Tag Archives: Lumber City GA

Captain John L. Day House, Circa 1880, Lumber City

Captain John L. Day House Lumber City GA Telfair County Steam Boat Operator Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This spectacular Italianate is said to be the first brick house ever built in Telfair County, though I can’t confirm this. I’m hopeful that someone in Telfair County will work toward having it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cast iron fence and porch rails and columns were meant to replicate the rails of a steamship, and considering Captain Day’s machine shop background, he may have even designed them himself.  While it was long said that Captain Day built the identical “triplets” a street over from this home for his three daughters, that has now been proven incorrect. Captain Day only had one daughter. They are now thought to have been built by Matt Cook. Captain Day did, however, own them at the time of his death. They were listed as rental properties.

The following  entry on Captain Day from the Biographical Souvenir of Florida & Georgia, (F. A. Batley Company, 1889) gives insight to his background, especially the tragedies of losing his father and brother in steamboat disasters:

John L. Day, steamboatman, of Lumber City, Ga., was born in the city of New York, April 22, 1838, and is of English descent, his parents, Henry G. and Mary A. (Flint) Day, having come from Bristol, England in 1831. Henry G. became manager of a line of steamboats for the Georgia company, and in 1858, on a trip from Augusta to Savannah, while lying off Eagle Point, his cotton-laden vessel caught fire. The passengers and crew were compelled to jump overboard, and of the twelve or fifteen who were drowned, Mr. Day was one. His age was forty-nine. His wife died of yellow fever in Savannah in 1854, at the age of forty-five. Of the nine children born to these parents two died in New York in infancy. Thomas G. Day had been steamboating twenty-eight years and during all this while had not been on shore three months at a time. While engaged in navigating his vessel down the river he backed over her stern, and not being able to swim, as his father had not been, was drowned at the age of forty-three. Another of the family, Henry, a resident of Richmond, and married to Ellen Freeman, started for Augusta in 1869 to visit the subject of this sketch, whom he had not seen for ten years, but sickened on the train, was conscious for ten minutes only after meeting his brother and within four days died of brain fever, at the age of twenty-seven. Emily S. Day, married to Alexander Freeman, and Sarah A., wife of Chas. Mull, and Hannah L., widow of James W. Stout, reside in Richmond.

John L. Day began business life at the age of fifteen, serving seven years with his father at three branches of mechanical industry-millwrighting, in the machine shop, and at pattern making. At the age of twenty-two he entered the employ of the government as a journeyman, and was in consequence exempted from military service. At the age of twenty-four he began business on his own account as a machinist, but soon changed, in 1867, to steamboating, and for the past twelve years has had three steamboats running on the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers in connection with railroading lines. He has made money, but has worked hard for it. In June, 1860, Mr. Day married Miss Mary R. Strobar, daughter of Francis and Martha A. (Beaasley) Strobar of Savannah, and this union has been blessed by the birth of four children, viz: Ida V., wife of John H. Barrett, of Lumber City; Harry G., who died in September, 1885, at the age of seventeen; John P., who died in infancy, and Tommie F. Mr. Day is a Royal Arch Mason, and he, wife, daughter and son are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Capt. Day is one of the leading members of his church at Lumber City. He has the enviable reputation of being a first-class Sabbath-school member, and is superintendent of a flourishing school in the Methodist Church of Lumber City.

Captain Day’s obituary, from the 15 March 1906 Montgomery Monitor (Mount Vernon) called Captain Day one of South Georgia’s most prominent citizens. The best book available on the steamboats of the Altamaha, Ocmulgee, Oconee & Ohoopee Rivers is Carlton A. Morrison’s Running the River (St. Simons Island, Saltmarsh Press, 2003). There’s a good description of Captain Day’s activities, which are too extensive to list here.

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Abandoned House, Lumber City

Lumber City GA Telfair COunty Abandoned Vernacular House Yard Overgrown with Weeds Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Most of the older homes in Lumber City are in good shape, and outwardly, at least, this one looks like it could be saved. It has great lines.

Lumber City GA Telfair COunty Abandoned Vernacular House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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Neoclassical House, Lumber City

Neoclassical Architecture Landmark House Lumber City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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Coca-Cola Mural, Lumber City

Lumber City GA Telfair County Reimagined Coca Cola Mural Red Brick Americana Photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2014

This is a restoration, accomplished in 2013. It’s a wonderful thing for a small town to do and should attract photographers for some time.

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Lumber City Meat Company

Lumber City Meat Company Independent Local Business Telfair County GA photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georia usa 2014

This building once housed the local ice plant. For those of you too young to understand, that’s the place that produced ice in communities in the days before electric refrigerators. Quincy Webb writes: “…as a boy growing up in Telfair I would drive a 1934 model Chevrolet to Lumber City every day during summer to pick up ice, [the Meat Co. was an ice plant back then] I was barely old enough to drive…”

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Italianate Triplets, Lumber City

Lumber City GA Telfair County Greek Revival Italianate Architecture Landmark Houses Triplets Church Street Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

I call these three houses triplets because they’re all essentially of the same design, certainly the work of the same builder. They’re located on Church Street, across from the Lumber City Methodist Church. Italianate is not a common style in this part of Georgia and to find three in a row is a treat indeed. For many years these were thought to have been built by legendary steamboat Captain John L. Day for his three daughters, but research has proven that Captain Day only had one daughter. That story likely originated due to the fact that these houses are located behind Captain Day’s residence and that he owned them as rental properties at the time of his death in 1906. It’s now though that Matt Cook was the builder.

Lumber City GA Telfair County Greek Revival Italianate Architecture Landmark House One of Three Side by Side Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

This one retains its original appearance, except for the door, which is a replacement. And I believe all three originally had a tin roof.

Lumber City GA Telfair County Greek Revival Italianate Architecture Landmark House Picture Remodeled Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

This is the most modified of the three, with vinyl siding and the screened-in porch. Still, it was tastefully remodeled.

Lumber City GA Telfair County Greek Revival Italianate Architecture Landmark House Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

This is the most unmodified of the three, as evidenced in these views.

Lumber City GA Telfair County Greek Revival Italianate Architecture Landmark House One of Three Side by Side Perspective View Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Though I’ve seen these houses many times, I was made more aware of their significance by my friend Terry Kearns, who photographed them and posted this entry on his wonderful blog, Architecture Tourist:

http://architecturetourist.blogspot.com/2009/09/church-street-lumber-city-georgia.html

If you enjoy architecture as much as I do, find his blog on Facebook.

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The Last Raft Monument, McRae’s Landing

In 1982, Dr. Delma Presley, a professor at Georgia Southern organized Project R.A.F.T. as a way to honor the memories of the men who floated timber down the Ocmulgee and Altamaha Rivers in the early part of the 20th century. R.A.F.T. was an acronym for Restore Altamaha Folklife Traditions. The project was a huge success and was coordinated with folklife festivals along the river. Author Brainard Cheney, a native of Fitzgerald who had written several popular novels about life on the river was also active in the project and spoke at numerous locations along the route. I wrote to Dr. Presley about his book Okefinokee Album (still in print!)and his work with Project R.A.F.T. when I was still in high school and he sent me a video tape and souvenir program of the project, which was my first exposure to local documentary work. I finally got to meet Dr. Presley in 2011 at a presentation to the Long County Chamber of Commerce and  he still has fond memories of this project, especially of the last raft pilot, the late Bill Deen. Dr. Presley himself is quite an accomplished scholar and was one of Georgia Southern’s most popular professors, combining his passion for literature with a passion to preserve and document the rapidly vanishing folk culture of Southeast Georgia. In fact, he’s been compiling research on the human history of the Altamaha River for over thirty years. He was also instrumental in establishing the Georgia Southern University Museum.

Text on Monument:

On April 3, 1982, Piloted by Captain Bill Deen, Age 90, the Last Raft of Georgia Pine Timber Began a Journey of 140 Miles Down the Ocmulgee and Altamaha Rivers to the Coastal City of Darien, Georgia. Smaller than the Great Rafts of the 1880s, the Raft of 1982 was 85 by 30 Feet and Weighed Almost 50 Tons. Oar Sweeps of 35 Feet Were at Each End. After Stopping for Folk Festivals Near Baxley and Jesup, the Raft and a Crew of 8 Arrived in Darien on April 20. The Rafthands of 1982 and Today Honor All Who Know and Love Our Rivers, Land, and People.

McRae’s Landing, Ocmulgee River © Brian Brown 2012.

Delma Presely, Brian Brown & Cecil Nobles © Mike McCall, 2011.

I’m pictured here with Dr. Del Presley (Front) and the late Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles (Rear) at a 2011 Long County Chamber of Commerce event. Sheriff Nobles was very supportive of Dr. Presley’s research on the river.

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-547

http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/museum/

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