Category Archives: –DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA–

Radium Springs, Albany

70,000 gallons of water issue from the underground caves at Radium Springs every minute, making it the largest springs in the state. It’s considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia and is located just outside Albany. Over a quarter mile of the underground caves encompassing the springs were mapped by Deloach, Young, and Exley, for the National Speleological Society. Features of the caves have names like Fat Man’s Misery, Mermaid’s Tunnel, Hall of Giants, and Neptune’s Trident. Only the most experienced divers have ever seen these wonders and though rare, permits are occasionally still issued to experts wishing to explore the area. Guy Bryant has shared some nice footage on YouTube.

It was a revered ceremonial site first known as Skywater to Native Americans. After encroachment in the 1830s it came to be known as Blue Springs and was a popular swimming hole with pioneer settlers of Albany and surrounding areas. Standing near the cave entrance/springhead today, one is likely to see numerous fish schooling, including Gulf striped bass which wouldn’t be here without the cool temperature of the springs.

By the early 20th century, its prominence as a commercial recreational site was ensured and developers constructed a restaurant and guest cottages to meet the needs of day trippers who enjoyed bathing in its waters, which were a constant 68 degrees. Traces of radium were found in the water in the 1920s and the name was changed to Radium Springs to reflect this discovery. Mineral springs were all the rage in the era as they were thought to have healing powers and this only added to the popularity of the site.

The Radium Springs Casino was completed in 1927. It rose above terraced stone walls and featured a cavernous dance hall and elegant dining room.

A fire in 1982 and devastating floods in 1994 and 1998 damaged the casino beyond repair. The remaining structure was removed in 2003.

A courtyard stands today on the site of the casino and features interpretive signs detailing the history of Radium Springs.

The stonework surrounding the springs and pool is one of the most significant remaining architectural features of the site.

These features are generally not accessible today, though, as they are beginning to crumble and in serious need of restoration.

This is one of two gazebos that were located along the beach.

The spring run which empties into the Flint River is known as Skywater Creek.

The ruins of the main gazebo are being restored.

They’re located just inside the historic gate. Both structures date to the 1920s, when the casino was constructed. At the peak of the site’s popularity, a nearby golf course was equally popular as the springs and attracted notables, including the great golfer Bobby Jones.

The entrance gate is a monumental Colonial Revival landmark.

It features two ticket booths.

Known today as Radium Springs Gardens, it’s operated by the City of Albany and admission is free. It’s a wonderful green space that everyone should see at least once. Though swimming or fishing is no longer allowed, it’s a wonderful place to unwind.


Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Albany GA

Neighborhood Store, Acree

Acree GA Dougherty County Neighborhood Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This was made in December 2009.

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Abandoned House, Acree

Acree GA Dougherty Count Abandoned House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014


Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Acree GA

Samuel Farkas House, 1889, Albany


This Second Empire home is one of the most interesting in downtown Albany. Samuel Farkas came to Albany from Hungary at the age of 18. He couldn’t speak a word of English and only had fifty cents in his pocket. He came to Albany to work with his uncle who had set up a successful mercantile business after the Civil War. In 1872, Farkas opened a stable which focused on the sale of mules. In twenty years, he had amassed a fortune.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Albany GA

First State Bank Building, 1917, Albany


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Broad Avenue Memorial Bridge, 1920-2012, Albany

historic broad avenue bridge albany ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

This historic concrete arch bridge, begun in 1915, delayed by the war, and completed in 1920 as a memorial to its veterans, was a symbol of Albany throughout most of the twentieth century. Though a commendable effort by local preservationists stalled its fate, it was demolished in 2012.


Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Albany GA

State Theatre, 1945, Albany


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Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Trestle, 1929, Albany


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Albany Housefurnishing Company, 1922

One of the few historic storefronts that retains its original appearance in downtown Albany, this structure was built by local architect J. T. Murphey for Benjamin Bourbon Ivey specifically as a furniture store. It’s now known as the Nelson Tift Building, named for the founder of Albany.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Albany GA

Oglethorpe Lounge, 1954, Albany


According to their Facebook page, the Oglethorpe Lounge has been open since 1954. In an era when most dive bars are closing, the Oglethorpe is alive and well. Their Carling Black Label sign is a landmark in its own right.


Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Albany GA