Category Archives: –LOWNDES COUNTY GA–

John Nelson Deming House, 1898, Valdosta

In their 2020 Places in Peril designation of this house, also known as the Deming-McDonald House, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation notes: In the latter half of the nineteenth century, carpenter John Deming moved from Canada to Georgia, where he would establish himself as the preeminent master builder in the rapidly growing city of Valdosta. Deming was responsible for many of the city’s most ornate and imposing houses constructed between the late 1800s until the 1920s, most notable among them The Crescent, completed in 1899 for Colonel W. S. West, who later became a U.S. senator. Deming built his own two-story, eclectically styled home on a corner of North Oak Street in 1898 using leftover materials donated by Col. West from his own soon-to-be-completed property.

The Trust goes on to point out that the house has been unoccupied for a long time and that it is deteriorating rapidly. Without intervention, it will likely be condemned at some point, opening the door for commercial development of the property.

Sunset Hill Cemetery, 1861, Valdosta

Strickland Family plot

Sunset Hill is the oldest public cemetery in Valdosta. It was established in 1861 with a gift of 30 acres by Charles Ogden Force, a former Valdosta postmaster. Like the vast majority of Victorian cemeteries, Sunset Hill has a park-like layout. It is well-maintained by the city. I only had time to document a few monuments, so the examples here are shared for their general aesthetic appeal.

Charles S. Strickland (22 February 1822-1 November 1883)
Emma Tillman Lane (9 January 1865-6 November 1906)
Emma Tillman Lane monument, detail
Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings (27 April 1848-17 February 1883), Dove Finial
Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings monument, The Last Voyage Bas Relief

This fascinating relief is one of four which adorn the sides of the monument of Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings, a native of New Hampshire who practiced medicine and was an active Mason in Valdosta before his death. It is the work of the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Monumental Bronze marketed their memorials as “white bronze”, though they were neither white nor bronze. Instead, they were cast of zinc and were quite popular, and expensive, during the 1880s and 1890s.

The Last Voyage was designed by sculptor Archibald McKellar for the Monumental Bronze Company in 1881. It was based on A Gentle Wafting to Immortal Life, a marble sculpture by Felix M. Miller, and an engraving by William Roffe. Miller chose his title from a line in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “A death, like Sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life.”

National Register of Historic Places

Ousley Baptist Church, 1881, Lowndes County

Ousley Baptist Church was established in 1850 but didn’t construct their first permanent home until 1874. It was replaced by this structure, which has been in continual use since 1881 . It is one of the landmark churches of Lowndes County.

Henrietta Plantation, Circa 1857, Lowndes County

This is one of the oldest surviving houses in Lowndes County. Built circa 1857 by Mills Murphree Brinson (1812-1860), it was later purchased by his son-in-law, Remer Young Lane (1826-1917). Lane was married to Brinson’s daughter, Henrietta (1836-1918). Remer Lane was a successful banker and in the 1890s was a principal investor in the Strickland Cotton Mill in Valdosta. When it opened in 1899, the surrounding mill village was named Remerton in his honor.

Lane’s son, Mills Bee Lane, Sr. (1860-1945) was the next owner of the plantation, which he named Henrietta for his mother. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Citizens and Southern (C&S) Bank and under his leadership it became one of the most profitable financial institutions in the nation.

Naylor School, Lowndes County

I would estimate that this structure, which likely served all grades, was built in the 1910s or 1920s.

Harris House, 1904, Naylor

This is a nice example of the evolution of vernacular architecture at the turn of the last century and illustrates the complications of choosing an architectural identification. Various surveyors might call it a cottage or a house, with such qualifiers as hip-roof, pyramidal, Georgian Cottage, Folk Victorian, and perhaps more. Thanks to Mercy Yates for bringing it to my attention.

Board-and-Batten House, 1924, Naylor

This house incorporates two common vernacular forms. The front gable layout is quite common, and the board-and-batten siding was an economical way to enhance an otherwise simple style.

Historic Farmstead, Lowndes County

Isolated in the countryside near the Lowndes County ghost town of Delmar, this historic farm is one of the most intact collections of original agricultural structures I’ve ever seen in South Georgia. I’m grateful to Mandy Green Yates for bringing it to my attention. Mandy travels the back roads of South Georgia and North Florida finding lots of places like this. Follow her to see what she finds next.

I believe this was primarily a turpentine camp, as the area was well-known for large scale naval stores production. There would have been tenant houses here at one time, also. The structure above was likely the office for the operation.

My favorite structure is the commissary, which would have served all the needs of this small community.

The shingle-sided barn and water tower are amazing survivors, as well. The owners of the property should be commended for keeping this place in such relatively good condition throughout the years.

Log Tobacco Barn Ruins, Lowndes County

This is located near the historic turpentine community of Delmar.

Wetherington-Robinson Elementary School, Circa 1956, Delmar

After a long history of operating substandard schools for African-Americans, Georgia began building modern schools for black students in the early 1950s. This effort to delay desegregation was a knee-jerk response to Brown v. Board of Education, and while the state spent a small fortune building these schools, desegregation was a done deal and implemented fully by the early 1970s. Many of these schools still stand throughout Georgia.