Loraine Frederick notes that this was a general merchandise store, operated by Murphy Durden, and later by Jack Johnson.
Martha P. Youngblood writes: This is another place I remember well from my childhood! Mama and I would visit Miss Dee (Horton) during the summer on some of our rambles to Mt. Zion Church to check on the family headstones. Always had a ball listening to the two of them talk.
Norristown was a busy place at one time. There were now fewer four stores, a post office, an agricultural warehouse, and a theatre in its heyday. Today, none are open, but what remains is one of the most intact “ghost towns” in all of South Georgia.
When I photographed this landmark, it was already beginning to collapse. As of 2016, I imagine it must be gone.
It was likely the busiest place in Norristown during the harvest.
Besides its link to Norristown’s agricultural past, the warehouse was used for advertising. Two Coca-Cola murals adorned either side of the building.
And there’s even a local sign, for Dee Horton’s Grocery.
Though it may have originated as a depot of the Bruton and Pineora Railway, this building is best known as Johnson’s Grocery and the Norristown Post Office. Postal service originated in Norristown in 1898, about the same time the railroad came to Norristown. The structure originally sat further back from the highway, near the old rail line.
The first postmaster was Norris Nathan Durden (20 October 1839-4 March 1933), the namesake of Norristown, and the store and post office remained in his family throughout its long history. The last owner was Durden’s great-granddaughter, Eloise Johnson, who took the reigns upon the death of her sister, Lenora Smith Sumner, in 1961. During Lenora’s ownership, she moved the post office into the old bank building and another commercial structure [neither of which is extant today]. Eloise moved it back into the store building after Lenora’s death.
Eloise Johnson shared this history with the Swainsboro Blade in the 26 January 1987 issue, in an article entitled “Norristown Post Office is a Family Tradition”.