Category Archives: –SUMTER COUNTY GA–

Billy Carter’s Service Station, Plains

Billy Carter (1937-1988) bought this station from Mill Jennings in 1971 and owned it until 1981. During Jimmy Carter’s campaign for President in 1976, it became famous as the headquarters for the national media while they were in Plains. He reminisced of those days: There were 20,000 tourists a day pouring into Plains right after Jimmy’s election. Cars would be bumper-to-bumper for about 10 miles, from Americus to Plains. Highway 280 looked like a Los Angeles freeway. At the height of the station’s popularity 2,000 cases of beer and between 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of gas were sold every month.

Billy was a character and often got as much press coverage as his brother. He was perhaps best known, though, for his infamous Billy Beer. His endorsement didn’t go far to save the brew, which many said was the worst they’d ever tasted. Cans of Billy Beer can be seen in the service station, which is now a free museum. A pair of Hee-Haw overalls Billy wore are also in the collection, as well as numerous magazine covers and press clippings.

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Plains GA

Archery, Georgia

At the western edge of Sumter County stand the remains of the African-American community of Archery. As a boy, President Jimmy Carter lived about a mile up the road and in his books has shared fond memories of Archery. One of his earliest role models was Archery native William Decker Johnson, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

From the historical marker: This rural community of Archery, established in the 1800´s, consisted of a train stop, houses of railroad employees, the St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, a school for black youth, and a store. The community was named for Sublime Order of Archery, a relief organization of the A.M.E. Church which assisted the southern black families.

Two permanent white families, the Watsons and the Carters, lived here. Edward Herman Watson was the Seaboard Railroad section foreman and James Early Carter, Sr., was the father of Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States who spent his youth here. The other 25 families were African-American.

William Decker Johnson, bishop of the A.M.E. Church, became the most prominent person in Archery. He came here with the purpose of establishing a school for black youth lacking the resources for an education. The Johnson Home Industrial College opened its doors in 1912 and offered technical classes aiding students to obtain jobs. This school offered male and female students primary, high school, collegiate, and vocational classes. Bishop Johnson´s efforts for the cause of education had many faithful supporters who helped the school to flourish. Bishop Johnson is buried in the St. Mark A.M.E. Church cemetery.

 

 

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Construction of New US 280 Bridge, Lake Blackshear

A new bridge to complement the existing bridge on US Highway 280 over Lake Blackshear is presently under construction by the Scott Bridge Company of Opelika, Alabama. It’s slated for completion in 2019.

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Lake Blackshear GA

Boating on Lake Blackshear

At just 20 miles in length and a mile wide at its widest, Lake Blackshear is one of Georgia’s smallest man-made reservoirs. It’s essentially a wide spot on the Flint River but it’s among the most popular outdoor recreation areas in South Georgia. To my knowledge, it’s also the oldest major man-made lake in Georgia, created with the damming of the Flint River between 1925-1930.

Pleasure boating and water skiing are extremely popular, as is fishing. There’s a busy put-in at Lakeshore Marine on the Sumter County side. Besides a ski shop, marina, campground, and event space, there’s the Lakeshore Grill which sells food, tackle, coolers, beer, gas and other essentials. Georgia Veterans State Park is a mile or so from here and is the primary location for public access to the lake. If you’re in the area, stop at Stripling’s for some of the best sausage around.

 

 

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Lake Blackshear GA

The Anchored Flint, Circa 1978, Lake Blackshear

If you’ve ever driven between Cordele and Americus via Lake Blackshear you’ve probably noticed this eclectic structure, built to look like an old river boat. It was a popular restaurant/nightclub known as the Anchored Flint and is still in use today as a banquet facility at Lakeshore Marine on the Sumter County side of the lake. The “flint” in Anchored Flint refers to the Flint River, from which Lake Blackshear was created. Thanks to Lydia Cook for the identification.

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Ferguson Store Sign, DeSoto

The Ferguson Store was located on the ground level of the DeSoto Masonic lodge. It was most recently known as Disco D’s Warehouse, which I assume was a nightclub.

 

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Eclectic House, DeSoto

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, DeSoto GA