Category Archives: Thomaston GA

Pettigrew-White-Stamps House, Circa 1833, Thomaston

This Greek Revival cottage was built on North Church Street in 1833 by John E. Pettigrew. In 1840, Benjamin B. White purchased the house and added an additional bedroom, dining room, kitchen and verandah across the rear of the structure. The Stamps family bought the house at some point in the 1880s and remained until 1968. During that year, the house was moved to its present location by the Upson Historical Society to save it from demolition. It is the second oldest house in Thomaston.

It is now a museum, open by appointment with the Upson Historical Society.

St. Mary A. M. E. Church, 1905, Thomaston

Freedmen established this historic congregation in 1867. James McGill writes in his fascinating book, The First One Hundred Years of Upson County Negro History (2017): By the summer of 1870, Reverend William Harris was sent to St. Mary AME Church in Thomaston, Georgia. Rev. Harris, the third pastor in the history of St. Mary, was born free in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1845 but was kidnapped in 1858 and sold into slavery in Georgia. He escaped to the North two years later and eventually enlisted in the Union Army.

William Harris met Rev. M. Turner, a Presiding Elder of the AME Church, on the corner of Peachtree and Whitehall Streets in Atlanta in 1866…At the Atlanta Georgia District Conference of the AME Church, Rev. Turner licensed [Harris] as an exhorter, and then presented him a preacher’s license at the Wilmington Annual Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina. Rev. Harris received some schooling at what would later become Clarke College. Rev. Harris served Atlanta’s Western Mission for two years before being presented a deacon’s license in 1870 and appointed to St. Mary in Thomaston.

It is safe to assume that Rev. Harris taught school at St. Mary AME Church. St. Mary had a new church building completed that year [1870] which provided ample room for scholars. The school operated in St. Mary at least as late as 1876. Upson County did not open a public school in Thomaston for Negro students until August 1883; St. Mary can confidently claim credit for housing the first successful church school organized for the Negroes in Upson County.

The current church building was constructed in 1905 during the pastorate of Rev. J. H. Adams. Trustees were: H. R. Rogers; Ed Hix; A. G. Cary; George Bell; William Brown; James Brown; James W. Bell; M. Drake, Sr.; and A. Holsey. The church retains its original appearance, though stucco has been applied to the original brick.

Hannah’s Mill, 1859, Upson County

This gristmill was built on Ten Mile Creek in 1859 by Dr. J. W. Herring (1823-1911), who named it Rose Hill Mill. Dr. Herring was a physician by trade, but was also a well-known amateur engineer, having built several covered bridges in Upson County and vicinity, including the Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge. Notably, Rose Hill Mill was turbine operated, as opposed to the more common water-wheel system.

The mill was purchased in 1887 by Dr. George Whitfield Telford Hannah (1841-1906), a Confederate veteran and leading Thomaston physician. Since then it has been known as Hannah’s Mill. The surrounding community, now absorbed by Thomaston, is also known as Hannah’s Mill.

D. P. Harrell was the next owner, presumably following Dr. Hannah’s death. Since 1932, it has been owned by the Joseph W. McDonald family. The mill closed in the 1970s.

National Register of Historic Places

Queen Anne Cottage, Thomaston

Though the central gable gives this home a Gothic Revival feel, I believe it’s actually an “eclectic” Queen Anne. Knowing the date of construction would be definitive; the line between Queen Anne and Carpenter Gothic can be confusing. Whatever its “style”, it’s one of my favorite houses in Thomaston.

Weaver-Dallas House, 1820s, Thomaston

According to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation: The earliest version of the Weaver-Dallas House dates to the 1820s, as a one-room house and separate doctor shop, making it the oldest house in Thomaston. Additions in the 1830s and 1840s created a 1 ½ story cottage with Federal and Classical Revival elements. Stepping on site today reveals that not much has changed since then. Located on .98 of an acre, the property includes two smoke houses, a garden shed and a 1930s car shed, and is as close to a time capsule of Georgia history as one may find today. The house has been in the same family since it was purchased by Travis Weaver in 1840.

Thanks to the efforts of the Georgia Trust, the home has a new owner.

Piggie Park, 1950, Thomaston

piggie-park-drive-in-thomaston-ga-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2016

A local favorite and popular stop for travelers through Thomaston since 1950, Piggie Park is an old-school drive-in specializing in barbecue, hamburgers and hot dogs, and Brunswick stew. They also have hand-made milkshakes.

piggie-park-drive-in-neon-sign-thomaston-ga-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2016

Upson County Courthouse, 1908, Thomaston

Upson County Courthouse Thomaston GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

This landmark was designed by Frank P. Milburn.

National Register of Historic Places

Ritz Theatre, 1927, Thomaston

Ritz Theatre Thomaston GA Working Art Deco Movie House Digitized Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

Open almost continuously since the dawn of talking pictures, the Ritz is still in operation and shows first-run and classic movies seven days a week. It has recently been digitized. Visit their Facebook page for schedules and more information.

Commercial Architecture, Downtown Thomaston

Thomaston GA Upson County Courthouse Square Commercial Architecture Storefronts Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

There’s a nice variety of commercial architecture in downtown Thomaston. I’m really surprised the downtown historic district isn’t on the National Register.

Thomaston GA Upson County Downtown Storefront Rescue Me Market Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

As in most Georgia towns today, restaurants and thrift shops are the norm.

Thomaston GA Upson County Downtown Storefronts Early 20th Centuy Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014