Tag Archives: South Georgia Documentary

Picnic on the St. Marys River, St. George, 1909

Georgia’s southernmost town, St. George, is located within the “Georgia Bend” of the St. Marys River. This historic postcard, mailed from St. George, illustrates a picnic held along the river in February 1909. I have no idea what occasion warranted such a photograph. It must have been a really mild winter, though, as a few of the boys are standing in the river.

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Filed under --CHARLTON COUNTY GA--, St. George GA

Watermelon Man, Tifton

tifton ga watermelon seller 2006  photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

I’ve been scanning a few of my older prints from film cameras recently and came across these photos, made in the parking lot of the Tifton Mall in 2006. Men who sell watermelons from their trucks are fixtures in every small town and crossroads, even today, but this gentleman had a pile of them.

tifton ga watermelon man 2006 photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

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Filed under --TIFT COUNTY GA--, Tifton GA

Post Office, Daisy

daisy ga us post office lowering the flag photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

 

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--, Daisy GA

Sitting on the Stoop, Harrison

Harrison GA Washington County Sitting on a Stoop Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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Filed under --WASHINGTON COUNTY GA--, Harrison GA

Hitching Horses at Parker’s, Surrency

Surrency GA Appling County Hitching a Horse at Parkers Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

I made this photograph in 2010 and somehow forgot all about it until working on my archives today. It’s quite unusual to see a horse being hitched at a convenience store, though I’m sure Surrency once had more than its fair share of horses. These young men even made sure to “park” the horses within the marked parking spaces.

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Filed under --APPLING COUNTY GA--, Surrency GA

Catface Turpentine Festival, Portal

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Bad weather didn’t keep people away from this year’s 34th Annual Catface Turpentine Festival in Portal, which bills itself “The Turpentine City”. The recently named Bobby Ronald Newton Turpentine Museum (background, above) is the focal point of the festival. In 1982, Denver Holllingsworth and the Portal Heritage Society suggested restoring the old Carter still and with enthusiastic community involvement, the old boiler was finally relit. The Carter still is one of only three remaining in Georgia. The two other stills are located in Tifton and Walthourville.

Roger Branch in the Bobby Ronald Newton Turpentine Museum Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

As he’s been doing since the festival’s inception, Mr. Roger Branch is on hand each year and eager to tell you anything you might want to know about the history of what was once South Georgia’s biggest industry. Roger is the retired chairman of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Georgia Southern University and has always been interested in preserving historical and cultural aspects of life in South Georgia. I like to think of him as the “Ambassador of Turpentine”. The calendars behind him were produced for many years by the American Turpentine Farmers Association (ATFA) in Valdosta and feature annual winners of the Miss Gum Spirits of Turpentine contests. The ATFA disbanded in the early 1990s, as commercial production of turpentine disappeared from the scene.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Carter & Son Marker Museum Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

There are several of these old markers on the walls of the Turpentine Museum, from the Carter & Son turpentine operations. F. N. Carter, Sr., put Portal on the map as one of Georgia’s centers of the naval stores industry in the 1930s and along with his son E. C. Carter maintained this vital part of the area’s economy until the early 1960s.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Bottling Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

David King, from the Georgia Museum of Agriculture at Tifton’s Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), is an expert on the distillation of turpentine and runs the old Carter still at the festival.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Barrel Distillation Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The museum’s namesake, Bobby Ronald Newton, was a longtime volunteer at the festival and was instrumental in preserving the area’s turpentine history.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Bobby Ronald Newton Turpentine Museum Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The little building beside the still is filled with all sorts of memorabilia, from signs and calendars to tools and even catfaces themselves. To those who don’t already know, the name catface was given to the slashes cut into pines to gather sap. They’re said to resemble cat’s whiskers.

Bobby Ronald Newton Turpentine Museum Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Also on display are Herty cups (below left) and other early innovations for the collection of sap.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal Georgia Bobby Ronald Newton Turpentine Museum Herty Cup Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Perhaps the most popular item, though, is the hardened gum rosin itself, which has a gem-like appearance.

Portal GA Catface Turpentine Festival Gum Rosin Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

A variety of vendors and activities for the kids insure a good day at the festival.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA People Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Come and learn about this vital part of South Georgia’s history, and have fun in the process.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Crowds Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

You might even try some Rosin Potatoes.

Catface Turpentine Festival Portal GA Rosin Baked Potatoes Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --BULLOCH COUNTY GA--, Portal GA

Hot Boiled Peanuts, Claxton

Hot Boiled Peanuts Roadside Vendor Claxton GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Hot boiled peanuts really are a sort of Southern caviar. If you don’t understand, you probably never will. But as any Southerner will tell you, we love ’em down here! Georgia leads the nation in peanut production, so there are plenty to go around. Roadside vendors like this one are a link to the past and no small town in South Georgia is worth its salt if it doesn’t have at least one. Amanda Jones Little says this seller “has the best in town” and nice produce, as well.

 

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--, Claxton GA

Dickey Farms Peaches, 1936, Musella

dickey-farms-legendary-peaches-ice-cream-musella-ga-crawford-county-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2014

The packinghouse at Dickey Farms is the oldest continuously operating facility of its kind in Georgia. Built in 1936 from lumbers hewn on land owned by “Mr. Bob” Dickey, it’s the most prominent structure in Musella and a real icon of Georgia’s most famous crop. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s the center of life in this friendly little Middle Georgia town. If you pass through here when peaches aren’t in season, you might think it’s a ghost town, but when they are in season, it’s like a small metropolis. Everything here revolves around peaches. The season runs from the middle of May through the second week of August and Dickey Farms is open seven days a week. When I walked onto the “porch” at the packinghouse I was greeted by baskets full of these beautiful June Princes, a variety of Semi-Freestone that gets plump and sweet around the 10th of June.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA June Prince Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

A bit of history from the Dickey Farms website*: Robert L. “Mr. Bob” Dickey was an early pioneer of “multi-tasking”, being a postmaster, undertaker, depot agent and general store manager.  However, his heart was in the peach industry, and we are reaping the rewards today.

In the early days of Dickey Farms mules were used to plow the orchards and also for transportation of peaches to the packinghouse.  At that time, most of the work was done manually.  However, “Mr. Bob” was a forward-thinker, always wanting to introduce labor saving equipment. He installed Georgia’s very first brushing machine to remove the peach fuzz. He was also one of the first producers to include a hydro-cooling system that places peaches in 35-degree water to remove field dust and slow the ripening process, making them perfect when reaching the northern markets.   

Today, his grandson, Robert L. Dickey, II and his great-grandson, Robert L. Dickey, III, work together to ensure that a Dickey Farms peach is the freshest, most succulent fruit available. While “Mr. Bob” shipped all his fruit by refrigerated railroad cars, peaches today are shipped by refrigerated trucks, which can reach some markets overnight.  Although many changes in the industry have been made over the last 100 years, the Dickey family still continues the tradition of providing the highest quality peach.

* Though the packinghouse dates to 1936, Dickey Farms has been involved in local agriculture since 1897.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The “porch” is filled with old-fashioned rocking chairs and plenty of ceiling fans. Numerous products made with Dickey Farms’ Georgia peaches can be found throughout. I bought pickled peaches, peach preserves, peach gumballs for the kids, and my friend bought some peach bread and syrup. If you love peaches, Dickey Farms will not disappoint.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Rocking Chairs Packing Shed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Fresh local produce is also for sale when available.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Fresh Local Produce Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The sweet corn looked really good.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Fresh Sweet Corn on Ice Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

And though the peaches are the main attraction here, the grading, sizing and sorting operation is a wonder in itself.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Autoline Fruit Sizing System Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The Autoline Fruit Sizing System, renovated in 2010, begins by maneuvering the peaches into a single layer instead of piled atop each other, then lining them up in single rows so they can be sized.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Automated Fruit Sizing System Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

A computerized optical sizer sorts the peaches and distributes them for packing into awaiting boxes.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Peaches Ready for Packing Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Even with mechanization, the peach industry is still quite labor intensive.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Crawfor County Grading Sorting Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

It’s amazing to see such a process. So many people only know food as something from the grocery store, but at this packinghouse, everyone gets a lesson of how much work goes into our food supply. I noticed this father and his daughters enjoying the view with some homemade peach ice cream, one of the most popular products at Dickey Farms.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Watching the Autoline Sizing System Eating Peach Ice Cream Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Just don’t forget your peaches! The employees are all very friendly and courteous and can easily answer any questions you might have. This place is a real treasure.

Dickey Farms Peaches Musella GA Buying Fresh Peaches Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Visit the website for specifics and directions to Musella, as well as information on specific varieties and ripe dates. And if you can’t make it to Musella, you can order directly from Dickey Farms online.

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Filed under --CRAWFORD COUNTY GA--, Musella GA

Johnnie’s Drive In, 1945, Fitzgerald

Johnnies Drive In Parking Lot Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Upon learning that Johnnie’s Drive In would soon be a memory, I immediately felt the need to take my camera and record some of the energy that makes this place so special. It’s important to many people for many reasons. It’s an anchor of my memory, where I’ve spent many evenings with dear friends who worked and socialized here, and where I’ve always felt at home. But it represents more than sentiment. It’s among the last generation of roadside diners and beer joints that rose to popularity during World War II where kids hung out beside juke boxes and car hops came to you and took your order. The car hops at Johnnie’s were gone by the late 1990s but I remember them well. Many thanks to Phillip Joe Luke for sharing this wonderful history. His words are in italics.

Johnnies Drive In Restaurant Fitzgerald GA Landmark Denise Picking Up an Order Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnie Rochester Wise and Ollie Mae Roberts Luke Wise (Archival Images Courtesy of Phillip Joe Luke, unless otherwise noted). Johnnie and his family moved to Fitzgerald from Columbus in late 1930s.

Johnnie Wise Ollie May Roberts Luke Founders of Johnnies Drive In Photo Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke

The first family restaurant was in the 800 block of North Grant Street and it was called The Silver Moon. (It was opened by Johnnie’s father, John Franklin Wise).  About 1943 or so they opened Johnnie’s Drive In. The Johnnie scrambled hamburger  (better known as the Johnnie Burger) was his creation. The scrambled dog idea came from the Dinglewood Pharmacy in his native home of Columbus (it has a slightly different recipe).

Silver Moon business card from my collection.

Johnnies Drive In Before it was Johnnies The Silver Moon Grant Street Fitzgerald GA Late 1930s Collection of Brian Brown For Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

On the same lot of Johnnie’s Drive In was the old motel and the Princess Club. The Princess Club burned down many years ago and the remains of the motel are still there.

Abandoned Motel Beside Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The name of the motel has been long forgotten.

Abandoned Motel Beside Johnnies Drive In Interior Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Here’s an image of Johnnie’s, in the early 1950s.

Johnnies Drive In Early 1950s Fitzgerald GA Archival Photograph Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Beer was served, along with fried shrimp and fried oysters on the short order menu. The Scramble (not Scrambled, as many call it today) Dog and the Dog Cicle were popular items from the start, but the Dog Cicle, akin to a corn dog, has been gone for many years.

Johnnie died in 1969 and my grandmother carried on the tradition for many years. All of my family members dedicated their lives to Johnnie’s until their health failed and could no longer operate the restaurant. Uncle Coot managed during the day, Uncle Carl at night.

Russel Cooter Luke Johnnie Wise Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA 1950s Photograph Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke Vanishing South Georgia 2015

Russell (Coot) Luke, Jr., with Johnnie Wise (right).

Carl Luke at Johnnies Drive Photograph Courtesy Phillip Joe Luke Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Carl Luke manning the register at Johnnies.

Uncle Flop scrubbed that exhaust hood every Monday until it sparkled. Aunt Betty worked there off and on through the years. Even my mother served as a carhop while I was inside in a play pen. Many of you will remember Mary McElroy as one of the finest cooks in the history of Johnnie’s. Mary left us way too soon. We are so thankful that Jimmy and Carolyn Puckett came along to manage the restaurant in the mid 1980s. Restaurant management is not an easy task and Carolyn succeeded and made it look easy. Thank you so much. And thanks to all of the faithful customers for 70+ years of business in Fitzgerald. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Carolyn Chambers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Carolyn Chambers has managed Johnnie’s for over 25 years and kept this landmark alive. Customers think of her as family and Johnnie’s a home away from home.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Estelle Stapleton Cooking Breakfast Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Carolyn’s sister, Estelle Stapleton, has been cooking here for years. People love her as much as they love her food.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Ruby Chambers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Ruby Chambers, Carolyn’s sister-in-law, usually knows your order when you walk in the door. Love this lady!

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Restaurant Carolyn Chambers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Denise Jordan helping Carolyn. I’ve known Denise all my life, too.

I want to thank Carolyn for giving me access for these photographs. I know she doesn’t really like to have her picture taken so it means a lot. I love all of you at Johnnie’s, past and present.

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Landmark Soon to Close Patrons Having Breakfast Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Homemade Breakfast Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In in 2012 Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Johnnies Drive In Fitzgerald GA Dr Pepper Sign Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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

Crystal Lake, Irwin County

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Beach Scene 1980s Postcard Photograph

These photographs are from a postcard dating to the late 1980s and show Crystal Lake at the height of its popularity.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Beach 1980s Postcard Photograph

Cutoff denim shorts were a common sight on the beach at the time.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Swimmers 1980s Postcard Photograph

The lake was always popular, but when features like the Slippery Dip waterslide (below) were added, the park took on a new dimension of popularity.

Crystal Lake Irwin County GA Slippery Dip Waterslide Late 1980s Postcard Photograph

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Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--