This is the oldest house in the city of Fitzgerald, dating to the year the city was colonized by Union veterans; at the time of its construction it was considered a country house but is well within the city limits today. [I grew up just across a large pecan orchard from it]. It was built by original settler Adrian Hageman, who served as a corporal in Company D, 93rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War. His wife was Fannie Protsman Hageman, a native of Vevay, Indiana. It was restored by their grandson, Charlie A. Newcomer, Jr., in 1970.
Category Archives: Fitzgerald GA
Fitzgerald historian Paul Dunn relayed this history to my father via telephone: This was L. D. Wright’s grocery store. Railroad employees charged their purchases and later “picked up” their tickets and paid their balances in the store. L. D. Wright ran two “store trucks” and traveled the area trading groceries for chickens, eggs, etc. The trucks were loaded with chicken crates to facilitate this practice.
A decal on the door revealed during a recent cleanup of the property suggests that Wright was associated with the RIO brand. RIO, an acronym for Retail Independently Owned, was a grocery syndicate once associated with hundreds of small grocers all over Georgia.
I believe the lower floor of this landmark was once the office of Fitzgerald’s first black physician, Dr. Edward Toomer. The structure has been historically known as a boarding house, primarily for black railroad men. Though other businesses have been located here, its connection to Dr. Toomer is certainly the most significant aspect of its history. Sadly, it was demolished in the spring of 2017.