These are among the last of the millworker’s houses in the Fitzgerald Cotton Mills that haven’t been covered with vinyl siding.
The utilitarian structures were provided to employees of the mill and many families remained in them after the mill closed.
This was the last in original condition; I photographed it in 2009 and it was razed by 2010.
The Fitzgerald Cotton Mills, seen on a vintage postcard, circa 1912.
Georgia’s southernmost town, St. George, is located within the “Georgia Bend” of the St. Marys River. This historic postcard, mailed from St. George, illustrates a picnic held along the river in February 1909. I have no idea what occasion warranted such a photograph. It must have been a really mild winter, though, as a few of the boys are standing in the river.
Built to lure travelers off busy US Highway 82 (likely in the 1940s), Toby Powell’s Motel & Grill is still relatively intact. The eclectic architecture of the office/restaurant at first appears to be a crumbling facade, but it was built that way! For a time after its original use was supplanted, it served as a grocery store and Virginia’s Beauty Lounge.
Below is a contemporary postcard view.
Tom Darby (l) & Jimmie Tarlton. Real Photo Promotional Postcard, 1927. Collection of Brian Brown.
This postcard came into my possession through the estate of a cousin, who was a great niece of Tom Darby. Largely forgotten today, Thomas P. (Tom) Darby [1892-1971] and James J. (Jimmie) Tarlton [1892-1979] were considered not only legendary bluesmen but pioneers of country music as well. They’ve been called the first country musicians to employ the steel guitar. Their most famous work, “Columbus Stockade Blues”, has been covered by artists ranging from Doc Watson and Willie Nelson to Bill Monroe, Jimmie Davis, and Bob Dylan. When they made the recording for Columbia in Atlanta in November 1927 Tom Darby pressed for a flat payment of $150 but Jimmie Tarlton wanted royalties. The song took off and sold over 200,000 copies in a short time and though the duo recorded 63 more songs dating to 1933, hostilities over lost royalties finally drove them apart. They reunited in 1965 for a symphony appearance in Columbus but no further collaborative recordings were made. Tarlton, always considered the standout of the duo, did make solo recordings in the 1960s. Search Amazon for compilations, which are available and provide valuable insight into the birth of American popular music.
Burt Herman Browning, Veteran of World War I (1892-1951), Photographed in Fitzgerald, Georgia, 1939
In honor of all those serving today and in memory of those who have gone before us, I’m sharing a photograph of my great-grandfather, Burt Herman Browning, who as a veteran of the French theater in World War I represents the sacrifice of service. He was gassed with mustard gas and suffered shell shock in the trenches of Alsace and though he survived the war, he suffered the effects for the remainder of his life. A native of Scotland, Georgia, he mustered into the North Carolina infantry because he was working there at the outbreak of the Great War. Upon his return he married my great-grandmother (Sadie Harrell Browning) in Eastman, and after traveling around from one South Georgia town to another they finally settled in Fitzgerald in 1929. The damage of war made it difficult for him to farm or do manual labor and he was a grocer and small store owner as long as he was able to work. Much of his life in between working was spent shuffling back and forth between Fitzgerald and the Veterans Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi. It made my great-grandmother’s life difficult, but since the government wouldn’t do its part for veterans, then as now, she worked in various textile mills around Fitzgerald and helped provide. That’s just what people did.
I don’t have a photograph of my great-grandfather in his uniform. I’m not sure if there ever was one or if his flashbacks motivated my great-grandmother to do away with them. But I’m lucky to have his dog tags.
1B Grade-Cordele Public School, Unknown Photographer, Circa 1911
These real photo postcards, made by an itinerant traveling photographer, provide a nice portrait of South Georgia schoolchildren in the early 20th century. They were acquired through the estate of a cousin, whose husband is identified in a couple of the cards. These are important social documents as they bear witness to the early days of the concept of government-funded public schools. They were still a relatively new concept in America, especially in the rural South at this time.
2B Grade-Cordele Public School, Unknown Photographer, Circa 1912
I’m not sure why there are two different views of the second grade class; perhaps they were made in different seasons. Somewhat odd to me is that the teacher is only pictured in one of the images (below).2B Grade-Cordele Public School, Unknown Photographer, Circa 1912
Love Avenue and Methodist Church, Circa 1907
I’ve been collecting antique postcards of South Georgia towns since I was in college, beginning in 1988. I recently inherited a large collection and like to share them from time to time. Most of these were not used, but they date from 1905-1915.
Class of Stump Pullers, Second Congressional District Agricultural School (Known as ABAC today)
Hotel Myon, Circa 1912
Through the Pines, Near Tifton
E. L. Vickers Residence
As it looks today.