Signs on the window of this two-story turn-of-the-century commercial block suggest this was once the home of Sloane’s Haberdashery but Alice Walker notes: I live in Gay and this building has been empty for a long time. It’s now used as a movie location; Sloane’s Haberdashery was a set from the film Lawless. Most recently, it served as Bryant’s Grocery in the movie Till.
This congregation dates to the 1830 and the present church building, dedicated in 1952, is quite formal in contrast to many of the Primitive Baptist meeting houses. I’m most accustomed to their truly primitive architecture in South Georgia, and while I’ve seen other formal examples, this Colonial Revival version is one of the nicest. Like many Primitive Baptist churches, the architecture is asymmetrical.
Jan Winter writes: From the history brochure I have, it states that Enon Primitive Baptist Church was constituted June 19, 1830 with the original name being Bethlehem. The name was changed to Enon in July 1831. The original Meeting House was at Jones Mill. On November 22, 1834 the church appointed a building committee to build a new meeting house there. My Great Grandfather, Baker Mann, was on the building committee. After over fifty years at Jones Mill, in 1882 the building was sold, property purchased in Gay, and a new meeting house was built on the present site. My Great Great Grandfather, Maltire Thrash was on this building committee. No photos exist; however it was described as a barnlike structure with only wooden shutters to keep out rain and wind. The congregation sat on long wooden benches which had only one rail for a back rest. This building underwent very little change until it was replaced in 1951 by the new meeting house in the photograph above. From everything I’ve read in the brochure, it appears to me that Enon was an Old Line Primitive Baptist Church. There is much more in the brochure, but I will end here. One footnote – Elder Samuel H. Whatley, mentioned in another post by Matt Bell, was pastor at Enon from 1919 – 1923.
If you make it to the the Cotton Pickin’ Fair, you can tour this iconic home. It’s a centerpiece of the festival. It was built by the town’s namesake, William Franklin Gay. Mr. Gay became the town’s first postmaster in 1886 and later served as chairman of the Meriwether County commission and mayor of Gay.
This old store is well-known to visitors to the Cotton Pickin’ Fair. The main floor originally housed the farm office, general store, and post office. Groceries were sold in the basement and the top floor was Mr. Gay’s apartment.