Category Archives: Cooperville GA

Relocation of the Paradise Restaurant Sign, Cooperville

Like many other photographers and travelers on US 301, I’ve shot the iconic Paradise Restaurant sign numerous times over the years. It’s a landmark that most who have ever driven past remember fondly. By researching postcards of the restaurant I’ve discovered that a smaller sign preceded this one and was still in use until at least the early 1960s. I’m not sure when this sign was placed, but my guess would be sometime in the 1960s. A comment from Jerry Levy on a previous post about the sign indicates that the restaurant was open as late as 1982.

I recently got a message from Melissa Birmingham stating that the sign would be removed and relocated to the business that she and her husband Greg operate across the highway, the Cooperville Caboose restaurant. I was sad to hear that it would be removed but less so after talking to Melissa. She invited me to come up and document the removal of the sign.

Dollar General bought the property on the corner that includes the historic sign and their plans were to scrap it.

Melissa and Greg knew that the loss of the sign would be a blow to the community and saving it isn’t a publicity stunt.

It’s where preservation and community involvement come together for good results.  The Sylvania Telephone (newspaper) and Screven County Chamber of Commerce were present to witness the event.

Greg and Melissa Birmingham

It looks like the volunteers enjoyed the day, as did I. Melissa sent me packing with great barbecue and slaw.


Paradise Restaurant, Cooperville

The old Paradise Restaurant and adjoining motel were among numerous businesses that took advantage of the busy automobile traffic on U. S. Highway 301, a primary route for tourists along the Atlantic seaboard in the days before interstates. The present sign was erected in 1956 but the restaurant and adjacent hotel were built a bit earlier. [I thought it was a Howard Johnson’s per the color scheme, but Dale Reddick notes that it was not affiliated with that chain].

This sign was among the most-photographed landmarks on US 301 in Georgia; in 2016 the property was razed but the sign saved for use at a restaurant across the highway.

Though the post office across busy U. S. Highway 301 is designated as Dover, this is actually Cooperville. Cooperville was a center of religious, educational and social activity in the antebellum era. It was established by William Cooper about 1790 when he acquired the 1100 acres originally granted to Noble Jones. His home, later added to by his brother, George Cooper, stood about 1/2 mile west of this marker. The village was the home of Wilson C. Cooper, the educator who established nearby Cooper College; George Cooper II, inventor of the “Cooper plow” also lived in the area…

Abandoned Service Station, Cooperville

This was demolished in 2016.

Cooperville School,1910, Screven County

This now serves as the local community house.