This historic store was built in the 1840s and after a renovation, is now home to the White Oak Pastures General Store. Its last owner, Herman Bass, ceased operations in the 1960s. It’s at the forefront of the Harris family’s efforts to bring Bluffton back to life. They eventually plan to move their wonderful farm-to-table restaurant from the farm, just over the line in Early County, to downtown Bluffton.
In August 1814, the Treaty of Fort Jackson opened 24 million acres of Creek lands to white settlement, a result of the Creek War of 1813-1814. Cemochechobee Creek, which marked the border with Spanish Florida at the time, crosses the Chattahoochee River near this site. The government ordered the establishment of a fort in the area and in 1815, Major General Edmund P. Gaines and Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Lamont Clinch, with a battalion of the 4th U. S. Infantry, selected this site, on a bluff 130 feet above the Chattahoochee, just north of the Cemochechobee. The fort they built, rectangular with two blockhouses, was named in honor of General Gaines. It also served as a supply depot in the First Seminole War of 1817-1818.
A new fort was constructed as a defense during the Creek War of 1836. The war was short-lived and the fort was soon razed.
The third and final fort was built by the Confederates during the Civil War to protect Columbus from Union gunboats. An original cannon remains in one of the gun emplacements.