This was the lumber and building supply warehouse for J. C. Hodges Hardware.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Hardware Stores
These two slightly different perspectives of Fleetwood Avenue show the commercial heart of what was once a thriving town. Though Willacoochee is still an active community, its historic business and residential core was divided and forever altered by the widening of U. S. Highway 82. Still, it has great residential and commercial areas and I hope it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the future.
Here are some poignant thoughts about Willacoochee from the late Cranford Sutton, a native son and longtime local educator: When I was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, it was pretty self-contained, the center of the universe. We had two train lines running through here…twenty-four hours a day. Our downtown storefronts were the old-fashioned brick fronts with plate-glass windows that turned inward, inviting you in the door…I would park the pickup truck downtown at two o’clock on Saturday afternoon just to have a parking place on the front street, because by dark everyone from the surrounding countryside had come in to buy their groceries and visit. It was a huge gathering…
Highway Corridor Z (U. S. Highway 82, ed.), as they call it, goes from Columbus, Georgia…to Saint Marys, Georgia…This four-lane highway came through all these small towns and destroyed their serenity and safety…All the problems now faced by Willacoochee and other small towns along Corridor Z could have been prevented if our city, county and state officials back in the 1970s had possessed wisdom and foresight.
I see in the future a revival of these wonderful small towns. I envision an exodus from the sprawl of today’s traffic-choked cities to places like Willacoochee, where walking or biking to the post office, to the grocery store, and to visit others is safe and revitalizing…
I also agree with him on that. Willacoochee truly is one of the most attractive small towns in South Georgia and has a lot of undiscovered potential. Locals know how great it is, but the outside world would be wise to take a look for themselves. I’d really like to see the community work to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Willacoochee was founded in 1889. Originally known as Danielsville, for a pioneer family in the area, its current name in honor of the river running to its west is thought to be a Native American term for “home of the wildcat”. It’s also home to the No Name Bar, made famous in the essay by Lewis Grizzard. The original bar has been replaced by a more modern structure, but remains a popular watering hole and music venue.
The two-story brick building was once home to the Knights of Pythias; today it serves as the Museum and Archives of the Jefferson County Historical Society.
Sheldon Daitch writes: A little more history on the building which now houses the Jefferson County Historical Society. My earliest recollections of that building (early 1950s) is that the ground floor was Goldfarb’s Department Store, owned by Leon and Zelda Goldfarb. At some point, they move out of Louisville and my father moved his clothing store, Daitch Department Store, from the one story dark green fronted building to the two story building, pretty much doubling the floor space for the store.
After the old Daitch location was emptied, Sam Clark opened a hardware store, run first by Sam, senior, and then Sam junior ran it for a number of years.
The Historical Society took over the building at some point after my father retired and closed up the store. I do not know if there was any occupant in the ground floor between Dad’s store closure and the Historical Society’s occupancy.
Also note the brick wall between the two sets of display windows. When my Dad had the property, that brick wall was actually an entrance to the stairway for the second floor occupants. I believe the Historical Society closed up that outside entrance and then made an entryway to the stairs from inside the building.
Louisville Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places