Tag Archives: Landmarks of Coastal Georgia

Harrington Graded School, 1920s, St. Simons Island

The recent restoration of this historic African-American schoolhouse is one of the greatest preservation successes on the Georgia coast and should serve as a model for similar projects. After the Civil War and the collapse of the plantation economy, the descendants of enslaved persons remained on St. Simons and lived in the communities of South End, Jewtown, and Harrington. They were the dominant population on St. Simons until development in the early and mid-20th century changed the racial makeup of the island. Only remnants of their presence remain, and among them, the Harrington Graded School (thought to be a Rosenwald school), and Hazel’s Cafe, are the most significant.

The school served all three African-American communities until desegregation in the 1960s and was briefly used as a day care center until being abandoned in the early 1970s. It was eventually purchased by Glynn County and the St. Simons Land Trust but due to deterioration, it was slated for demolition in 2010. The Land Trust and the St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition formed the Friends of Harrington School and saved the school house. Serious work began in 2015 and by December 2016, the school was restored to its former glory.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Keystone Lodge, St. Simons Island

Fraternal lodges were important gathering place for the historic African-American communities of the Georgia coast. The Keystone Lodge No. 98 Free & Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliated, is an important part of the Harrington community. This lodge, which I understand is still active, is also home to the Progressive Chapter 139, Order of the Eastern Star.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Reagin Cottage, 1930s, St. Simons Island

With all the new construction on St. Simons it’s easy to miss places like this, but they represent the first major wave of construction and development on the island and they’re important historic resources. Most are located on Ocean Boulevard and nearby. This English Vernacular cottage was built sometime between 1935-1939.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Bungalow, Circa 1937, St. Simons Island

Though it’s been modified, this bungalow is one of numerous historic dwellings on Ocean Boulevard.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Shrimp Shack, Eulonia

Some of the best fresh-off-the-boat shrimp on the coast can be found at the Shrimp Shack on US17 near the Sapelo River in Eulonia. It’s not a restaurant, but this family-owned business is known for their high quality Wild Georgia Shrimp and they’ve been in business for over 20 years. They sell the shrimp heads-on and though they’re smaller this time of year they’re still high quality. They use a price sign sign similar to one you’d see at a gas station, and if the open sign is on, they’re open. When they run out of shrimp they close. Simple and perfect.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Eulonia GA

Smallest Church in America, McIntosh County

Built in 1949 by Agnes Harper and deeded to Christ, the Smallest Church in America has been a place of refuge for thousands who have traveled US17 over the years. While it isn’t actually the smallest church in America, it’s among the smallest. Such roadside chapels are scattered all over the country. It was lost to arson on 28 November 2015 but a reconstruction effort was in place immediately with contributions of money and materials pouring in from all over the world.

I made the first four photographs of the tiny 190-square-foot before the fire.

Visitors often leave prayers and messages to loved ones who have passed.

The following photos detail the reconstruction of the church, which reopened on 8 April 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, South Newport GA

Mary Ross Waterfront Park Pavilion, Brunswick

Mary Ross (1881-1971) was born in Camden County but grew up in Brunswick. After receiving her teaching certificate from the State Normal School in Athens in 1906, she taught in Brunswick and then in Tuscon, Arizona. Furthering her education at the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkley, she received a B. A. in History in 1916 and completed her M. A. in History under Professor Herbert Bolton in 1918. She collaborated with Bolton on The Debatable Land: A Sketch of the Anglo-Spanish Conquest of the Georgia Country, . published in 1925. The focus of the scholarship was Spain’s claims on Georgia dating to the 16th century but the misidentification of tabby ruins on the Georgia coast tarnished the reputation of Bolton and lead to Mary Ross’s never publishing again. She moved back to Brunswick in 1953 but continued researching Spain’s presence in Georgia. Despite the controversy related to her early work, she was nonetheless an important early woman historian from Georgia. Her vast archive is now held by the Georgia Department of Archives and History.  More about Mary Ross can be found here.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brunswick GA