Category Archives: –GRADY COUNTY GA–

Shade Tobacco Barns, Grady County

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If you’re from Georgia, you probably don’t associate these images with tobacco barns but these aren’t just any tobacco barns. They’re among the last remnants of a highly specialized segment of the tobacco industry. Shade tobacco.

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Shade tobacco was grown for cigar wrappers in southwest Georgia, northwest Florida, and the Connecticut River Valley of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Wood-framed arbors and later, cheese cloth tents, filtered sun and kept insects away to achieve the higher grade of tobacco required for cigars.

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Shade tobacco was grown in the United States from the 1840s until 1975. Most production in Grady County was finished by 1965, though, as Imperial Tobacco (previously American Sumatra) ceased operations.

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Few shade tobacco barns survive in Georgia in any condition and well-preserved examples are rare. Thanks to Gaile Eubanks for help with the location.

 

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Piedmont Primitive Baptist Church, Calvary

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This historic congregation was established on 28 August 1828.

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Reno Tabernacle, Grady County

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Bethel United Methodist Church, Circa 1885, Reno

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Organized in 1882, Bethel was given three acres on this location in 1885 by Josh Merritt and this church was built soon thereafter. A cemetery was begun before construction of the church and Jonathan Merritt was the first burial.

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Bryant Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 1964, Reno

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This congregation was organized in 1905 as an African Methodist Episcopal church. The present building was constructed in 1964.

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Pyramidal Roof Farmhouse, Grady County

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Reno, Georgia

reno ga abandoned commercial storefronts photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

I made these images in 2010 and I suspect these structures are now gone. A user shared this history a few years ago: This building (the one on the left, and pictured in detailed shots below) was known as Connell Brothers Store, Sister Connells Store and the Brick Store. It was referred to as the Brick Store because it was the only store building in Reno that was brick. It was operated by Lula Mae (Sister) Connell, who lived in a house behind the store. The store was a general mercantile store and carried just about anything. It was located on the corner of what is known as Pine Hill Road and Reno Road. It was across the road from Reno Baptist Church and 1 block from the Reno School House. Reno Road was the main thoroughfare in Reno until the Pelham & Havana (P&H) Railroad ceased operation and Highway 111 south followed the old railroad bed through Reno. At one time it had a gas pump on the side of the building. This store had beautiful carved counters and a glass curved candy case. The rear part of the store had a second floor. We used to sneak off from school and go to the store to buy a “Full Dinner” candy bar. Of course we were caught when we got back to the schoolhouse. The store closed in the early sixties (or late fifties). The doors were locked and all inventory remained in the building. The lady who inherited the property would not let anyone go into it and it was vandalized several times. It was not kept up and eventually went into disrepair. The front doors and windows eventually fell in. The floor rotted and the roof collapsed, crushing the old counters. At one time you could still see part of the counter with scrollwork on the ends underneath the collapsed roof, but now the counters have rotted and everything crushed. It is a shame that this building was not saved, it had so much history. As I was growing up there were two more general stores in Reno, plus a garage and a barber shop. All is gone now. The wooden building to the right of the brick store has always been vacant since I was growing up. I know that Reno once had a post office and a millinery shop, but I do not know if either was housed in the building. Not shown in the photograph but would be to the right of the wooden building was the P & H railroad warehouse. The P & H quit running in 1915. The building was once used as a seed and feed warehouse, but it is now collapsed. This building was the last remaining P & H train warehouse; it even had a sidetrack in its day. It is a shame that the Grady County Historical Society did not try to save this building before it fell in.

reno ga connells store photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

Mary C. Carroll recalls: My Mom played here when she was young. The school was within two city blocks of this building.. Highway 111 has taken the main street now, but this store was part of the original town.

reno ga connell store photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

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