Tag Archives: Signs of Coastal Georgia

Pinkie Master’s, 1953, Savannah

Savannah has always been a drinking town and Pinkie Master’s dive bar at 318 Drayton Street was its epicenter from 1953-2016. Luis Christopher Masterpolis, better known as Pinkie Master, wisely located his establishment across Drayton Street from the old DeSoto Hilton, in its day Savannah’s hotel of choice for politicians and businessmen. Masterpolis loved politics and over the years local and state elected officials made unofficial campaign stops here. An urban legend that Jimmy Carter announced his presidential run standing atop the bar has been refuted but Carter dropped in on the evening before St. Patrick’s Day 1978 and paid tribute to Pinkie, who had died about a year earlier.

The perfection of Pinkie Master’s, as anyone who ever drank a beer there would tell you, was its lack of pretense. It was a dive bar in the truest since, serving cheap American tallboys and never taking credit cards. The booths and seats were often sticky and the smell of stale beer and cigarettes (long after the smoking ban) lingered in the air. You had to walk up to the bar and order as there was no table service. And fist fights were common from time to time. Just what you’d expect in a dive bar.

A good friend of mine who owned the building at one time stated that he loved having Pinkie’s as a tenant. There were occasional complaints, he noted, but Savannah loved the place and the complaints generally went unanswered. With new ownership came myriad changes. Legal issues brought on by unclear ownership and the sorts of things one might expect to befall a dive bar came front and center and a new owner took over by early 2016. A PBR sign still hangs outside, but a new nameplate identifies the restructured establishment, The Original Pinkie Masters. Varying camps will debate whether it’s anything near the original, but I’ll leave that to locals, being just an occasional patron myself.

 

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

The Cypress Bar & Lounge, Darien

This watering hole is a favorite with locals and I’ve always appreciated its mural of a cypress swamp. I believe it was named for the adjacent Cypress Cabin Court, (originally Delta Cabin Court, tourist cabins still standing and in use as apartments).

Their newest sign got my attention, and a laugh.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA

Taylor’s Art Store Ghost Mural, Savannah

Murals were very common as advertising in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most have been painted over but some have been saved and some exposed during restorations. This one, for Taylor’s Art Store is a favorite. The supporting advertisement for Seal of North Carolina Plug Cut Tobacco is quite rare and likely dates the mural from 1880-1890.

Savannah Historic District, National Historic Landmark

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

Carey Hilliard’s, Savannah

If you know anything about Savannah, you’re likely familiar with this sign and the iconic local food chain it represents. The story goes that Carey Hilliard hitchhiked from Jesup to Savannah in the 1950s and failed at his first attempt in the restaurant business. He persevered and made another go at in 1960 and the rest is history. Five locations would follow the original on Skidaway Road and the chain even expanded to Charleston in 1979. Carey and his wife Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1982 but the fare they made famous remains a popular local favorite.

This photo was made at the Waters Avenue location.

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

Todd’s Grocery, 1940s, Gum Branch

The Gum Branch (sometimes written as one word, Gumbranch) community dates to at least 1833, when records show that members of Beard’s Creek Primitive Baptist Church organized Gum Branch Primitive Baptist Church in western Liberty County.

Kyle Corrigan writes: According to my grandma, the store was opened by Charles and Vera Todd, my great-grandparents, sometime in the 1940s. My grandma has memories of working in the store as a teenager in the 1960s, and they actually lived in the house behind the store. In the 50s the store also had gas pumps outside the building, which are currently in my grandma’s possession. The store closed in the late 1980s after Charles passed away and Shuman’s Gas Station (now called E-Z Quick Stop) opened across the street.

My great-grandparents originally lived in Willie, Georgia, but left during World War 2 because of the creation of Fort Stewart on that land. To this day many Todds still live in Gum Branch. In fact, my grandpa actually served as the first mayor after the city was incorporated in 1979. According to my grandpa, they incorporated in order to stop nearby Hinesville from expanding their area, as they feared there would be an increase in tax rates. Also, almost everyone who lives here calls it Gum Branch, but legally it is Gumbranch, apparently the result of a clerical error.

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Gum Branch GA

Ellabell Feed & Seed

A user on Vanishing South Georgia wrote: The Pine Mountain Gas Station used to be here but burned down sometime in the 1980s. There was an alligator out back they called Old Joe. If you called him you had better have a burger for him. He would sit and sun himself in front of Jack Shuman’s station next door. The DNR finally moved him.

This store isn’t really that old but the story of Old Joe is too good not to share.

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Filed under -BRYAN COUNTY, Ellabell GA

Hardware Store, Pembroke

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Filed under -BRYAN COUNTY, Pembroke GA