Demolition of the Irwinville Hotel


There’s just something unsettling about this picture of the Irwinville Hotel.  Many people have contacted me with complaints about the destruction of this mid-1880s landmark. The most common comments (and they’ve been numerous) have been: “Just what the world needs, another Dollar General” and “Dollar General is a plague on the landscape“.  I tend to agree. While I agree that anyone has the right to sell their land to anyone whom they wish to, I’m amazed that the community couldn’t come together for a better solution. In the past few years, Irwinville lost their post office, can barely keep the capture site of Jefferson Davis open, and now, is losing this. All this while a local state representative and state senator made no overtures to do anything about it. I don’t believe it’s the government’s responsibility to “save” these places, but a little input would have been nice.


While I’ve seen interior shots of the hotel posted on other sites, I was unable to get such images. At any rate, the property has long been used as a residential rental and retained very little of its historic interior appearance.


Progress is never a bad thing, as I’ve said numerous times over the past ten years. But the loss of landmarks in our smallest towns shouldn’t be a part of that progress.



37 thoughts on “Demolition of the Irwinville Hotel

  1. Sheila Greeson Bryant

    I hope they are going keep the wood, that would make a awsome piece of furniture and save a piece of history. Wayne and Jeannine Roberts can make just about anything.

  2. Teresa Wilson

    Get on some of these historical sight too see if someone will buy it and turn it into a B&B. Check with Nicole Curtis. She saved old homes. She attends there hearings that decide these building fate. Maybe the small town can get together and but it and turn it into a B&B then use the funds for the town. Just a few ideas!

    1. Marc Atkinson

      Its already gone and the Dollar General is already built in its place. My grand father played a card game there that turned ugly. He never gambled again nor allowed playing cards in his house after that.

  3. Carol Miller

    Yet another tragic loss. Although this building had fallen into ruin, it deserved a better fate.

  4. Patricia Hancock

    I have a copy of an article in the Ocilla Star from many years ago titled “Streets of Irwinville: North and South.”. In in this article she told of the building of this hotel by Marcus Luke. Then she deescribes “On Dow the street little further on we cross Railroad Street, where the next building on Davis Avenue is a very old two storiedhouse said to be ( a few words crumbled off of article due to age of paper) then article continued top of next column, continues describing that very old two storiedhouse building as where “Jefferson Davis spent some time on this old porch on the night of May 9th, 1865. Talking to several men” this old hotel later was called the Red House. Davis Drive is the dirt road running by the side of the Irwinville Hotel. So this house that was torn down was not the one that Jefferson Davis stopped at. Mrs. W M. Davis also had a separate article on the one pictured here. Maybe someone could ask the Ocilla Star to run some of her old articles on the history of Irwinville.

  5. Katie E Bishop

    Wow, just saw this. I haven’t been to Irwinville since 2016 and it breaks my heart that this hotel is being replaced with a dollar general. My grandparents still live in Irwinville and this hotel was always a landmark to me as a child when we drove into town. I think the tragic part is not so much that it is going away (the owner had let it slip beyond repair years ago) but what it’s being replaced with 😦

  6. Thomas b huffman

    I am not surprised at what is going on in Irwinville. I left there in 1950 and was not back for 50 years and guess what I found. The same names were still floating around and nothing had changed. Some one mentioned ( grants ) well look how long it took to get the community center started on. I have attended every reunion that has been held there since 1999 and half the time there was no report on how much money the association had or whether a grant had been applied for and if so what the status was. The OAK TREE was cut down and dragged into the bushes did any one think to take a cut of it and make a table , or some other memorial item for old time sake. That OAK TREE was much a part of IRWINVILLE HIGH SCHOOL as the lunch room is. The hotel is just another example of Oh well hopefuly some one will do something.

  7. Mildred Benson

    I read an earlier post where Beth Thornton said there isn’t much a community can do to maintain a private home. I agree with her. This building has been a private home for over 20 years (or longer) and set vacant with no maintenance. Yes, people have wanted to buy it but I talked with the owner several years ago and he told me the building was not for sale. After it was almost beyond repair, he decided to sell it. It was too far gone for the average person to restore it. Yes, we the people of Irwinville hate to see it go down but there isn’t much we can do about it now.

    1. Brandi Fletcher

      Mildred, I find your comment offensive. This was my grandmothers house and my Dad did not intend to sell the property until VANDALS ripped all the copper out, were arrested and no restitution was made. It was “beyond repair” due to these thieves. People are so quick to judge and voice an opinion without the facts. Sincerely, Brandi Fletcher

  8. DJH

    I live in Irwinville…i take issue with those making statements that imply we in this community dont care about history and heritage of those past. Indeed several folks stepped up to see what it would take to move it and restore it…even the gentleman tasked with tearing it down and building the dollar general priced it out…we know because he was having a mover quote it the same day we called the same mover…does anyone commenting have any idea what is required to move a two story house less than an 1/8 of a mile? The cost of lead paint abatement? Rewiring, plunbing, roofing? By the time it is all said of and done it would have been near $200K to move and fully restore… the problem is not that we here do not care….the problem is money….and the lack of good paying jobs…i imagine the owner would loved to have kept it up and rented but it was not up to code and to get it there would have cost more than 7 times the average annual wage of our entire state much less a farm community like ours. Dollar General is not something any of us folk here wanted….that said…at least it will bring some jobs which are desperately needed around here.

    1. Elizabeth S Allison

      There are grants that can be applied for. I wish someone would have applied for one since it has ties to an already existing historical event in the town. If there are any other places in your area that are in danger please look into a grant form the foundation for historical places. They are trying to save structures like the one in the photo.

    2. skydogsite

      I can’t say that I disagree with anything you said, DJH. Every bit is true, thanks to our crappy, former Obama government and a few more before it. Personally, I’m not from Irwin County, but, I do have relatives in the area. MY comments were directed toward the County Government, more so. And, I don’t know that I might not have rather seen the old Hotel fenced off and ordered closed/banned and just let her fall down than to have her torn down, forgotten about and replaced by a junk store that could have been built elsewhere??

  9. Rob Ryan

    Brian thank you for caring about our history.
    Home isn’t home anymore when it’s all just one big Wal-Mart (or Dollar General)

  10. Carrie Sinclair

    Just seriously so sad. My grandfather stayed there back right before he met my grandmother. Hate to see historical landmark tore down for a dollar general. Just another memory erased..

  11. Former Ocillian

    I agree that it was sad to see this property go, but let’s remember that this particular property has been listed for sale several times in my lifetime and no one bought it that respected its historical value. It’s hard to complain about “someone should have done something” if you aren’t willing to jump in and help solve the problem. The only way the historical landmarks are going to survive another generation is if “you” do something. Put the much needed money into the project. Lawmakers can only squeeze so many pennies.

  12. Chris

    Sad thing is, Irwin county is broke….and nothing will be done about things like this……and it’s only a matter of time before Jeff Davis park closes, sadly.

  13. Sharon K. Kubik

    If it’s not too too late can I have the siding on the house? My house was built in 1896 and I need the siding. I am looking for replace wood from that era.

  14. Sherron Dearing

    Bryan, your photography of the houses and churches , etc in the various counties are beautiful. Do you ever do photos of Emanuel, Johnson counties ? I do genealogy of my parents and other relatives who were born in these counties. Thanks for sharing .

  15. Cheri Paradise

    So sad! Our little town of Plains Georgia has been infected by Dollar General and it has done nothing but litter our streets of Plains with those ugly yellow plastic bags, trash, and enticed people to buy more cheap imported junk that they don’t need and will fill up the landfill with when they tire of it. I hate the iconic landmark is being torn down for something so silly as a dollar store.

  16. Judy w goodwin

    Well what do you think about the 1850 village of Westville in Stewart County, GA (Lumpkin). This historical village has been set up with houses, furniture, a cotton gin, bellows for the blacksmith and numerous items, too numerous to mention here and was successfully operated here for many years. But now it is to be disassembled and moved to Columbus, GA where little to nothing is known of country/rural life as depicted here. I understand that there will be problems when they are ready to move as there has been an ordinance passed to not allow buildings to be moved in the city/county.

    1. Mandy Bryant

      I bought Sal’s house which also has historical meaning to this town as it was once a bank, a clinic and held school for lower grades at different times through the years. I believe it was built as part of the F.D.R. program in Irwinville. It has been cleaned up outside but we plan to restore it as much as possible and have a useful purpose in mind when we finish.

  17. Francoise Hipp Fussell

    That is sad! I hope that they will be happy with their Dollar General! It only takes a handful of dedicated folks to come together and save buildings like this. I know as I am on the Board of one such building in SC!

  18. Ennis Willis

    I enjoy and admire your work very much. I grew up in the little town of Meigs, so pretty when I was a child, and now virtually destroyed.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  19. D Irvin


    On Feb 22, 2017 9:24 AM, “Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown” wrote:

    > Brian Brown posted: ” There’s just something unsettling about this picture > of the Irwinville Hotel. Many people have contacted me with complaints > about the destruction of this mid-1880s landmark. The most common comments > (and they’ve been numerous) have been: “Just what t” >

  20. Geoffery L Jacobs

    I read a story recently about a Historic Georgia Pioneer and Politician who is buried in a fairly large cemetery in Irwin County, along with several other folks. The cemetery is out in a wooded area, unkempt and forgotten?? Apparently the people in power and politicians in Irwin County care NOTHING about the heritage of their county.
    It’s disgusting and shameful.

    1. Barbara O'Quinn

      I live in Irwin County about 9 miles from Irwinville, and you are absolutely right. Our politicians….and many of our citizens….care nothing at all about our heritage, and don’t seem to understand that these historical buildings and locations can never be replaced.

  21. Sharon Rice

    Brian, I agree with your commentary on the Irwinville Hotel.
    Thank you for all of today’s posts. Most interesting!

  22. Ann M Deese

    My granddaddy Judge A. J. McDonald live there around 1900. He drove a horse and buggy to Fitzgerald for court and to court my grandmother, Mary Lee Dorminy later McDonald.

  23. ben dooley

    Do you know whether it was even offered to anyone willing to move it? It appears it would be a less complicated move than some I am familiar with!
    PS: Add CVS to the list along with Dollar General!!


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