One of Coastal Georgia’s most important yet little-known landmarks is located just outside Darien off Georgia Highway 99, on Tolomato Island near the historic community of Carneghan. Though surrounded by a quiet community of modern homes and vacation homes, the ruins are well-preserved and considered an important resource by the people of Tolomato Island. The area was originally known simply as “The Thicket”. Like most industrial and grand architectural sites on the coast, this location was only possible by the labor of enslaved people. Even in newer, official markings of these places, this fact is omitted.
Text of Historic Marker on nearby Georgia Highway 99:
“The Thicket”: Sugar Mill – Rum Distillery Ruins
On the banks of Carnochan Creek, a short distance East of here, are the ruins of a famous Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery operated early in the 19th century. These buildings, constructed of tabby by William Carnochan on his huge sugar plantation at “The Thicket,” followed closely plans laid out by Thomas Spalding of Sapelo. The sugar works and rum distillery were operated successfully on a commercial scale until 1824, when a hurricane tore off the roof and upper story of the mill and cane barn, and destroyed other buildings.
As evident in this photograph, the majority of the ruins are fairly well-preserved.
Note the thickness of the shells in this tabby construction, as opposed to the more “broken-up” look of later and modern tabby.
Repairs were apparently made in the 1920s, as graffiti on this stucco work would attest.