Category Archives: Springfield GA

Mars Theatre, 1945, Springfield


Operated from 1945 until 1957, the Mars Theatre was a popular gathering place in Springfield. After many years of alternative use and eventually a state of decline, the City of Springfield, with the assistance of the Fox Theatre Institute, is in the process of renovating this important landmark.

The glass brick entryway has already been replaced, as seen in the image above.




Here, Springfield City Manager Brett Bennett inspects the projection booth. Brett, along with Gussie Nease and Erin Rahn, are leading the local effort to bring back this landmark with the assistance of the Fox Theatre Institute. The Institute is the nation’s leading theatre preservation organization.


Effingham County Methodist Campground, Springfield


Thought to be the oldest campmeeting in continuous existence in the South, the Effingham County Methodist Campground has been held at several locations since 1790, with the present tabernacle dating to 1910. The family “tents” which line the campground are actually permanent structures where people gather during events, which were once much longer in duration than today.


A historical marker placed by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1990 notes: Effingham Camp Meeting has the longest record of continuous service in South Georgia-from 1790 according to oral tradition. The first camp ground was off Sisters’ Ferry Road on land of George Powledge, later sold to Gideon Mallette. In 1864 the site was burned during Sherman’s March to the Sea. In 1865 and 1866 encampment was held at Turkey Branch Methodist Church. In 1867 the camp ground was rebuilt on the Edward Bird tract at Springfield. In 1907 the present site was occupied after an exchange with G. M. Brinson. August encampment includes the third Sunday.

“Tents” of the Effingham County Methodist Campground

effingham-county-methodist-campground-zettler-tent-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2012The Zettler Tent


Effingham County Courthouse, 1908, Springfield

historic effingham county courthouse springfield ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Designed in 1908 by Savannah City Hall architect Hyman Wallace Witcover, this iconic and unique Georgia courthouse was recently restored. It is among the best examples of the so-called Jeffersonian style in the state, and the only courthouse of this form. A newer, more modern courthouse was constructed across the street to accomodate Effingham County’s population boom. (Thanks to Tracy for allowing access to the courtroom).

historic effingham county courhouse jury box from gallery photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

View from the gallery to the jury box.

historic effingham county courthouse bench photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

A portrait of John Adam Treutlen by George Mandus hangs behind the judge’s bench. Treutlen, the son of an indentured servant who went on to become the wealthiest plantation owner in present-day Effingham County, was early associated with the Ebenezer community as a student of John Martin Boltzius. He was the first governor of Georgia elected after the state adopted its 1777 constitution. He was brutally murdered by Tories at the end of the Revolutionary War, near Orangeburg, South Carolina. A nice overview of his life can be found here.

hisstoric effingham county courthouse governor treutlen portrait photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2011

Effingham County should be commended for their excellent restoration of this unique historic courthouse.

historic effingham county coiurthouse gallery photograph copyright brian brown vaniishing south georgia usa 2011

National Register of Historic Places

Folk Victorian House, Springfield

springfield ga folk victorian house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Winged Gable House, Springfield

springfield ga gable front house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Georgian Cottage, Springfield

springfield ga hip roof house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Eclectic Vernacular House, Springfield

springfield ga folk victorian house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009


Jones-Smith House, Circa 1833, Springfield

springfield ga vernacular federal house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

I’ve been fascinated by this house since I first saw it. Likely among the oldest in Springfield, it appears to be of the transitional Federal style. The date may well be earlier than 1833 but further confirmation is needed.

springfield ga vernacular federal style house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Thanks to Kenneth Dixon, who does such wonderful research on the families and dwellings in this section of Georgia, for the identification. He shares this description from Images of America: Effingham County: The Jones-Smith House in Springfield. The Jones-Smith House, built in the early 1800s near the courthouse, was owned by the Jones family in early Springfield. It was said that Brad Jones was hung for being sympathetic to the Northern cause in the 1860s. The house was operated as a “public house” during the 1830s. Later, Mrs. Ethelyn Mock bought the home and passed ownership to her daughter Monteen


Ramsey House, 1831, Springfield

springfield ga ramsey house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Susan McDermott writes: My Mom is Carolyn Ramsey. She is 91 years and this is her home. I just wrote a 150 page paper interviewing Mom and the life style back in the “golden era” supplementing it with photo’s my grandfather Harry Ramsey and father Edward McGinness shot as early as the 1920’s through Late Mid Century. The lot 21 for this home was purchased by Reverend J.S. Olcott in 1830 for $25. He was one of the earliest Methodist Ministers in the Goshen Church that transformed into the Methodist Faith after the Revolutionary War. Olcott sold it in March 1835 with a court house record of a house built on the Lot. Unfortunately a Court House fire destroyed records from 1885-1918. A Washington DC 1921 fire destroyed many of the Census in 1880 and 1890 too. Senator H.N. Ramsey and Mayor of Springfield (1918-1924) purchased this home in January 1927. The unverified family word passed through the generations is Major General Slocum stayed here on the March to the Sea and his horses stayed in the Breezeway. I think Springfield was six houses back then. The original 1831 floor is still underneath the 1927 more refined floor. Carolyn’s Grandfather told her they were just too damaged from the War and horses. Dr. William H Wilson owned the home at the time of the Civil War and opened it up as a hospital per Otto Snooks from the below 1999 Article. Mom says there were two ovens built in the back yard during the war. The News Article “Springfield Bicentennial Celebration Essays” from the Effingham Herald on May 12, 1999 Acknowledges Mr. Mack C. Wilson II, as a post Civil War resident, who “re-built” this house. Adding amazing structural stability – many additional piers to the foundation. The house is solid with little signs of its age inside. He rebuilt the fireplaces, attached a kitchen, pantry, side porch. Upstairs was a loft with a ladder. Mack C. Wilson added a wall for the Master bedroom over the Parlor and an upstairs firebox in the chimney that he moved to the exterior and I believe he reused the same 1831 brick. The house was originally three rooms up and downstairs. Facing the house on the left side he added a wall dividing the downstairs room in two. The original fireplace then straddled between both rooms could not function, was removed and he built the center fireplace with 4 openings. I believe he replaced the siding too.The original 1831 walls are hand hewn Cypresswood panels one board thick. The studs are 4″ x 4″ with corner bracing. My Father removed the beaverboard in the 1980’s to find a plaster & lathe surprise underneath. After removing all that he photographed the amazing 1831 structure of this home. Tell-tale signs are left…the original door to the Parlor is now under the staircase and part of the wall. The two 1831 fireplaces originally were inside on each end the house… our ceilings shows exactly where!

The second major remodel came in 1921 by then owner E.G. Morgan.He completely rebuilt the front house exterior facade to Craftsman style seen in the square battened columns and Modillion like rafters and eaves. There is Neoclassical Revival inspired Portico and gable ends. He changed windows to single-pane double hung Craftsman style windows, added a wall upstairs dividing the room in two like downstairs and added a firebox for the front bedroom.

The era of Electricity and for sure the Plumbing was My Great Grandfather’s project during the early 1930’s…This is a good place to stop. I would like to find Union Soldiers letters that may substantiate Major General Slocum’s stopping point in Springfield.