Several historic commercial structures survive in downtown Chester.
They once served as banks, grocery stores, and other general retail purposes.
This endangered commercial block reflects the reality of hundreds of once-thriving communities in Georgia. Plainfield, located northeast of Eastman, is hard to find unless you’re looking for it, but in the early 20th century it was the center of a booming turpentine business.
During the heyday of Plainfield, the community was large enough to support a pharmacy and other businesses. The old Coca-Cola mural identifies this typical business block as home to the Lee Drug Company and the Lee Supply Company.
The supply company was located in the rear of the building and was in operation long after the pharmacy.
The commercial properties in town are now owned by Mr. H. Kingsley, a self-made entrepreneur who came to the U.S. from Sierra Leone 36 years ago. He hopes to be able to save the structures. I had a nice conversation with him while I was photographing the community.
I can’t find any history of the Weber community, but considering that it was the home of Walt’s Bar-B-Q (Walt Gaskins) and the old Gaskins Consoldiated School, it seems it should have been called Gaskins. I imagine Walt’s was a landmark but looks like it’s been closed for many years.
This photograph of Riley Spear’s garage was made circa 1939. Cathy Fussell notes this was a well-known business in Columbus for many years.
Jim Cottingham shared this historic photograph of three gentlemen outside the Merchants & Farmers Bank circa 1905. His grandfather, W. T. Cottingham, is pictured at left.
Midville Lodge 521 has served as the home to the local Masons for over a century. It is also used as the city hall.