Ashburn Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Tag Archives: The Great Depression in South Georgia
This was originally a residence, but the Byromville Woman’s Club purchased it for $75 in 1936 and utilized WPA labor to renovate it for use as their clubhouse. They held their first meeting here the day after Thanksgiving, 1937. A bit of history from the 2010 Byromville Woman’s Club Yearbook: In October 1918 a group of ladies met at the school auditorium to organize a club to promote a more friendly relationship between parents and teacher and to work for the upbuiding of the school and community. Mrs. Minnie McDonald was the organizer and suggested the name School Improvement Club, which was adopted by the club.
They changed their name to Byromville Woman’s Club in 1970.
Taylor County’s Neoclassical/Colonial Revival courthouse was funded by the Civil Works Administration, part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Significantly, it was designed by Frederick Roy Duncan (1864-1947) an architect from nearby Columbus, known for work on the Gatun Power Plant on the Panama Canal in 1910, as well as public buildings in Columbus and various structures at Fort Benning. This courthouse replaced Taylor County’s first courthouse, on the same location. It was built in 1852 and stood until 1934, when it was torn down using convict labor.
A six-sided police station stands on the northwest corner of the courthouse grounds. These were once common features but are rarely seen today. I don’t know that I’ve seen another one in Georgia. I’ve seen a few in the Midwest, though.
National Register of Historic Places
This home was built for the Carver family by the Irwinville Farms Project, an initiative of the Farm Security Administration.
Because the houses were utilitarian and therefore quite small, most families outgrew them. A variety of expansions can be seen on most of the surviving Irwinville Farms houses today; the Bradford house has a minimal addition at the rear but it’s still one of the best examples of the way houses were originally built on the project.
I’ve photographed the tobacco barn on the farm many times over the years, and it remains one of my favorites. It’s an iconic symbol of Irwinville Farms.
Burke County’s historic antebellum courthouse is actually the fourth to serve the county. A log cabin built in 1773 first served this purpose, followed by a wooden courthouse built in 1777. After it burned in 1825, temporary facilities were used until a third courthouse was built in 1856. It burned soon thereafter and was replaced by this structure in 1857. Expansions in 1899 by architect L. F. Goodrich gave the courthouse its present appearance. To accommodate population growth, an annex (pictured below) was completed by the Public Works Administration in 1940.
Waynesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
This historic New Deal post office was saved and is now home to the Cook County Historical Society Museum. Mary A. King writes: My father, James S. Bailey, was in charge of some of the W.P.A. projects at that time and I know some of the work in Cook County was his, and I believe he was in charge of the construction of the post office, too. I seem to remember having seen photos of the construction process and hearing my parents talk about it, but I wasn’t born until 1941, just before the war started and that changed a lot of things, of course. He was doing W.P.A. projects around Ashburn and Sycamore when I was born because I was born in Sycamore and our home was Nashville in Berrien County.
National Register of Historic Places
For generations of Ben Hill countians, Lynwood School, or the “County School”, was a second home where memories of childhood still play out in its oiled wooden floors and back lot concession stand. The history of the school is first well-documented in M. L Duggan’s 1918 Educational Survey of Ben Hill County. At that time, it was a two-story granitoid structure noted as a “consolidation of three small schools”. This leads me to believe it dates to the 1910s, contemporary with the documentation in Duggan’s work. My grandfather attended Lynwood around 1920-1923. I attended from first through seventh grade and remember the best school and the best teachers. I also remember Sno-Cones and Fruit Chews at the concession stand and doing jumping jacks at P. E. with Mr. Thomas. I remember recesses picking up pine cones on the hill. I think everyone remembers their first grade teacher and mine was Kay Batton who was a wonderful influence on a young mind. I remember the mock presidential election in Mrs. Bryant’s 4th grade class (1980) in which some of us got to be the candidates in a mock debate. It was a valuable lesson in democracy at work. And Pam Pusey’s sixth-grade English when a friend and I wrote a play and got to perform it on stage in the auditorium. I could list them all because I remember them. That’s just the kind of place Lynwood was.
The present structure was a public works project of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and I’ve heard that its demolition is imminent. That being said, I find it a sad commentary that communities can’t recognize the value of places like this. On one hand in the South we embrace the past in our politics but want it gone in other facets of our lives.
Tim Anderson wrote a great editorial on the subject of the school’s future a few years ago in the Herald-Leader. He said, in part: There are many in our community who were students at Lynnwood. We lost our beautiful old high school to fire. It would be a shame not to find a use for this old school building. It would make a fine central office for the school system — one more closely situated to most students. The 300-seat auditorium and spacious classrooms cry out for thoughtful solutions, like an adequate school board meeting room. We realize that solution may not be a priority for the school board at this time. But it’s a question waiting for an answer… This sums it up, and the school office idea has already been done in another South Georgia county. The old Black Creek Elementary School in Bryan County faced a similar fate and has been beautifully refurbished for service as the board office.
This is one of the strangest but most heartwarming monuments you will see in Georgia.
On this spot in 1933 during the Great Depression neighbors of a farmer named Bartow Barron joined together to rescue his pig from a dry well. This monument is erected to the spirit of friendship and community so characteristic of those times.
Donors listed on the monument: Reynolds Allen, Beegee Baugh, John Burkey, Suzanne Caskey, Chris Chandler, Beaufort Cranford, Ruth Cranford, Nancy Culberson, Lee Dickens, May Donnelly, Charles W. Ennis, Noel Fowler, Floride Gardner, Emily Garner, Don Hartsfield, Myralyn Hartsfield, Goat Helton, Francis Ross Hicks, Cecil Hodges, Mary Holt, Martha Johnson, Maxa Osterman, Brenda Phillips, Rubye C. Pittman, Wesley Pittman, Randolph Puckett, Gus Pursley, Leon Thigpen, Catherine Everett Thurston, Elizabeth Tinley, and Harriett Wright.
I’m not sure when the monument was erected, but I would guess the mid-1990s. I believe a poem about this incident was published by Harold A. Martin in his book Southland and Other Poems of the South (Cherokee Publishing, 1992), which is referenced at the bottom of the marker.