No one knows exactly where Hahira [pronounced hay-HI-ra] got its name, but it was incorporated in 1891. One source states that it was named for a plantation, which the owner named for Hairaairee, a village in West Africa. No such place name can be found in Africa today, but it is very close to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, actually located in eastern Africa. Another legend maintains Hahira derived its unusual name from Hahiroth, a biblical place name.
Whatever its origin, the small city at the northern end of Lowndes County is growing, along with the rest of the county. New housing developments are popping up everywhere.
Hahira’s historic depot was lost in the late 1970s, but local officials decided to reconstruct a new one. Though it no longer serves a railroad purpose, it has become a community center and an impetus for historic revitalization. Altman + Barrett Architects did a wonderful job of recreating this landmark.
This structure was built in 1914 and I’m unsure as to its original use. By the 1940s, it was home to the local Suwannee Store, a grocery and dry goods store. It was misidentified as the “Swifty Mart” by a local source but Debbie Mosier writes: The storefront that was identified as the Swifty Mart was actually named the Suwannee Store. It was owned by the South Georgia Grocery Company, out of Quitman. They later developed the Suwannee Swifty Convenience Stores. The Tyson Family managed the store for many years, Ethridge and Dolly Belle. A Mr. Futch was the meat cutter, and I believe his wife was also a cashier. My Daddy, James Frazier, worked for South Georgia Grocery Co. for more than 47 years. Other than his 3 year stint in the Army, it was his only job. He started as a bag boy and retired as Vice President of Operations. The once closely-held family company sold out after all of the older family members passed away, and the company went bankrupt shortly thereafter. There was also a Suwannee Swifty located in Hahira, across the railroad tracks, on the right. I can’t recall the exact location. My family lives in nearby Lakeland, where my Daddy began his career with South Georgia Grocery Company, working under D.L.B. Jones, manager of our Suwannee Store at the time. Now deceased, he and my Mama lived here their entire marriage.
(The name for Suwannee Swifty Stores actually came about one day at our dining table when Mama had prepared lunch for visiting executives of the company, Olan Benton, Executive Supervisor, and Victor Alcock, part owner. They were trying to come up with a name after the concept had been discussed and my Mama suggested Suwannee Swifty, related to the convenience aspect, yet keeping the original name involved. It’s history from there. That’s why they said that children should be seen and not heard…I was listening intently!)
Mickey’s Food Store moved into the building in the late 1980s and remained until at least 2009. It has been renovated and now serves another business.
As recently as 2015, there were plans to renovate these historic storefronts but it appears that the work has stalled. Though identification of the buildings has proven difficult, the three-story example is known as the Stanfill Building and dates to 1911. My understanding is that it was first used as a department store.
In 2011, Tom Lavender wrote: In 1957, I worked at Taylor’s Grocery the corner building. if my memory serves me right next to it was Choen’s dry goods. One of the upstairs offices was a Doctors office.
This commercial block, the most substantial remaining historic retail structure in Hahira, was built in the 1890s by R. Y. Scruggs. Numerous business, including a department store, Hahira Hardware and the City Cafe, have occupied the building over the years. It was also home to the Hahira Post Office at one time.
Hezekiah Rugh Boggs (1928-2020), was the ninth of ten children born to Rand and Bessie Boggs of Breathitt County, Kentucky. His musical interests were developed and encouraged at an early age; he entered and won his first contest at the age of 9 and learned guitar while in his 20s. After service in the Korean War, he worked for General Motors Delco Products, playing gigs in nightclubs around Dayton, Ohio, on the side. He moved to Hahira in 1977 and married Karen Wolff Norris in 1980. Karen, an Ohioan by birth, was a classically trained pianist. By all accounts the couple made beautiful music together and loved sharing their musical gifts with the Hahira community; Rugh had a working knowledge of around 3000 songs. In 2003, Rugh converted the old garage behind his home into a music hall, where he and Karen played three weekends a month.
For a long time, I didn’t appreciate the simple aesthetics of the Mid-Century Modern and Modernist architecture that defined the post offices of the 1950s and 1960s, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve changed my mind. The longer I look at the simple lines, the more I like them. Many have been decommissioned to make way for larger post offices in growing communities and original examples are getting scarcer.
So far, I’ve been unable to locate any history for this building, which is used as a quadraplex apartment house today. It may have originated as a boarding house, or even a private residence. It has likely been expanded and therefore overlooked by historic surveys.