Author Archives: Brian Brown

About Brian Brown

Brian Brown is a documentary photographer, author, and historian who lives in Coastal Georgia.

Graco Barber Shop, 1921, Cairo

The Graco Barber Shop was opened by Ben Lundy in the Roddenberry Building in 1921 and took its name from Grady County. It may be the finest surviving example of an historic barber shop in Georgia; it’s certainly the nicest one I’ve ever seen.

According to the Grady County History Museum: In 1936 the barber shop was purchased by Frank Massey and maintained by him until his death in 1965. One of his barbers, Winfred Robinson, bought the business and ran it until his retirement in 2010. 

Long a popular Saturday stop for generations of Grady Countians it became much more than a just a place to get a haircut or a shave. Much like Floyd’s barber shop in Mayberry, it became the local information hub where people could catch up on the latest news and gossip. While they waited, pairs of combatants would play checkers while a group of kibitzers would gather around them and tell them what they were doing wrong.

Cairo Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot, 1905, Cairo

The old Atlantic Coast Line depot in the middle of downtown Cairo was a busy location in its early years, carrying produce, and the syrup that made the town famous, to buyers all over the country. As dependence on depots waned, the venerable building was repurposed in the 1970s as the Cairo Police Department. Recently, a demolition of the non-historic interior was completed and a master plan to restore it to its original condition was initiated by Lew Oliver, Inc., a renowned architectural firm responsible for numerous successful projects throughout the region. I’m a big fan of Mr. Oliver’s work and know that Cairo will be pleased with what he will do with this depot.

Cairo Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Ebenezer A. M. E. Church, 1920 & Ebenezer School, 1930, Whigham

Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, built 1920

A sign on this church dates the congregation to 1878, but further research suggests that it was established in the 1860s, likely during the Civil War. In its listing for the National Register of Historic Places, Brother George Donald said that Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church was “founded by African Americans who would slip off into the woods to pray in secret” and that the church began as “brush arbor” at Piney Grove, located southwest of Whigham. The 1878 date is likely when the congregation adopted the tenets of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

This lot was purchased from J. T. Harrell for $20 in 1878 and the first trustees were Brothers Thomas Young, Georgie Donald, Fortune Liphnidge, George Shackleford, and Even Swicord. They built a log church here, which served until it burned in 1920. The present church dates to that time. It served the congregation until the 1980s, when deterioration and dwindling membership saw worship move into the schoolhouse. Presently, the structure is stable but in serious need of further renovation.

Ebenezer School, Built circa 1930

Not unlike other Black congregations of the era, Ebenezer saw the importance of education and built this one-room schoolhouse to serve their community circa 1930. Amazingly, it was the only school for African-Americans in Whigham until desegregation of the county in the early 1970s.

National Register of Historic Places

Georgia Cigar & Soda Company Ruins, Waycross

Waycross native Ben Hagen recently reached out to let me know about this structure in the process of being razed, in downtown Waycross. He noted: …The siding which had covered it for decades had been removed, and a number of great old ads were visible, including Coca-Cola, Chero Cola, a Nash/Oakland auto dealership, and more that I can’t make out...

It was located beside the US Highway 84 overpass at Francis Street and was originally two stories.

The primary signage on the front of the building, as seen in the first image, and below, indicate it may have been home to the Georgia Cigar & Soda Company.

As Ben noted, there were quite a few ads for other business on the side of the building, including Coca-Cola. My guess is that the proximity to the busy highway may have made the location a perfect spot for advertising, before the proliferation of stand-alone billboards.

I’m hoping some of my Waycross friends will know.

Tenant Farmhouse, Barney

This tenant house, located beside the Burton Brooks Orchard, was likely once part of the I. C. Williams farm.

Burton Brooks Peach Shed, 1950s, Barney

I. C. Williams, the first commercial peach grower in Brooks County, built this packing shed in the 1950s. Though it’s now owned by Mike and Lynn Abbott and known as Burton Brooks Orchards, the business is stronger than ever. Like Luck & Moody across the road, Burton Brooks sells at least 100 gallons of ice cream a day during the summer.

Luck & Moody Peach Shed, 1960s, Barney

At the encouragement of Brooks County’s first peach grower, I. C. Williams, James E. Moody began growing peaches in the late 1950s. He began packing the fruit in an old cotton gin by the railroad tracks, as a way to streamline his operation and ship his peaches in a timely manner. As his business grew, he built this more modern shed, originally known as the James Moody Peach Shed. It was later known as Joyce & Moody, before becoming Luck & Moody. Mr. Moody’s daughter and granddaughter continue the business today.

In summer, their famous peach ice cream brings in customers from far and wide; they sell 100 gallons or more on a good day.

Luck & Moody Peaches Mural, Barney

This colorful mural by artist Ethan Abbott graces the side of the old Harris Brothers garage and leaves no doubt that you’re in the heart of South Georgia’s peach country. It’s one of the most colorful murals out there and I guarantee it will make you want to stop and buy some peaches or get some peach ice cream.

Harris Brothers Garage, Barney

Harris Brothers Garage is one of the few remaining commercial structures in Barney. Their sign notes that they did electric and acetylene welding.

Alapaha River at Pafford’s Landing, Lanier County

This view of the Alapaha River looks north from the US 221/US 129 bridge just east of Lakeland at Pafford’s Landing. Heavy winter rains have resulted in a much higher water level than normal. The privately owned launch and beach are publicly accessible at the landing, but not all of the property is open to the public.

The Alapaha is popular with fishermen and kayakers today. It’s also of historical importance as an integral feature in the settlement of this section of the Georgia Wiregrass region.