Tag Archives: Endangered Places in South Georgia
The Dixie Highway was conceived in 1915 by a group of governors and business leaders seeking to increase tourism in their states. As assembly lines made cars and trucks more affordable to the masses, improved roads were a necessity. Historically, Georgia’s were notoriously bad. As late as 1915, paved streets were rare in the state and no paved highways existed.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this was the first viable ‘interstate’ highway in Georgia and local leaders lobbied aggressively to have the route come through their communities. Its presence in Ben Hill County was likely a result of the influence of local newspaperman Isidor Gelders. He was a member of the board of the Dixie Highway Association.
Scattered original sections like those pictured here still remain, but they’re increasingly rare.
Gean Nipper recently suggested I make some photographs at Coney. Having driven between Cordele and Americus countless times over the years, I must admit I had never even heard of the place. A couple of old warehouses and commissaries were still standing in the crossroads community near Lake Blackshear until they were destroyed by a tornado a few years ago. This store, the lone survivor, was owned by Mr. Nipper’s grandparents, Lonnie and Dicy Calhoun. It was closed by the late 1960s and briefly reopened in the early 1970s.
Coney was once a busy rail siding and was also the location of a ferry that crossed the nearby Flint River (long before Lake Blackshear was formed).
Joe Hopkins writes that this the was commissary for the turpentine operations at Toledo. I would go there on Saturday mornings when I was a kid with my great uncle to pay off the turpentine employees. The store housed basic staples and dry goods for the workers living at the Toledo settlement and the business records of the company. The dirt road on the porch side of the commissary was the original road running from Folkston to St.George.