This house, a landmark in my travels into Kite, sits on a sandy hill overlooking Beeline Springs.
Approaching Kite from the east on Highway 57, you cross the Little Ohoopee River. The remains of a very large swimming pool stand between the river and the buildings discussed later in this post. Martha Claxton Hill writes: The swimming pool was called “Beeline Springs”. Earnest Claxton owned all of the land around the pool. It was a special place in its day. In a time when private pools were a domain of the wealthy, public pools such as this were among the most popular recreation spots of their day.
Ernest Claxton’s daughter, Lynn Paul Neal penned the following remembrance in Emanuel County’s 2013 Bicentennial Celebration Book. Thanks to Mary Ann Smith for bringing it to my attention and procuring permission from Mrs. Neal to share it here.
Many public pools featured skating rinks, bowling alleys and/or restaurant, but this structure is too small to have been either of those. And Martha Claxton Hill notes that it was not here when the pool was open. Grady C. Riner writes: That block building was built years after the pool was grown over and broken. It was built as a juke joint ( in todays words a bar) It had the juke box for music and dancing. After it was closed as a juke joint it was used as a house. My aunt lived in it for years with her two young boys.
A shed-sized structure is located just to the left of the larger building.
This was built for the Kite Masonic Lodge, but since 1920 has been home to the Kite Homemaker’s Club, a women’s service group. A plaque over the side door honors Grace Harrison Elliot, a charter member. The Kite Homemaker’s Club has worked for nearly a century to preserve the quality of life in Kite.
Montgomery and Railroad Streets were Kite’s commercial center. The town was named for Shaderick Kight, who donated the land on which the it was built. He requested the easier spelling of Kite to make mail delivery and processing easier. Sadly, this once-thriving community is essentially in ruins.
Grady Riner writes that the building on the right was was Blocker’s Store.
The building featured above bears the name John M. Johnson on its threshold. The building just to its left bears the JMJ threshold as seen below. Both are likely beyond repair.
Regarding the two story building, Hatcher’s General Store, Melanie (no last name given) writes: My grandfather Folcher Hatcher was a mail carrier in Kite for many many years. The picture posted is where he lived. The housing was upstairs and the general store which my grandmother, Mattie Hatcher operated was downstairs. I am told this is now an antique store. My mother was named after her mother and father. her name was Mattie Folcher Hatcher.
This is was the old Claxton or Colson grocery store on Railroad Street. If you look at the extreme right you can see a pile of bricks where the old drug store wall collapsed a couple years ago.
This Queen Anne was the home of J. M. Johnson, a large landowner who built most of the commercial row in Kite. After his death, his daughter, Annie Mae Palmer, lived here until her death. Later residents were the Sheppards and Garschagens.