Tag Archives: Lost Landmarks of Coastal Georgia

Hall’s Knoll, Liberty County

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under --LIBERTY COUNTY GA--

Ruins of the Union Brotherhood Society, Liberty County

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.

 

1 Comment

Filed under --LIBERTY COUNTY GA--

Lorillard Fountain & Pool, Harris Neck

Fountain at Lorillard Estate

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”.

Ruins of wading pool at Lorillard Estate

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.

Ruins of wading pool at Lorillard Estate

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.

Details of a painting of the Lorillard Lodge: Courtesy Leftwich D. Kimbrough

 

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.

Fountain at Lorillard Estate

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

2 Comments

Filed under --MCINTOSH COUNTY GA--, Harris Neck GA

Chicota Cottage Swimming Pool & Ruins, Jekyll Island

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

Leave a comment

Filed under --GLYNN COUNTY GA--, Jekyll Island GA

Craftsman Bungalow, Walthourville

The photo dates to 2012. The house was razed a couple of years ago.

1 Comment

Filed under --LIBERTY COUNTY GA--, Walthourville GA

Horse Stamp United Methodist Church, 1926, Camden County

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.

2 Comments

Filed under --CAMDEN COUNTY GA--

Archie’s Restaurant, Circa 1975, Darien

archies-restaurant-darien-ga-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2016

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).

archies-restaurant-darien-ga-entrance-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2016

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.

archies-restaurant-darien-ga-mural-of-coast-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2016

 

4 Comments

Filed under --MCINTOSH COUNTY GA--, Darien GA

Vernacular House, Glynn County

Endangered House on US 17 Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

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.

16 Comments

Filed under --GLYNN COUNTY GA--

Union Brotherhood Society, 1932, Liberty County

William McKinley Walthour, Sr., founded the Union Brotherhood Society or “The Society” in March 1932 to help provide for the proper burial of Negro citizens. During this period of segregation and Jim Crow Laws, Negroes were uninsured and had to use homemade pine boxes to bury their loved ones. The organization collected dues of ten and twenty-five cents monthly from its members; enabling them to have death and health benefits. The Society with 34 members still exists in 2006 with death benefits of $140.00 and sickness benefits of $10.00. At funerals, the Society members dressed in black and white, wore badges and greeted each other as Brother and Sister.

Anniversay celebrations, known as the “Society Turning Out,” had a worship program followed by fellowship, fun and games. The founding members were: William Walthour, Sr., Frank Baker, Willie Stevens, Joe Bowers, Wilhelmina Walthour, Beatrice Bowers, Gus Williams, Priscilla Maxwell, Rose Bell Roberts, Ben Maxwell, Sarah Jane Walthour, Joe Walthour, George Walthour Sr., William Brown, Rev. R.W. Monroe and Janie Stevens. Less than an acre of land was purchased and a building, structured similar to an old T-shaped church, was built by The Society members for their meetings and gatherings at this location in 1932. This monumment is a tribute to their unity, vision and community concern. Source: Historical marker placed in 2007 by the Liberty County Historical Society.

Such relics of the Jim Crow era are fading fast and are tangible evidence of a different world. It’s a shame to see this old building in such disrepair, but I’m glad Liberty County made the effort to mark this significant part of its history. (Though maps locate this at Midway, it’s a bit further inland).

 

1 Comment

Filed under --LIBERTY COUNTY GA--

Dart House, 1877, Brunswick

Historic Dart House Brunswick GA In Danger of Demolition by Chamber of Commerce Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

William Robert Dart House, 1877, Brunswick © Brian Brown

I hate to say it, but here we go again! Yet another historic home, integral to the story of its community, is in danger of being lost. Taylor Davis, co-owner of Low Country Preservation in Brunswick, recently alerted me to the uncertain future of this house. The very people who should be standing behind it are the ones contemplating destroying it. Shame on the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and anyone who would suggest it should be torn down! Their ridiculous argument as to the property’s commercial over historical value is moot considering all the blighted properties on US 17.
From the “Save the Historic Dart House” Facebook page: After serving as a historical landmark in Brunswick, GA for 137 years, the Dart House is in danger of being destroyed.
The house was built in 1877 by William Robert Dart, son of Urbanus Dart, a founder of the city of Brunswick. The house has historical significance, overlooking the famous oak tree where Sidney Lanier penned his world-famous poem “The Marshes of Glynn.” After withstanding two hurricanes and numerous development projects, the house was completely restored in 1983 with the generous donations of the community to serve as the headquarters for the Chamber of Commerce and a landmark for the gateway to Brunswick. After 30 years of serving as a steward of the house, the Chamber of Commerce has changed course and is considering razing this historic gem to build a new office building. But there are options to save this house. The community is galvanizing around this cause and is in the process of presenting several options to the Chamber. Help us raise awareness and encourage the Chamber to choose a path that both respects and honors our town’s historical legacy while also meeting their needs.
After a serious effort by the Historic Brunswick Foundation to save it, the Dart House was razed on 29 March 2017.

9 Comments

Filed under --GLYNN COUNTY GA--, Brunswick GA