This house is remarkably well-preserved, though the open hall is now used for storage.
The Omaha Springs Hotel (built in the early 1900s) is among the last surviving resort hotels of the mineral springs era, a time when the purported healing properties of the state’s abundant natural springs attracted visitors from all over the country. Many locations featured hotels and cabins but most have long been demolished. In A Preliminary Report on the Mineral Springs of Georgia (Atlanta, 1913), state geologist S. W. McCallie noted: This group of springs…are situated in a dense grove at the base of a rather precipitous hill-slope…One of the largest of the springs from which a sample of water was secured for analysis flows something like 100 gallons per minute. The main improvement consists of a well-built hotel of 24 rooms. The water from these springs is said to have a considerable sale in Augusta…and is well suited as a table water.
The structure is a private residence and can only be seen from a gate. Without the longtime stewardship of the Fleming family, who owned and maintained the property for decades, this treasure would surely have not survived.
This general store is built in the same style as the one pictured in the next post, located on the other end of Oak Street. Jenny Pennington, at the suggestion of Lynn Walden Williams shared a history of Matthews first posted on the Remembering Wrens Facebook Page and which was very enlightening. It’s a compilation of memories of the town from some of the oldest members of the community including Jenny’s parents Herbert and Sara Pennington, Bessie Neal Jones, Dorothy Barrow Atwell and H.C. Stewart, Jr. The history notes that the store was built by Levin A. Ganus who partnered with William A. Tarver as Ganus & Tarver, Dealers in General Merchandise. The partnership only lasted a year, but the Ganus family operated the store and post office for many years.
Thanks to Keith McLendon for first identifying it as the post office, noting it was open until about 15-10 years ago.
The Augusta, Gibson & Sandersville Railroad ran track through Matthews in the mid-1880s and built a depot around that time. There’s a similar depot in Mitchell, on the same line.