This is one of just a few shotgun houses still standing in Fitzgerald.
The sandy ridges of the Alapaha River bottomlands are abundant with these lichens and mosses. On Crystal Lake Road, near the river, they blanket the right of way for nearly a mile.
I don’t know enough about these species to say much about their biology, but they’re a beautiful sight and seem almost otherworldly. The dominant blueish-green variety in most of these photos is known as Dixie Reindeer Lichen, or reindeer moss locally, (Cladonia subtenius). It’s widespread in protected areas throughout South Georgia.
The species seen below is known as British Soldiers (Cladonia cristatella), for the bright red “blooms”.
Karen Phillips writes: For most of its history this was known as the Free Will Baptist Church, located on 7th Street between Oak Street and Maple Street. It was probably built in the early 1900s. It was moved to its present location in the mid-2000s and is now occupied by an African-American congregation. To me, it’s the most unique church building in Ocilla. I hope it can be preserved in its present appearance.
The primary tenant of the the O’Quinn Building, the Strand Theatre opened in 1924 with 894 seats. Theatre builders of this time typically rented space adjoining their theatres as it was considered prime real estate. The Strand was transformed into a two-screen theatre in 1988 and closed in 2009. Ralph and Jamie Hickox, who have done an exceptionally nice job of restoring and keeping viable the historic Jesup Drive-In, have recently purchased the Strand and are presently restoring it. The Strand is one of the few unaltered historic commercial structures still standing in Jesup and it’s preservation will be great.
If you’ve ever traveled Georgia Highway 125 between Fitzgerald and Tifton, you probably recognize this house, situated slightly west of Irwinville. I’ve been seeing it my entire life and only learned some of its history today. It was the home of Elbert George McClellan Fletcher (1866-1952), likely built around 1889, when he married his first wife, Mary Jane Elizabeth (Polly) Hobby Fletcher, who died in 1916. Upon Polly’s death, Elbert married Ruth Turner Fletcher (1870-1956) in 1917. The house was built as a dogtrot, and originally contained an annexed kitchen, which has since been removed. It would have been a “fancy” dogtrot compared to the cruder log structures usually associated with the style.
Winston McDuffie shared these memories of the house: Elbert was quite dignified, handle-bar mustache, and walking stick, sitting on the front porch in his rocking chair. I can’t remember him talking much, and Toby and Ruth were together talking so there was not too much for a 5-6 yr old boy to do. There was a fence across the front, the gate had a chain with a weight to pull it closed, and there was a pomegranate bush beside the gate, always a pleasure to pick one. There was a cane-grinding set-up in the right-hand corner (towards Tifton), under the Oak tree. We attended a cane-grinding a couple of times. There was a barn on the left side, back behind the house. I remember Mama and Deal would pick cotton for John (son) all during school. The house had a dog-trot hallway, with 4 doors (2 per side), and opened onto a porch all across the back of the house. There was another dog-trot off the porch to the separate kitchen. The first door on the left was the sitting room, and the other 3 were bed-rooms. Toby and I slept in the one adjacent to the sitting room when we spent the night. There was a full grand-father clock in the room, but I can’t remember what any other furniture was like. No grass in the yard, it was swept clean with gall-berry brooms.