bird’s family and it was built on land granted to his other son, Abraham Bird]. The Birds were millers and may have selected the land due to its proximity to two creeks. One of the creeks came to be known as Birds Mill Creek (now Mill Creek) and the other was Black Creek. By 1802, Andrew Bird, Sr., was in possession of the house. He had three sons, Andrew, Jackson, and Cyrus, and a daughter, Isabel. Isabel married a Salzburger descendant  named Joshua Smith in 1824.

Captain Albert Glenn Smith Bryan Independent Riflemen 1st Reg 25th Ga Civil War Tintype Courtesy of Kenneth Dillon DixonCaptain Albert Glenn Smith – Bryan Independent Riflemen, Tintype, 1861-3. Courtesy Kenneth Dillon Dixon

It was their son, Albert Glenn Smith, who eventually received the house and property from his mother’s bachelor uncles in the 1850s. At the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Van Brackle in 1858, Smith moved into the house and the moniker “Glen Echo” came into use. Twin sons were born to the couple around this time. At the outset of the Civil War, Smith owned 17 slaves and his estate was valued at nearly $10,000. A. G. Smith was a captain of the Bryan Independent Riflemen, 1st Company, 25th Georgia Volunteer Infantry and trained soldiers at nearby Fort McAllister. When Sherman’s troops made their approach to Savannah, breastworks were constructed on the property and though the house was spared, all of the outbuildings were burned and livestock set free. To a student of the Civil War, the survival of the house might seem quite extraordinary, but actually, orders mandated that only unoccupied houses be burned. At any rate, Captain Bird’s military prominence should have made his property a prime target. A. G. & Elizabeth Bird had ten children, the last of whom was born in 1876. Their heirs still own the property and maintain the historic family cemetery adjacent to the house.

THE HOUSE IS LOCATED ON PRIVATE PROPERTY & TRESPASSING IS FORBIDDEN. LAW ENFORCEMENT PATROLS THE AREA.

Glen Echo Plantation House Antebellum Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

The Plantation Plain appearance of the Glen Echo is generally advanced as evidence of the house being later than 1773, but 18th-century examples of this style do exist in the Carolinas. Numerous changes have been made to the house in its nearly 250-year history and most of the original structure has been obscured by additions and alterations. This is often the case with properties of such an age and it doesn’t deter from their historical significance and local importance. Interior details on the first floor are said to confirm the 18th-century construction date, especially the presence of iron HL hinges on some doors. “Shed rooms” were located at the rear of the house in its early incarnation, but as seen in the image above, an elongated attached kitchen replaced them at some point.

Glen Echo House Bryan County GA Haint Blue Shutters Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

The boxed cornice and returns, seen above, likely date to the early 19th century, and the brick chimney, replacing a stick-and-mud example, is thought to have been added around the turn of the last century. Outlines of earlier shutters indicate that different windows were in use, and the front porch is definitely a later addition.

Glen Echo Plantation House Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Today, this property is endangered by neglect and isolation. I’m hopeful that it will be restored in the near future, but that future is uncertain. Theft and vandalism have plagued the house in recent years, I’m told, and this is a real tragedy. To say that a house connected to one family in Georgia for nearly 250 years is of utmost importance is an understatement. The subjects of the following photos, also shared by Kenneth Dillon Dixon, are unidentified descendants of the Bird family, probably made between 1910-1930; he notes they’re definitely Mingledorfs, Morgans, or Smiths.

Bird Descendants at Glen Echo Plantation Bryan County GA Early 20th Century Photograph Courtesy Kenneth Dillon DixonBird Descendants at Glen Echo, 1920s-30s? – Courtesty Kenneth Dillon Dixon

Bird Descendant Looking at one of the old oaks at Glen Echo Plantation Bryan County GA Photograph Courtesy Kenneth Dillon DixonOld Oak at Glen Echo, 1930s? – Courtesty Kenneth Dillon Dixon

 

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Lanier, Georgia

Lanier GA Bryan County Abandoned Country Store US 280 Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Located between Pembroke and Ellabell on US 280, Lanier was established in 1893 and a post office operated here until 1955.

Lanier GA Bryan County Abandoned Country Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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Corner-Gable House, Bryan County

Bryan County GA Abandoned Farmhouse Corner Gables Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Located near Pembroke on US 280, this abandoned house features unusual corner gables.

Bryan County GA Abandoned Vernacular Farmhouse Corner Gables Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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Tobacco Barn, Bryan County

Bryan County GA Tobacco Barn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

I found this one near Pembroke on US 280.

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Kwik Chek, Groveland

Groveland GA Kwik Chek Country Store Bryan County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Though this store has had numerous incarnations over the years, the old Sunbeam Bread sign out front indicates that it was once known as Kwik Chek #1. The sign has rusted since I made the shot below (in 2011), but the place remains a Groveland landmark.

Kwik Check Country Store Groveland GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Laura’s Grocery, Groveland

Groveland GA Bryan County Abandoned Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

On 28 August 2014 Joe Driggers wrote to say that his grandmother, Laura Sauls Driggers Bland, used to run a small grocery store out of this building. He also notes that in its earliest days it served as the Groveland Post Office.

Groveland GA Abandoned Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

In January 2012 Janet F. Dubois of Winston-Salem NC wrote:  I remember Groveland when I was a child. My grandfather used to live there and run a little store which I believe at one time was in one side of the joined together building. The store used to be one room on the side of his house. The house no longer stands as many of the other houses are gone too. I still travel through Groveland occasionally and remember so vividly that is where I was when the news of the Meldrim train disaster happened in 1959. I was 11 at that time. There is an old cemetery there behind all the old buildings for the film made there that my Grandmother was buried in…in the mid 20’s. My own mother lost track of the burial plot due to lost grave markers and the moving of the original fences. Oh how I wish we could have found it before she herself passed away. It was her dream to locate her mother’s grave and have it moved. Sad what happens to our cemeteries and landmarks…

 

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Film Set, Groveland

Groveland GA Movie Set of Glory East of Eden Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

I took a turn off a dirt road at Groveland a few years ago and stumbled onto a fascinating collection of buildings. Though I was unsure of their purpose at the time, Bill Warnell, wrote in January 2012: Both Glory and East of Eden filmed scenes here. The buildings are original structures used in farming. Both movies painted the houses/barns for their purposes. The buildings last served as the town of Darien in the movie Glory. The movie called for the town to be torched by “the 54th” after they pillaged it as part of the War of Northern Aggression! Most of the buildings are still used for storage and can be seen from Hwy 280 but are ALL on private property. The Warnell family has long been associated with Bryan County. They lived in Groveland until moving to Pembroke in 1927. Daniel Brooks Warnell is the namesake of the UGA School of Forestry, one of the best-known in the nation, and the Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest and Education Center, named for his wife, is an excellent resource near Guyton.

Groveland GA Movie Set Glory East of Eden Blacksmith Shop Warnell Family Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Groveland GA Sailmakers Sign Movie Set for Glory Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Groveland GA Warnell Family Farm Movie Set Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

To learn more about the Warnell family and their historic operations in Bryan County, visit the Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest & Education Center.

http://warnell.forestry.uga.edu/kahrs/h/warnells.html

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