Tag Archives: –BEN HILL COUNTY GA–

Young Farmhouse, Circa 1880s, Ben Hill County

This house seemed sure to be lost, as it sat abandoned for many years, but luckily it had a happy ending. It was restored. It’s a central hallway farmhouse with a long addition at the rear. This photograph dates to 2001 and is among my earliest.

Dr. Johnny Young notes that this was once the home of his grandparents (Mr. & Mrs. J. R. F. Young) and his father (S. B. Young). They lived here from at least 1912 until 1927, when they built another home nearby. The Young family were among the earliest settlers of this area, the northwestern corner of present-day Ben Hill County.

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Batton’s Store, Ben Hill County


This landmark stood for much of the 20th century at the fork of Sibbie Road and Georgia Highway 215, near the Wilcox County line. I made this photograph in 2003. The store has since been relocated to the Batton homeplace nearby.

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Dissected Beardtongue, Ben Hill County

Also known as Cutleaf Beardtongue, Penstemon dissectus is a rare member of the beardtongue family and the only species in the region with deeply dissected leaves. It’s endemic to the outcrops and surrounding woodlands of the Altamaha Grit habitat; this population was discovered near Reuben’s Lake. There are only about 30 known populations, all in Georgia.

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Dr. George Kirkley House, Fitzgerald


This Sears-Roebuck kit house, a perfect Craftsman bungalow, was the longtime home of Fitzgerald dentist Dr. George Kirkley.

South Main Street-South Lee Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Toomer Medical Office & Boarding House, Fitzgerald

I believe the lower floor of this landmark was once the office of Fitzgerald’s first black physician, Dr. Edward Toomer. The structure has been historically known as a boarding house, primarily for black railroad men. Though other businesses have been located here, its connection to Dr. Toomer is certainly the most significant aspect of its history. Sadly, it was demolished in the spring of 2017.

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Ruins of Bowen’s Mill, Ben Hill County

Having grown up swimming and exploring House Creek, I always wondered about the history of Bowen’s Mill. A few days ago, I got a message from Mike Hudson that a new bridge over House Creek was about to be constructed and he expressed concern that these ruins would likely be swept up in the debris of the construction project. Mike Carlok of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Office of Environmental Services notes:  these ruins will not be swept up from GDOT construction. Our Office of Environmental Services (OES) has taken extraordinary steps to make sure that this history will not be erased by our projects. This site has been recommended Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places…and it deserves that recommendation…and I myself will be there to monitor construction…

A large grist mill was constructed here by R. V. Bowen, Sr., in 1836 and was in operation here into the 20th century. A water-powered sawmill was also part of the operation. This was one of the first industrial sites in this section of the state.

A wooden dam, which contained a 100-acre lake, failed at some point in the 1940s and swept away most of the mill.

 

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Tenant Farmhouse, Ben Hill County

Most tenant houses were either in the shotgun style or the gable-front style seen here.

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