Category Archives: –PIKE COUNTY GA–

Meansville, Georgia

Corner of Means & Main Streets, looking toward the Meansville Bank

Meansville is purportedly named for John William Means (20 June 1812-28 February 1896), who migrated to the area from the Carolinas. I’m not sure when he arrived in Pike County, but he married Nancy B. McGinty here on 26 September 1833. Interestingly, his obituary does not make note of his being the namesake of the community; it does state that he was one of Pike County’s oldest and most respected citizens.

The town was not incorporated until 1913.

Square Silos, Pike County

Square silos are fairly uncommon nationwide but especially in the Deep South. They’re usually associated with the Upper Great Plains and Canadian Prairie Provinces; they’re often called grain elevators when built in this fashion. These photographs were made in 2016, so I hope these are still standing. If so, they’re rare resources and I’m glad to share them.

Lifsey Springs, Georgia

This general store was once a busy place, when the pool at Lifsey Spring, located across the highway, was a popular site. Like other warm mineral springs in Georgia, it is purported to have healing qualities for a host of maladies. And it just might. I’m not judging. Rev. R. W. Rogers noted in his 1922 History of Pike County: …There is quite a little village at Lifsey. Mr. W. E. Storey runs a mercantile and family grocery business. There are a number of cottages occupied during the hot months and the swimming pools are crowded with bathers. The old swimming pool survives, and the last I heard, was being rehabilitated itself.

This store is obviously of 20th century construction, but a post office named “Lifsey’s Store” operated in the area from 1878-1891. The name was simplified to “Lifsey” in 1891, and that post office was in operation from 1891-1907. It is technically still known as Lifsey today. The road through here is now known as Lifsey Springs Road, because Georgia seems to have a desire to make place names plural, for some reason.

Union School, Pike County

This one-room schoolhouse is located adjacent to Jones Grocery, between Lifsey Springs and Molena. It appears to date to the late-19th/early-20th century and had seven grades. Professor William Henry Reeves and Bessie Carter were the teachers for the 1922-1923 school year. It has been well-maintained and is a great example of a rural schoolhouse.

Jack Pilkenton Turkey Farm, Molena

When I think of poultry, I usually think of Northeast Georgia, but this building near the historic West Georgia town of Molena, branded “Jack Pilkenton Turkey Farm”, sent me down a research rabbit hole. I didn’t find any rabbits but instead found millions of turkeys! Mr. Pilkenton raised turkeys on this land, adjacent to the Whiskey Bonding Barn, which he bought and incorporated into the operation in 1951.

Though the town’s website doesn’t mention it today, Molena for a time considered itself the “Turkey Capital of Georgia”. There was even a turkey queen to help promote this fact. It may not have been officially designated by the powers that be, but it was source of local pride and it employed a lot of people.

Louis Lester McCrary, Sr., who began raising the birds on a small scale in 1932, was one of the first to see their business potential, and his family was one of the last to be involved in the business, which was gone from Molena by the 1980s. An article in the 23 July 1970 edition of the Atlanta Constitution noted that the McCrarys were raising as many as half a million birds per year. At least eight families were involved in the industry at some time or another between the 1930s and the 1980s.

Saddlebag House, Pike County

Even being strangled by Kudzu, this saddlebag is easily identified by its profile. Kudzu makes for interesting photographs in its never-ending battle with structures, but it’s a problematic invasive plant and has cost farmers and landowners millions of dollars since its introduction to the South in the late 19th century.

Atlanta and Hawkinsville Railroad Depot, 1888, Zebulon

The Atlanta and Hawkinsville Railroad was chartered in 1886 and, though it never reached Hawkinsville, built this depot along the way in 1888. The line was renamed the Atlanta and Florida Railway in 1893 and was sold to the Southern Railway in 1895.

In recent years, the depot was beautifully restored and is now home to the Lions Club and used for other functions, as well.

C. M. Smith House, 1920s, Concord

This exceptional Neoclassical Revival mansion was built by C. M. Smith in the early 1920s. Mr. Smith was the highly successful owner of Smith Brothers Nursery, which at one time was the largest fruit and ornamental tree nursery east of the Mississippi.

Rev. R. W. Rogers’s History of Pike County From 1822-1922, published at Zebulon, notes: Concord is probably known by more people than any other town of its size in the South. One business firm here doubtless serves more customers than any other establishment in the State. We refer to Smith Bros., the nurserymen. This business was established 35 years ago, by J. H. & C. T. Smith and has now grown to be the largest retail nursery in the South. They ship trees to almost every railroad station in the Southern States and they number their customers by the hundred thousand. Trees and plants from Smith Bros. are grown around nearly every home in the cotton belt. Trees are grown here by the million. They grow more peach trees than anything else, but also have large blocks of apple, pear, plum, pecan, rose, ornamentals, and other stock. From 50 to 100 people are employed to work in their office, packing houses and fields. Mr. C. T. Smith is business manager of the firm, and is assisted by Mr. F. m. Smith, and a good force of office workers. The field department is run by Mr. J. H. Smith, assisted by Mr. C. M. Smith.