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.
Tag Archives: Lost Structures of South Georgia
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.
There’s just something unsettling about this picture of the Irwinville Hotel. Many people have contacted me with complaints about the destruction of this mid-1880s landmark. The most common comments (and they’ve been numerous) have been: “Just what the world needs, another Dollar General” and “Dollar General is a plague on the landscape“. I tend to agree. While I agree that anyone has the right to sell their land to anyone whom they wish to, I’m amazed that the community couldn’t come together for a better solution. In the past few years, Irwinville lost their post office, can barely keep the capture site of Jefferson Davis open, and now, is losing this. All this while a local state representative and state senator made no overtures to do anything about it. I don’t believe it’s the government’s responsibility to “save” these places, but a little input would have been nice.
While I’ve seen interior shots of the hotel posted on other sites, I was unable to get such images. At any rate, the property has long been used as a residential rental and retained very little of its historic interior appearance.
Progress is never a bad thing, as I’ve said numerous times over the past ten years. But the loss of landmarks in our smallest towns shouldn’t be a part of that progress.
These ruins caught my eye. It appears they’re all that remain of Erick, a lost community situated along the Seaboard Rail line in western Wheeler County. (I’ve tagged the structure as lost, as there is really no way to save it).
Sandra Spires Johnson first identified this as Ben Irwin’s store, but Sandra Sells says it was a different store which also served as the post office. I’m surprised that there was more than one store here.
The Mission Revival style saw its greatest popularity between 1890-1915. Once relatively popular in South Georgia, few examples survive in good condition. I don’t know if this was always a hardware store; the Ace sign likely dates to the 1970s, indicating it was open until at least that time.
I believe this was razed in late 2016.