These old workhorses get harder to find every day.
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Near the forgotten community of Bannockburn, the Alapaha River marks the boundary between Berrien and Atkinson counties. The Georgia Highway 135 bridge that crosses here normally spans a smallish stream, but if you wonder why it’s so big, check out a Google Earth view of the river at high water. It fills up quickly. [Note the pilings of an old bridge or trestle in the sandbar]. At present (early autumn 2019) the river is low enough to ford and not even get your knees wet. The Alapaha is special to me because Lucy Lake (an Alapaha oxbow in northern Berrien County) was the first place my father took my brother and me river fishing. It had been a popular spot with locals for many years and he had fished there with his father and uncles many times as a young man himself. The river seemed so much bigger to me then.
The Alapaha is one of Georgia’s most beautiful black water rivers. Little known to people not near its banks, it rises in southern Dooly County and meanders southeastward toward its confluence with the Suwannee River near Jasper, Florida. During this course it collects the Wilacoochee, Alapahoochee, and Little Alapaha rivers. An intermittent river, it goes underground through parts of its course, especially in Hamilton County, Florida. A famous locale there, near Jennings, is the Dead River Sink.
The earliest known reference to the Alapaha was made by Hernando de Soto’s expedition. It noted a village near the Suwannee known as Yupaha, in the 16th century.
We pass by these places all the time. An abandoned farmhouse long forgotten may not seem worthy of documentation to some, but this is where the real people of Georgia worked the farms that anchored our economy for much of the 20th century, long before “Big Ag” began squeezing out small farmers. Many will never be identified, but I’m grateful to all of you for the ones that have been through the years. I see a beauty in these places comparable to our finest homes.
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.