Tag Archives: South Georgia Commercial Architecture

Site of the Original Stuckey’s, 1937, Eastman

This structure, located on the site of Williamson S. Stuckey, Sr.’s (1909-1977) original roadside stand, has the familiar teal blue roof that was a beacon to tourists throughout America from the 1940s until the 1970s. I’m  not sure as to the date of this structure, but it’s probably from the 1940s or 1950s. The Stuckey’s Candy Factory, built in 1948, is located on the property, as well.

In 1937, Mr. Stuckey had a bumper crop of pecans and opened a roadside stand to sell them to the many tourists who passed through town on busy US 23. His wife, Ethel Mullis Stuckey (1909-1991), concocted a rolled pecan confection which quickly became Stuckey’s most iconic treat, the Pecan Log Roll (some love them, some not so much, but their impact on the business can’t be understated). While pecans and pecan-based treats were always the focus, Mr. Stuckey realized that travelers wanted more, and soon added other confections, a restaurant, souvenirs, and gasoline service.

By the late 1960s, there were over 350 Stuckey’s franchises throughout the United States, and their teal blue roofs were as iconic then as McDonald’s golden arches are today. The family sold the business to Pet Milk in 1967, but the focus became more corporate and less personal and changing travel patterns saw the rise of other roadside businesses that were quite competitive. From 1967-1977, Williamson (Billy) Stuckey, Jr., served five terms in the U. S. Congress. In 1985, determined to see his family name return to national prominence, Mr. Stuckey and a group of investors bought back the family business from Pet Milk. Though the familiar Stuckey’s locations of yesterday are no longer in operation, the brand remains strong and store-within-store locations are once again found throughout the eastern United States. In 2019, Stephanie Stuckey took over as CEO with plans of expanding even more, insuring the Stuckey’s name will be known well into the 21st century.

 

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Filed under --DODGE COUNTY GA--, Eastman GA

Restoration of the Hotel Willard, Helena

Nearly three years ago, I reported that I had learned that this landmark, the most important surviving commercial structure in all of Telfair County, was being threatened with demolition. Soon thereafter, I learned that a local gentleman had stepped up and taken on its restoration. I’m glad to report that he has made a lot of progress, stripping paint off the brick and replacing windows. He has also done work on the interior, but it’s a slow process. I know there’s a long way to go, but how wonderful that someone chose to save this wonderful old hotel.

 

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Filed under --TELFAIR COUNTY GA--, Helena GA

Abandoned Bank, Matthews

I’ve been able to find very little information about Matthews. It was well established by the late 19th century and was incorporated in 1904, though the area was likely inhabited much earlier.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Matthews GA

General Store, Matthews

It’s amazing that three landmark general stores survive in a community as small as Matthews. This example is the most endangered, but relatively stable.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Matthews GA

General Store & Post Office, Matthews

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. Keith McLendon notes that it served as the Matthews post office until about 15-20 years ago.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Matthews GA

General Store, Matthews

Like its twin down the street, it’s possible that this may have also served as feed & seed/warehouse, but it’s certainly a good example of the common style of late 19th/early 20th century rural general stores.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Matthews GA

Augusta, Gibson & Sandersville Railroad Depot, Circa 1884, Matthews

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.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Matthews GA