W. E. Johnson Sweet Potato Barn, 1940, Carroll County

If you’ve traveled US Highway 27 anywhere near Carrollton, you’ve likely noticed this barn, one of the most-photographed barns in Georgia. It advertises W. E. Johnson’s sweet potato curing and storage business. The Coca-Cola advertising has been tastefully restored.

Dick Kelly wrote, via our Vanishing Georgia Facebook group: I was born in 1942 and lived my early childhood a few miles south at the Centralhatchee community at my grandfather Burson’s home. Grandad and W. E. (Tater) Johnson were good friends and traded various and sundry items as did most country folk during that era. I remember, as a toddler, going with granddad in the horse and wagon to visit Tater to do their trading…Tater Johnson built the structure in 1940. The building incorporated a slated floor and sub-floor heating ducts, to regulate airflow, temperature, and humidity to cure sweet potatoes faster so that they would last through the cold winter. The storage house, with its brightly painted Coca-Cola advertisements, is still one of the most photographed landmarks in West Georgia…A local man, along with Coke officials, arranged for the creation of a collectible bottle honoring the Sweet Potato House. The bottles were sold for $15 each, and all 960 of them were sold out within 35 minutes. Sales of the bottle helped pay for the restoration of this landmark…Johnson’s Sweet Potato Curing Shed also has another claim to fame in this part of the state. The site at one time was a drop-off for area students attending Berry College in Rome, and this resulted in U.S. 27 being named Martha Berry Highway…


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