Category Archives: –CRISP COUNTY GA–

Construction of New US 280 Bridge, Lake Blackshear

A new bridge to complement the existing bridge on US Highway 280 over Lake Blackshear is presently under construction by the Scott Bridge Company of Opelika, Alabama. It’s slated for completion in 2019.

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Boating on Lake Blackshear

At just 20 miles in length and a mile wide at its widest, Lake Blackshear is one of Georgia’s smallest man-made reservoirs. It’s essentially a wide spot on the Flint River but it’s among the most popular outdoor recreation areas in South Georgia. To my knowledge, it’s also the oldest major man-made lake in Georgia, created with the damming of the Flint River between 1925-1930.

Pleasure boating and water skiing are extremely popular, as is fishing. There’s a busy put-in at Lakeshore Marine on the Sumter County side. Besides a ski shop, marina, campground, and event space, there’s the Lakeshore Grill which sells food, tackle, coolers, beer, gas and other essentials. Georgia Veterans State Park is a mile or so from here and is the primary location for public access to the lake. If you’re in the area, stop at Stripling’s for some of the best sausage around.

 

 

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Lake Blackshear GA

General Store, Coney

Gean Nipper recently suggested I make some photographs at Coney. Having driven between Cordele and Americus countless times over the years, I must admit I had never even heard of the place. A couple of old warehouses and commissaries were still standing in the crossroads community near Lake Blackshear until they were destroyed by a tornado a few years ago. This store, the lone survivor, was owned by Mr. Nipper’s grandparents, Lonnie and Dicy Calhoun. It was closed by the late 1960s and briefly reopened in the early 1970s.

Coney was once a busy rail siding and was also the location of a ferry that crossed the nearby Flint River (long before Lake Blackshear was formed).

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Plantation Plain Farmhouse, Crisp County

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Gillespie-Selden Institute, Cordele

President’s Home, Circa 1925, Gillespie-Selden Institute

The origins of this important landmark of African-American educational history in South Georgia can be traced to Dr. Augustus S. Clark and the St. Paul Presbyterian Church. The first facilities of the school were three wood-framed buildings, built through a gift of the Gillespie family of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1903, and named the Gillespie Normal School in their honor. The first two structures pictured here were built when it was still known as the Gillespie Normal School.

Girls Dormitory, 1929, Gillespie-Selden Institute

In 1933, the school merged with the Selden Institute in Brunswick and the name was changed to the Gillespie-Selden Institute. Over the years, students came from as far away as New York and New Jersey. The Institute closed in 1956 due to citywide consolidation.

Administration Building, 1937, Gillespie-Selden Institute

A hospital was built in 1923 and named for its benefactor, Charles Helms. It was a vital part of the institute. (It is still standing but not pictured here; I will add a photograph later). At the time, the nearest hospital for blacks was in Atlanta. Selden Cottage, pictured below, was a school for nurses, associated with the hospital.

Selden Cottage, 1949, Gillespie-Selden Institute

This neighborhood, and particularly the remaining facilities of the Institute, represent a significant resource of a progressive African-American community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Preliminary efforts to document and preserve the site have been made, but I’m unsure as to their present status.

Gillespie-Selden Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, Cordele GA

St. Paul Presbyterian Church, Circa 1900, Cordele

St. Paul Presbyterian is one of four historic churches in the Gillespie-Selden Historic District and the congregation most associated with the institute. Dr. Augustus S. Clark (1874-1959), the founder of the school, came to Cordele as a Presbyterian missionary in 1898. His first charge was to aid the struggling Portis Memorial Presbyterian Church and as a result of his work funding was secured for the construction of the present church, which was named St. Paul. It was in the basement of this church (which has since been expanded) that Dr. Clark first began teaching elementary school classes along with Sunday School. Dr. Clark was alarmed by the inadequate educational facilities for African-American students and made an appeal to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church for funding for a school and through the donation of Presbyterians in Northern states, funds were soon secured.

Gillespie-Selden Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Folk Victorian House, Cordele

Gillespie-Selden Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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