Category Archives: Douglas GA

Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, 1938, Douglas

Historic Saint Pauls Catholic Church Now Saint Andrews Anglican Douglas GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Historically, this church served as Saint Paul’s Catholic Church, though it recently became the home of Saint Andrew’s Anglican. Since the church is primarily known for its Catholic associations, it is that history (from the Diocese of Savannah History book) which I’ll share here: …In the 19th century, Catholics were scarce in South Georgia. In 1898, Bishop Thomas A. Becker entrusted what was then the Albany Mission to the care of priests of the Jesuit Order. Later, he divided this territory, allocating the southeastern section to Marists who had recently arrived in Brunswick. Specifically, Marist priests were to serve Johnston Station, Willacoochee and Alapaha. Johnston Station had no church at this time. Willacoochee had a frame building for services and Alapaha had a small log cabin surrounded by a little cemetery belonging to the Murray family who were Catholic.

In time, visiting priests discovered a few Catholics in McGovern’s Settlement and learned of a “Mrs. Creel” in Douglas. Local lore disclosed that Catholic families in other parts of Coffee County had never heard of members of their faith’s being in Douglas before 1899 when Mrs. Creel’s baby was baptized. By 1901, the territory was restored to Albany’s care. In the early 1900s, several Syrian families moved to Douglas and Mass was celebrated there twice a month. Things remained about the same for some time.

They changed radically when the new Bishop of Savannah, Gerald P. O’Hara, visited Douglas in July 1936. The 40-year-old bishop received a rousing reception. The city fathers strung electric lights on the lawn of one of the Syrian families – the Hannas. More festivities were ahead that evening when the town leaders and ministers of other faiths turned out, as well as the small Catholic community, to greet the bishop. Impressed by this reception, Bishop O’Hara – never slow to catch on – bought a piece of property for $1,000 on which to build a Catholic church. On March 6, 1936, ground was broken for the church. Two years later, on Sunday, July 17, 1938, the bishop dedicated St. Paul Catholic Church, Douglas. Fathers John Mullins and Daniel J. Bourke, were named pastor and assistant, respectively.

Douglas GA Historic Photograph fom Rogers Studio Collection Dedication Day at St Pauls Catholic Church 1938 Courtesy Tom Johnson

Rogers Studio Collection – Courtesy of Tom Johnson

Thanks to Tom Johnson, who is working on digitzing the Rogers Studio Collection,  for the above photo. It was made on 17 July 1938, the day the congregation held dedication services.

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63rd Army Air Forces Contract Pilot School (1943), Douglas

Airman 1st Class John S Hancock 63rd Flight Training School Douglas GA Municipal Airport WW II 1944 Copyright Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014Douglas Municipal Airport, 1943

I recently inherited a large group of historic photographs, from which this treasure from World War II came to me. I do not know any personal information about the pilot seen here, Airman 1st Class John S. Hancock, except that he was a cousin of one of my cousins, Frances Trammell McCormick and was trained by Bill Dillard.

From the World War II Flight Training Museum brochure: Originally a part of South Georgia College’s pilot training program, the 63rd Army Air Forces Contract Pilot Training School (Primary) was established in response to the urgent demand for pilots during World War II (1941-1945). The school was run during the war by the Raymond-Richardson Aviation Company, which was under the supervision of the U. S. Army Air Forces. Over 5,000 aviation cadets learned to fly their first plane here. The Stearman PT-17 biplane was the training plane used. Many cadets “washed out”, as it was tough training.

Today, many of the structures associated with the Pilot School remain at the Douglas Municipal Airport and the World War II Flight Training Museum is located in the old instructors’ barracks and open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays. Of about 55 such flight training schools open during World War II, this location is the most intact. Great job, Douglas 63rd Preservation Society and Coffee County, for recognizing its importance.

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Cumorah Church, 1907, Coffee County

Mormon Church 1898 Douglas GA Coffee County Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Thanks to Jaci McKinnon for first making me aware of this interesting and little-known aspect of Coffee County’s history. In his History of Coffee County (1930), Warren P. Ward notes that Mormon missionaries came to the area in 1898, led first by Elder Nephi Henderson and an Elder Brewer. Elder Ben E. Rich established the church in Coffee County. He was succeeded by Elder Charles A. Callis. Early families who converted to the Mormon faith were those of Calvin W. Williams, Dan P. Lott, and Joseph J. Adams.   “Many citizens of the county were excited over the appearance of the Elders. Some regarded them as messengers from Heaven, gave them shelter and lodging…Others regarded them as emissaries of the devil, wrecking homes and carrying away women…Coffee County has been a fruitful field for the Mormon Church, it having grown to a membership of over seven hundred. There are two churches in the territory-Cumorrah Church in Coffee County and the Utah Church in Atkinson County, formerly Coffee.” I’m not sure what happened to the congregation but will continue to research it and will photograph the nearby Mormon Cemetery the next time I’m in the area. (Thanks are also due to Andrew P. Wood for pointing me to Ward’s history of the Mormons in Coffee County).

Mormon Church 1898 Abandoned Douglas GA Coffee County Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

D. O. Adams writes that this is the oldest standing LDS church in the Southeastern U. S.

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Star News Stand, Douglas

douglas-ga-star-news-stand-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2011

Downtown Douglas Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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W. T. Cottingham House, 1909, Douglas

douglas ga cottingham house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

Gaskin Avenue Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Martin Theatre, 1939, Douglas

douglas ga the martin centre theatre photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

This was used as a theater until the 1970s and in 1979, the Martin family deeded the property to the city of Douglas. It’s since been restored and again serves as a performance space, now known as the Martin Centre.

Downtown Douglas Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Union Banking Company Building, 1910, Douglas

douglas ga union banking company building photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

A focal point of Douglas’ downtown historic district, this is also known as the Coffee County Bank Building and still serves as a bank today (BB&T). It features some of the finest gargoyles (ten of them!) in South Georgia. R. N. McEachren was the architect.

douglas ga union banking company gargoyle photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

Downtown Douglas Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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