I’ve been photographing the house for nearly a decade. These images were made in the months leading up to its demise.
Tag Archives: Lost Landmarks of Coastal Georgia
Dr. Lyman Hall was one of three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia. He was also a delegate to the Continental Congress and governor of Georgia.
Born on 12 April 1724 in Wallingford, Connecticut, Hall graduated from Yale University in 1747 and was soon ordained a Congregational minister. In 1753 he began practicing medicine and in 1757 moved to the Puritan Colony at Dorchester, South Carolina. He was among the members of the colony who migrated to St. John’s Parish, Georgia, and the newly established Midway Colony, and was granted land here in 1760. The Midway colonists became such stalwarts for liberty that St. John’s Parish was renamed Liberty County in their honor. In this spirit, the colonists chose Dr. Hall to represent their concerns in the Continental Congress in 1775, before Georgia had even joined the federation. As an official representative a year later, Dr. Hall signed the Declaration of Independence, along with Button Gwinnett and George Walton. After the Revolution, he served as governor and helped establish the University of Georgia. In 1785 he sold Hall’s Knoll and in 1790 moved to Shell Bluff Plantation in Burke County, where he died on 19 October of the same year. He was buried on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River but his remains were re-interred in Augusta, with those of George Walton, beneath the Signers Monument.
The Liberty County Historical Society recently noted on its website that William McKinley Walthour’s Union Brotherhood Society meeting hall near Midway was in eminent danger of collapsing. While doing some re-shoots in coastal Liberty County yesterday, I drove by the site and can now report that it has indeed collapsed.
This relic of the Jim Crow era was a great example of the strong fraternal bonds of the African-American community, required at the time for the common benefits white society often took for granted, such as burial insurance. Its loss is most unfortunate.
The Historical Society made an impassioned plea for saving the structure, but its loss illustrates the limitations faced by such organizations. Donations are often slow to materialize and in an extraordinarily challenging year like 2020, even more so.
The following history of the site is taken from the interpretive panel at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge: Various plantations occupied this site from the 1740s through the 1870s. One of the earliest Harris Neck landowners was a man named Dickinson, and his property was known as Dickinson’s Neck. John Rutledge owned fifty acres on neighboring Bethany Plantation. He sold the tract to Ann Harris, who married Daniel Demetre in 1752. Her son, William Thomas Harris (Demetre’s stepson), acquired 350 acres on Dickinson’s Neck in 1758, and in 1759 he inherited an additional 750 acres on the “Neck” from his stepfather. Demetre’s will identified Williams’s residence as Bethany. This reference is the first documentation of a white landowner’s dwelling on the “Neck”.
Early in the 1830s, another family gained prominence on Harris Neck. Jonathan Thomas acquired most of the Demetre-Harris holdings. Thomas’s 3000-acre Peru Plantation covered the eastern half of the present Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. The plantation produced sizeable cotton crops.
The Civil War ended the plantation era on Harris Neck. The Thomas family subdivided Peru Plantation. Many small tracts were sold to former slaves or their descendants. From the 1870s through the 1930s, a community of primarily African-American developed on and near the current refuge land. By the 1940s, 171 tracts existed in the area now managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
During the 1880s, several large tracts bordering the South Newport River (the site of one Peru Plantation home) were acquired by Pierre Lorillard, the tobacco magnate, Eleanor Van Brunt Clapp, and Lily Livingston. Lorillard’s estate featured a lavish lodge, an indoor swimming pool filled from an artesian well, and formal gardens with reflecting pools and fountains.
The lodge was used during World War II as the officers’ club for Harris Neck Army Airfield. The deteriorated building was sold at auction, when Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1962.
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Along with one of the Corinthian lions that once guarded the property, these ruins and the abandoned swimming pool are all that remain of Edwin Gould’s beloved Chicota College.
Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark
According to the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, this congregation dates to circa 1814. [The church site lists it as Horse Stomp, not Horse Stamp, but all modern maps and the church signs themselves use Stamp]. Either is among Georgia’s most interesting place names. First established at a location used as a headquarters during the War of 1812, the name is said to originate from the clearing created by horses ‘stomping’ vegetation. The first house of worship was built of logs and several frame structures followed. The present structure dates to 1926.
First opened at a nearby location in 1940, and once known as the Shrimp Boat Restaurant, Archie’s was a longtime Darien landmark and a favorite stop for travelers along the busy Coastal Highway (US 17).
As traffic moved off 17 and onto nearby I-95, business slowed and the restaurant was closed by 2006. The structure seen here opened circa 1975 and was demolished in 2015.
Jake’s Places has been an important cultural center in Darien’s historically black Mentionville neighborhood for decades. Built by Army veteran Jake Mention and his brother Carl, along with Parker Theis, Oren Porter, and Frank Mann. It was a once a stop on the Chitlin’ Circuit and legends like Percy Sledge, The Temptations, Pigmeat Markham, The Main Ingredient, Junior Walker, and Jackie Wilson all played here. The Todd Grant High School also held their proms here for many years.
As of early 2021, this structure has been razed.
This house is a bit of a landmark on US 17, north of Brunswick. I notice it every time I drive past it, because it seems so out of place. Its condition is rapidly deteriorating. It appears to have been built in the American Foursquare style, with slight modifications. I’m sure it’s one of the oldest houses on US 17 in Glynn County.
Update: As of late 2019, this house has been demolished.