Dr. Joel Watkins began selling barbecue here in 1929, making it the oldest pit-cooked barbecue establishment in Georgia still in its original location. Upon Dr. Watkins’ death in 1945, the business was purchased by longtime manager, George W. “Toots” Caston, who is credited with making Fresh Air Barbecue into the institution it is today. Caston made improvements to the cooking process, the sauce, and the Brunswick stew recipe and expanded the business from a drive-in to a dine-in. Even the coming of I-75 couldn’t keep people away from Fresh Air, with many travelers taking the exit just to experience the legendary fare of the “Barbecue Place”. Still boasting one of the shortest menus in the business, there are no frills here, just barbecue, Brunswick stew, pickles and potato chips, and pecan, lemon or Reese’s pie for desert if you need something sweet for the road. And you can buy a whole ham if you’d like. There’s a Macon location today that has a few additional items, but you really should go to the original first.
In the era of big box stores, it’s great to see businesses like this in our smaller towns. When I was growing up, no one would have thought of going out of town to buy their home appliances. You knew and trusted the man who sold them locally and that’s where you bought them.
Rufus Adams and Everett Briscoe purchased an established Jackson seed business in 1946 and established the Adams-Briscoe Seed Company, which maintains a thriving business to this day. Notably, they helped innovate the use of Dixie Crimson clover (forage, cover, and erosion control) in the 1950s.
Pit barbecue and homemade chili, cheeseburgers and fries. And apparently doing it right for over 70 years. You immediately know from the signs that the place is a landmark and the building is really neat. Unfortunately, I was here a little too early for lunch.
By the architecture, I would guess that this was a Baptist church, as I’ve seen numerous examples of this style related to the denomination, but I’m unsure at this time. The church is abandoned and for sale.
Tracing its origins to around 1818 and first meeting in a log cabin, Jackson United Methodist Church has served the community for nearly 200 years. The present lot was purchased in 1845 and has been home to three church structures.
A couple of very nice young ladies were running the church pumpkin sale the day I was in town.