Tag Archives: South Georgia Restorations

Sugar Creek Plantation, 1937, Telfair County

Upon its completion in 1937, this Colonial Revival house became both home and refuge for Eugene Talmadge and his wife, Mattie Thurmond Peterson Talmadge, known to all as Miss Mit. Talmadge had just lost the governor’s race after serving two terms and this country estate provided  him a place to revitalize and plan his political comeback. At the time, Telfair County was still seen as the seat of the Talmadge family and the rural anchorage was important, as Talmadge fancied himself a champion of the common man. The same voters who had rejected him for his lack of cooperation with FDR’s New Deal programs in 1937 returned him to the governor’s office in 1941. By now, Talmadge was relying on his unapologetic brand of racism to reach voters, and it succeeded; his well-attended rallies stoked racist fears among poor whites throughout Georgia.

Eugene Talmadge addressing supporters at Fitzgerald, Georgia, 1940. Photograph by Frances Trammell McCormick. Collection of Brian Brown. Copyright Vanishing South Georgia.

After another absence from office, Talmadge ran again in 1946, and became only the second man in Georgia history to be elected to a fourth term (Joseph E. Brown, the Civil War governor, was the other). He died on 21 December 1946, before he could serve his fourth term. The so-called Three Governors Controversy followed, and soon Talmadge’s son Herman became governor. He later served four terms in the United States Senate.

The family seemed to have little interest in maintaining the house, as they lived their lives far away from Telfair County for the most part, and it fell into a state of neglect. For many years, the fate of Sugar Creek Plantation was uncertain. It had long been in disrepair when former Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Jim Wooten, a Telfair County native himself, purchased and restored the house and grounds in 2011.

Please note: It is now a private residence and security-monitored.

 

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Filed under --TELFAIR COUNTY GA--

Bailey House, 1904, Summertown

This has been tentatively identified as the Wallace Bailey House. If this is incorrect, I’ll update.

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Filed under --EMANUEL COUNTY GA--, Summertown GA

Queen Anne Folk Victorian Cottage, Plainfield

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Filed under --DODGE COUNTY GA--, Plainfield GA

General Store, 1934, Powersville

This old general store has been restored and is well-maintained.

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Filed under --PEACH COUNTY GA--, Powersville GA

Bassett House, 1910, Powersville

This landmark Neoclassical Revival home is the finest in Powersville and has recently been restored for use as an event venue, known as Rosa Laevigata.

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Filed under --PEACH COUNTY GA--, Powersville GA

Atlanta Birmingham & Atlantic Railroad Depot, Circa 1906, Ideal

This has been restored for use as a community center. This is nearly identical to the old Montezuma depot, now located at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture in Tifton.

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Filed under --MACON COUNTY GA--, Ideal GA

Newsome-Sands Farmhouse, Circa 1882, Tattnall County

Alex Collins reached out to let me know that he was in the process of restoring this structure, a well-known landmark to travelers between Reidsville and Glennville in the Hughland community. He wrote: My great grandfather Claude Sands purchased the house with 350 surrounding acres from Idy Newsome in 1941. The farm was a fully functioning homestead built circa 1882. The house has remained in my family since then. Until the early 1970’s it maintained a working smokehouse, hog lot, chicken coops, and a barn for livestock. Tenant farmers lived in the house until 1980, and after that, the house became a storage space for the family. I, along with my Aunt and Uncle (Regis and Steve Kimbrell), started a restoration in the spring of 2019. Currently, 5 generations of my family have lived on the property. 

 

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Filed under --TATTNALL COUNTY GA--

Bon Air Hotel, 1901, Bainbridge

This historic property faces Willis Park and at its core is the footprint of The Sharon House, a hotel built in the 1860s. Significant remodeling and expansion took place in 1901 and it became the Bon Air Hotel. Originally, a full-height porch ran the length of the facade, with balconies on the upper floors, but this feature was removed in the 1950s. As cities built strip malls and activity moved away from historic downtown areas, grand old hotels were seen as too expensive to maintain.The Bon Air wasn’t immune to this fate and closed in the 1960s, falling into serious disrepair. By the 1990s, communities like Bainbridge began to recognize the importance of landmarks to revitalizing their historic identities, and thankfully, the Bon Air was renovated between 1999-2001, with apartments and storefronts. It has retaken its place as the anchor of the commercial historic district.

Bainbridge Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Bainbridge GA

First State National Bank Building, 1885, Bainbridge

This has served as Bainbridge City Hall for many years, and was recently restored. It’s one of the most impressive marble structures in South Georgia.

Bainbridge Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Bainbridge GA

Historic Storefronts, Bainbridge

Bainbridge has a relatively intact commercial core, unlike many small South Georgia towns who have seen significant losses due to neglect and deterioration in recent years. There is presently an active movement to restore buildings which have long been derelict, resulting in a vibrant downtown. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight, but they’re making great progress.

Corner of Broad and Water Streets

Marble Front Bank (1900), Broad Street

Corner of Broad and Broughton Streets

Corner of Broad and Broughton Streets

Broughton Street

Bainbridge Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Bainbridge GA