Tag Archives: South Georgia Dirt Roads
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that this species is threatened because I see them quite often in my rambles on dirt roads throughout South Georgia, but it faces numerous challenges. Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) are emblematic of the upland pine habitat that once blanketed the Southeast but are now greatly reduced due to changes in land usage and myriad environmental factors. The Gopher Tortoise Council is a wonderful place to find information of these beloved symbols of our Southern forests.
Were it not for the name Suomi Road, there would be no hint that such a strange-named (for rural South Georgia) place ever existed. The origins of the name are lost to history, but John Goff (Placenames of Georgia, UGA Press, Athens, 2007) proposed that it was likely settled in the 1870s or 1880s when the lumber industry and the Dodge Land Wars were in full swing. It’s located very close to Normandale, a historical community that was the epicenter of the Dodge Lumber operations. Goff guesses that another mill may have been located here and that a railroad siding or station was probably given the name Suomi (in honor of the Finnish word for Finland) by Finnish lumbermen who may have been working in the area. They were most certainly transient workers as Goff posited no evidence of Finnish surnames in the area. The area has a Chauncey address today.
Jerry Jarrard writes: Suomi was a rail stop in Dodge Co. Ga. I remember when Grandpa took down the Suomi sign and put it in the barn. He owned what had been a hotel for the Finnish lumbermen. It sat behind the rail stop. It has since burned. In those days there was a country store beside the Suomi sight. it may have been named Weeks store. A weeks family lived two houses to the right of the old hotel The platform for the rail stop was a concrete pad, which is probably still there.