Altman’s is one of my favorite restaurants in McIntosh County and whether you’re a local or a first time visitor, you’ll feel equally welcome. Their specialty, of course, is local shrimp, but in addition to other local seafood specialties, they have some of the best fried chicken around.
That tide clock in the background isn’t for decoration; the men who bring in the shrimp eat here. That’s always a good sign.
The daily buffet is small but always has something for everyone. Their shrimp and brown gravy heaped over rice (below) may be an acquired taste for some but it’s a local favorite.
Thousands of tourists pass by this sign regularly without giving it much notice. It’s on the southbound side of the Torras Causeway and is inconvenient if you’re heading onto the island. But legions of local fishermen will tell you George’s Bait is the best place to get bait in all of Glynn County.
The late George Bennett began a bait business on the other side of the Torras Causeway in 1953 which quickly earned a reputation as the best in the area. In the 1970s, with the four-laning of the causeway, the business moved here, to this tiny hammock in the marsh between Brunswick and St. Simons Island. Shirley Bennett, her son, daughter, and other relatives have kept the business thriving over the years.
This warehouse was part of the Sinclair Oil distributorship in Brunswick and was later moved to Sterling, where it has been a familiar landmark for many years.
This tongue-in-cheek sign for an antique store greets you just as you cross the Satilla River bridge into Woodbine on US 17. It may be odd but it definitely gets your attention. It has become somewhat of a landmark itself. (This is an older photo, but I believe the sign is still there).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.