Category Archives: –SUMTER COUNTY 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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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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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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Ferguson Street, DeSoto

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Main Street, DeSoto

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Dismuke Storehouse, 1899, Americus

Built as a grocery store in 1899 by Joseph H. Dismuke, this structure also served his family as a residence. Dismuke was the nephew of Elbert Head, a well-to-do black farmer and philanthropist, from whom he initially acquired the property. It was sold to Janice Coleman in 1919 and briefly owned by W. C. Flatt before being purchased in 1922 by John Minyard, who added a cafe. The cafe was so popular, especially on weekends and special occasions when it sold alcohol, that the neighborhood came to be known as”Minyard’s Bottom”. The Minyards got out of the business by the 1950s and Earnest Wilson, then his son Clyde, ran a barbershop here until Clyde’s illness in 1978.

These memories come from Karl Wilson’s (Clyde’s son) “History of the Storehouse”, written in 1985.

[The storehouse was originally located about 20 feet closer to the corner of the lot but was moved during infrastructural modifications in the neighborhood in 1987].

National Register of Historic Places

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Sumter County Hospital, 1913, Americus

A group of local women established the Americus & Sumter County Hospital Association in 1908 and after raising funds and community interest in a modern medical facility, they dedicated the Sumter County Hospital in 1913.

Initially a 27-bed facility, it doubled in size after the addition of an annex in 1932. It was in use until a new hospital opened north of town in 1952.

This Prairie style landmark has been abandoned for over 60 years and is presently on the market.

Americus Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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