Category Archives: –LOWNDES COUNTY GA–

Historic Farmstead, Lowndes County

Isolated in the countryside near the Lowndes County ghost town of Delmar, this historic farm is one of the most intact collections of original agricultural structures I’ve ever seen in South Georgia. I’m grateful to Mandy Green Yates for bringing it to my attention. Mandy travels the back roads of South Georgia and North Florida finding lots of places like this. Follow her to see what she finds next.

I believe this was primarily a turpentine camp, as the area was well-known for large scale naval stores production. There would have been tenant houses here at one time, also. The structure above was likely the office for the operation.

My favorite structure is the commissary, which would have served all the needs of this small community.

The shingle-sided barn and water tower are amazing survivors, as well. The owners of the property should be commended for keeping this place in such relatively good condition throughout the years.

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Log Tobacco Barn Ruins, Lowndes County

This is located near the historic turpentine community of Delmar.

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October 15, 2019 · 7:54 AM

Wetherington-Robinson Elementary School, Circa 1956, Delmar

After a long history of operating substandard schools for African-Americans, Georgia began building modern schools for black students in the early 1950s. This effort to delay desegregation was a knee-jerk response to Brown v. Board of Education, and while the state spent a small fortune building these schools, desegregation was a done deal and implemented fully by the early 1970s. Many of these schools still stand throughout Georgia.

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Queen Anne House, Valdosta

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Historic Warehouses, 1907, Valdosta

These derelict warehouses are well-known landmarks in downtown Valdosta. Multiple tenants have occupied them over the past century.

The W. L. Wisenbaker Company, wholesale grocer, was one of the earliest tenants. Others have included the Thomas Dekle Hardware Company, Valdosta Paper Company, Pearce & Skinner, and Mutual Candy Company.

The ghost signs are popular with photographers.

Valdosta Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Withlacoochee River, Valdosta

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Originating in Berrien and Cook counties, the Withlacoochee River flows south through Brooks and Lowndes counties then crosses into Madison and Hamilton counties in Florida.  It merges with the Suwanee River near Live Oak and eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

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There’s another Withlacoochee River, originating in the Green Swamp near Polk City, Florida,  and emptying directly into the Gulf of Mexico. Kayakers sometimes refer to Georgia’s river as Withlacoochee North. It’s believed the Florida river is named for the Georgia river.  The origin of the name is thought to be Muskogean/Creek, loosely translated as little big water or river of lakes.

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The Withlacoochee is a relatively low river in general, but was particularly so when I made these photographs in the winter of 2012. The river was suffering the effects of a drought at the time. It’s best known by kayakers and a few intrepid anglers. Bowfin (Amia calva) a cousin of gar, is common in most runs of the Withlacoochee and though not generally taken for food, is a popular, if exotic, sport variety.

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There’s little literature or historical writing to be found on the Withlacoochee. It’s well-known to locals, but beyond its moss-draped banks, very few people are even aware of it. Most published lore on the Withlacoochee can be credited to the paddle sport community.

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There are a few private campsites along the river but access is quite limited.

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The growth of Valdosta and pollution from industrial agriculture near the river are putting a strain on this fragile environment, but ultimately, the river makes its presence known.

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A neighborhood near the spot these photographs were made has been known to flood on several occasions when the river receives heavy winter and spring rains. Interstate 75 passes within a half-mile of this area, as well.

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There’s a timeless feel to this wilderness, even in its most urban setting. At low water, one could theoretically “walk” the river for as far as he wished.

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Today, the Withlacoochee-Willacoochee-Alapaha-Little-Upper Suwannee Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is working to make the public more aware of the smaller and lesser known rivers of this section of South Georgia. Through education and pollution monitoring, they’re beginning to make a real impact.

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C. H. Mitchell’s Bar-B-Q, Valdosta

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This 70s landmark was once one of the most popular restaurants in Valdosta. Today, just an empty building and this old sign remain. I’ve been told that Burt Reynolds used to pass through Valdosta on occasion and always picked up a pile of barbeque at C. H. Mitchell’s when he was there. Don’t know if that’s true, or just urban legend, but I like it.

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