Tag Archives: National Register of Historic Places

Mathis House, Fitzgerald

This was home for many years to Fitzgerald’s last door-to-door pedestrian mail carrier, Richard Mathis. It was originally owned by his father, I believe. Richard graduated from high school with my grandmother and was one of my Sunday School teachers at Central United Methodist Church.

South Main-South Lee Streets Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

Denmark-Hiers House, 1906, Fitzgerald

This was the home of Fitzgerald pioneer settlers Dr. Arthur Howell Denmark (1872-1957) and Bertha Twiss Denmark (1879-1949) and was owned by their descendants for over a century. His daughter, the late Frances Denmark Hiers (1909-2010), spent most of her life in the house. She and her husband Jimmy opened Hiers Jewelers in 1945 and Frances later served as the first woman president of the Georgia Jewelers’ Association.

She earned a degree in Drama from the State Normal College in Athens (now UGA) and taught “expression” at Fitzgerald High School for a number of years. She directed the first production of the local historical pageant, Our Friends the Enemy, but is best remembered for directing over 1000 weddings. I was a member of one of those wedding parties and have fond memories of Mrs. Hiers. She was all business and didn’t suffer foolishness but was an absolute delight. Her civic involvements were legion and included service on the boards of Central United Methodist Church, the Pilot Club, the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Arts Council, and the Blue and Gray Memorial Association.

South Main-South Lee Streets Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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William Tyre Swift House, 1857, Perry

Also known as the Swift-Tolleson House, this antebellum Greek Revival townhouse was built for Judge William Tyre Swift, most likely with the labor of enslaved men. The street on which it is located is named for Judge Swift. In 1879, legend relates that the world-famous SSS Tonic was invented in the backyard by Judge Swift’s descendant, Charles Thomas Swift. The tonic was one of the best-selling American patent medicines of its time and is still in production today, albeit a different formula. J. Meade Tolleson purchased the home in 1929 and it remained in the Tolleson family another forty years.

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--, Perry GA

Wilcox House, Fitzgerald

This was the home of sisters Dorothy Wilcox and Irene Jones. Dorothy was the Church Secretary at Central United Methodist and Irene worked at Sears for many years. Thanks to Jan Stokes for assistance with the identification.

South Main Street-South Lee Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Christmas in Fitzgerald, 2020

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories is riding around and looking at all the lights with my grandmothers. It’s still a tradition with my mother and me. Here are some highlights from my hometown.

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Beall-Dowlen House, 1900s, Fitzgerald

This Eclectic Victorian house was built by the Beall family of Bowen’s Mill circa 1907, then served as the parsonage of the Methodist church from 1912 until 1944. Sam P. and Hazel Evans Dowlen purchased it that year and their daughter, Nan Lee, lovingly maintains it to this day.

Nan is very passionate about the history of the house and notes that it’s essentially in original condition.

South Main Street-South Lee Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

Saunderson House, 1900s, Fitzgerald

This was the home of Warren Edgar (Sr.) and Ruby Walker Saunderson. Mr. Saunderson was one of the pioneer settlers of the Old Soldiers’ Colony of Fitzgerald. The form, a Victorian T-Plan gable front house, was popular with immigrants to the colony from Indiana and is one of several remaining examples in Fitzgerald.

It features a patriotic Union shield in the front vent. A few homes of Confederate veterans once featured the same emblem, but turned upside down. I’m not sure if any of those survive outside the Blue & Gray Museum today. I believe the house dates to circa 1905.

Thanks to Jan Stokes for the identification. She grew up down the street and recalls: Mr. Saunderson was tall and thin and very quiet. Mrs. Saunderson was short, round, and jolly.

South Main Street-South Lee Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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McCants Gravehouses, Taylor County

Union Methodist Church Cemetery/Hays Campground Cemetery is located across the road from the Union United Methodist Church, though its history predates the congregation there. The cemetery contains the remains of the original settler of this section of what was then Talbot County, Jeremiah C. McCants (1808-1866), a native of South Carolina who founded the nearby crossroads community (now known as Jarrell) and also gave land, with Robert P. Hays (Hayes) in 1840 for the construction of a church and use as a cemetery. Union Church was originally used by both Baptists and Methodists. The Hays Campground, complete with tabernacle and tents, was also active here in the late 1800s but all remnants of the structures are gone. While extremely historic on the merits of its connection to the early history of Talbot County [this area became a part of Taylor County in 1852], it is most noted today for its antebellum wooden grave houses, covering the burial places of numerous area pioneers. It is believed that they are contemporary with the burials. All are constructed of pine and feature shake shingle roofs.

One shelter covers the grave of William George D. McCants, who died at just over a month old (3 April 1847-11 May 1847). The adjacent shelter is that of George R. McCants (8 July 1808-24 May1850), a brother to Jeremiah C. McCants].

This curious shelter, located in front of the more formal structures, marks a McCants burial, but I’m not sure which one.

Andrew Wood notes: This is my family! The stone at the left is my 5x great grandmother Sarah Black Hamilton McCants and the shelters cover the graves of two of her sons. She was born in Ireland to Dutch parents in 1765, settled on the Georgia frontier as a widow with 15 children before 1830 and lived to be 93!

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --TAYLOR COUNTY GA--, Jarrell GA

Mauk School, 1936, Taylor County

This historic Mauk School was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 to replace a smaller schoolhouse that had served the the community for a number of years. The architect is unknown, but the school is almost identical to “Floor Plan No. 5 – Five Teacher Community School” from the Rosenwald Fund. The school appears to be well-maintained today.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --TAYLOR COUNTY GA--, Mauk GA

Ruins of Aldine Hotel, Fitzgerald

Irwin County entrepreneur Wright Tomberlin Paulk (1873-1922) built the Aldine Hotel [pronounced al-dean] circa 1904, to capitalize on the rapid growth of the recently settled”Old Soldier’s Colony” at Fitzgerald. He named it for his daughter, who died at the age of eighteen months in 1898. In its early days it was one of the leading hotels of the city and was later modified for use as a retail space for various businesses. I recall a Fred’s Store being located here when I was a child in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As the above photograph shows, the front of the structure was sided with inappropriate concrete veneer at some point.

The original hotel was three stories; I believe this rear section was a later addition.

The structure had been abandoned and neglected for many years and in the past year or so bricks began to collapse into the adjacent alley, creating a serious liability and hazard. Sadly, this is the fate of far too many commercial structures in small towns all over Georgia.

As of October 2020, the property has been cleared.

Fitzgerald Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA