Tag Archives: South Georgia People

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

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

Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, Americus

Happy Patch Market Nursery Local Produce Americus GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Full of beautiful flowers, landscape plants and fresh local produce, Rudy’s is a wonderful example of community revitalization and involvement. Adjacent to Rees Park, it’s operated in conjunction with the Perry Wellness Center, an advocacy and employment organization assisting those with mental health issues live better lives. The staff are very helpful and knowledgeable.

Happy Patch Market Nursery Local Produce Rees Park Americus Georgia Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Americus 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--

Cordele Public School Photos, Circa 1911-1912

Cordele Public School GA Circa 1912 2nd Grade Itinerant Photographer Real Photo Postcard Circa 1911 Collection of Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 20141B Grade-Cordele Public School, Unknown Photographer, Circa 1911

These real photo postcards, made by an itinerant traveling photographer, provide a nice portrait of South Georgia schoolchildren in the early 20th century. They were acquired through the estate of a cousin, whose husband is identified in a couple of the cards. These are important social documents as they bear witness to the early days of the concept of government-funded public schools. They were still a relatively new concept in America, especially in the rural South at this time.

Cordele Public School GA Circa 1912 2nd Grade Itinerant Photographer Real Photo Postcard Collection of Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 20142B Grade-Cordele Public School, Unknown Photographer, Circa 1912

I’m not sure why there are two different views of the second grade class; perhaps they were made in different seasons. Somewhat odd to me is that the teacher is only pictured in one of the images (below).Cordele Public School GA Circa 1912 2nd Grade Itinerant Photographer Real Photo Postcard Circa 1912 Teacher Collection of Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 20142B Grade-Cordele Public School, Unknown Photographer, Circa 1912

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, Cordele GA

Happy 90th Birthday President Carter

President Jimmy Carter 90th Birthday Teaching Sunday School Plains Georgia Maranatha Baptist Church in 2012 Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014President Carter Teaching Sunday School in Plains © Brian Brown, 2012

 

NO POLITICAL COMMENTS PLEASE. THEY ARE NOT WELCOME AND WILL BE DELETED.

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Plains GA

Peach Workers, Musella

Musella GA Crawford County Peach Pickers Farm Labor Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Peach harvesting and processing remains a labor intensive form of agriculture and hundreds of Hispanic workers are employed by Dickey Farms, an iconic local producer of Georgia’s official state fruit.

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

Truck Farmer, Newton

Newton GA Truck Farmer Hot Boiled Peanuts Watermelons Tomatoes Sweet Potatoes Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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Filed under --BAKER COUNTY GA--, Newton GA

Paddling on the Altamaha, Wayne County

Canoe on the Altamaha River Early Morning Fog Wayne County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

As paddle sports gain popularity, it’s not an uncommon sight to see folks out early on South Georgia’s many rivers.

Canoe on the Altamaha River Early Morning Fog Detail Wayne County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

These photos were made during the 2012 Paddle Georgia Altamaha River trip. Kayaks and canoes seem to be getting more popular every year.

Canoes and Kayaks on the Altamaha River Wayne County GA Fog Paddle Sports Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

These images were made at the Upper Wayne County Landing, a beautiful area of the Atlamaha.

Altamaha River Wayne County GA Early Morning Fog Bank Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

When the fog cleared, this was the view.

Altamaha River Daybreak Fog Wayne County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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Filed under --WAYNE COUNTY GA--

South Georgia Tobacco Culture, 1955

Georgia Tobacco Season First Day Music Celebration 1950s Post Card Collection of Brian Brown Copyright Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This rare postcard from my collection is postmarked 1955 from Lyons. I don’t know that the photograph was local to that area; it may have been a stock image sold in different parts of the South, but it’s one of my favorites.

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Filed under --TOOMBS COUNTY GA--, Lyons GA