Paradise Restaurant, Cooperville

The old Paradise Restaurant and adjoining motel were among numerous businesses that took advantage of the busy automobile traffic on U. S. Highway 301, a primary route for tourists along the Atlantic seaboard in the days before interstates. The present sign was erected in 1956 but the restaurant and adjacent hotel were built a bit earlier. [I thought it was a Howard Johnson’s per the color scheme, but Dale Reddick notes that it was not affiliated with that chain].

This sign was among the most-photographed landmarks on US 301 in Georgia; in 2016 the property was razed but the sign saved for use at a restaurant across the highway.

Though the post office across busy U. S. Highway 301 is designated as Dover, this is actually Cooperville. Cooperville was a center of religious, educational and social activity in the antebellum era. It was established by William Cooper about 1790 when he acquired the 1100 acres originally granted to Noble Jones. His home, later added to by his brother, George Cooper, stood about 1/2 mile west of this marker. The village was the home of Wilson C. Cooper, the educator who established nearby Cooper College; George Cooper II, inventor of the “Cooper plow” also lived in the area…

12 thoughts on “Paradise Restaurant, Cooperville

  1. Dale E. Reddick


    Some of us familiar with the Paradise Restaurant had a discussion about it and Larry Waters provided a couple of old postcard images of the restaurant and motel which document its affiliations. We’ve previously had some extensive discussions about these topics at the FB group Sylvania / Screven County History. For those familiar with it, it’s a general concensus that the Paradise Motel and Restaurant were never associated with the Howard Johnson’s chain. The signage from the two postcards provided by Larry make this particularly clear.

    1. Brian Brown Post author

      Thank you for the update, Dale. It’s corrected here but will still show the Howard Johnson’s on the Facebook posts as those can’t be live-edited.

  2. David Skelton

    I stayed at the Paridise Motel several times in the late 70’s and 80’s it wasn’t a Howard Johnson. They had real good food. The restraunt has been replaced by a General Dollar store and the motel is fallingg in.

  3. Jerry Levy

    Real cool picture, but this was never a Howard Johnson’s. It was the Paradise Motel and Restaurant, a member of Quality Inns. I ate here enroute to Florida in 1982. It was once a very good motel.

  4. Patty Koth

    Hi my name is Patricia koth and my grandmother was Emma cooper.I found this doing some research for my granddaughter.As a little girl on the way to savannah to visit family we always stopped at the Howard Johnson’s and ate. We loved visiting sites and filmilar places.

      1. patty koth

        Yes. My grandmother was Emma cooper. We would always stop and visit family or friends of my grandmother. Her brother had a pig farm not to far from there. And we would always stop by the post office and the old general store out by the train tracks. My apology for not responding sooner. My mother was ill and failing health before she passed away. Please feel free to contact me on my Facebook anytime.

      2. John Page Wilson

        My great great grandfather was Wilson Connor Cooper. He graduated from Brown University in 1841 and was part of the third generation of Coopers to found Cooperville. Best, John Wilson

    1. Gigi

      Hello. I think you’re my relative. My great grandmother was Laura Cooper Bailey. We lived with my grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Bailey Lines in Cooperville a couple of summers as small children and attended Wade Baptist ( Sunbeams : ) ) I’ve never actually seen Cooperville – only know of it as down the road. I’m wondering if it was the Black community. Surely post war, freed people developed community somewhere.
      Do you happend to know where the Cooper homestead was? I have looked at records but find references to things being bound by “Rogers Creek” and landmarks that may no longer exist.
      I just have kind of wanted to see the ground where my grandmother walked as a child.

  5. jasonemc

    I have been there multiple times to take pictures, I never knew it was cooperville. I also didn’t know about the welcome center. I will have to explore up there some more. Thanks JM

  6. Erbie James

    So I finally get to Paridise, only to discover that it’s gone out of business, and that it’s actually just an old Howard Johnson’s. Just my luck.

  7. brazielj

    Hey Brian, my name is Jim Braziel and I’m an author from Pitts, Georgia. You have a great blog, and it would be great to collaborate sometime. I’ve always wanted to write about every county in south Georgia. You can find me at my blog Southverve. Thanks.


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