Category Archives: Uncategorized

Clayton County Jail, 1869, Jonesboro

The old Clayton County Jail is quite old as surviving Georgia jails go, and has one of the more unusual forms I’ve seen. The parapetted facade is common enough, but the narrow overall depth is unusual.

As can be faintly seen in the photo below, an off-center, narrow wing containing jail cells protrudes at the rear of the structure. It is even narrower than the front of the building.

The structure has most recently served as the home of the Clayton County History Center.

Jonesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Old Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1906, Albany

Mount Zion is one of the largest congregations in Albany today. Their old home, now a part of the Albany Civil Rights Museum, was built in 1906. But the history goes back to just after the Civil War. According to their website: The Mount Zion Baptist Church of Albany, GA was organized December 8, 1865 by the late Rev. R. R. Watson. The church’s original location was in a building then known as the Jerry Walter’s Blacksmith Shop, which was located on the corner of State Street (now Highland Avenue) and Jackson Street. A successful financial drive made it possible to purchase land for the church at Washington Street and Highland Avenue. Twenty-six hundred dollars was raised for this purpose. However, before the structure was completed, it was destroyed by a storm. Nevertheless, the site at South Street (now Whitney Avenue) and Jefferson Street was purchased. An old house brought from Leesburg, Georgia was donated to the congregation by a Yankee Colonel named Howard. This became the first church structure at that location. Northern teachers taught school in that building until a schoolhouse was later erected.

Old Mount Zion hosted some of the earliest meetings of the Albany Movement of the Civil Rights Movement and hosted important figures including Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Andrew Young, and Ralph David Abernathy. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Freedom Singers, who participated in the March on Washington, gave their first performance here.

This church served the congregation until 1972, when they relocated to a larger facility.

National Register of Historic Places

Carriage Factory, Circa 1818, Eatonton

These ruins in downtown Eatonton were recently brought to my attention by Dutch Henderson, who notes that they may soon be demolished. Dutch is quite knowledgeable about obscure historical locations in the area and has shared some fascinating places with me over the years.

Henderson notes that the owner, who is a preservationist/historian, believes the structure dates to circa 1818. He has actively sought a preservation solution for the ruins, but they are very compromised by long-term neglect and rapid urbanization and there may be very few options.

The structure was dated circa 1853 and identified as “Brick warehouse” when nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. This date may have been related to an advertisement for the business in the 23 May 1854 edition of the Eatonton Independent Press. It’s also believed that 1853 was the year the Marshall family purchased the factory, which was already an established business. David Kaminsky’s 1975 photograph for the nomination form shows that the roof was still in place at that time, and that at least two modern businesses, one known as Bailey’s Garage, were located in the building at some point.

The advertisement, shared by Mr. Henderson, identifies the business as “Marshall, McKavitt & Co., Manufacturers of Carriages, Rockaways, Bugies (sic), Two-Horse Wagons, &c.” [The National Register form misidentifies McKavitt as McKavilland, and includes an extra partner in the business, by the name of Rice].

The bricks were probably made on-site or nearby. Their dependence on the rich red clay dominant in the area is obvious.

There are but a scarce few surviving antebellum industrial structures in Georgia, so I was grateful to be able to document this one. I will update with more information as it becomes available.

Eatonton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

St. James C. M. E. Church (Circa 1915) & Schoolhouse, Washington County

This historic Christian Methodist Episcopal congregation likely dates to the late 19th century. An architectural survey dates the church building to circa 1915. A cemetery is also located on the property.

Down a short lane from the chapel stands this one-room schoolhouse, typical of church-associated African-American communities in Georgia from the late-19th to the mid-20th century. This structure probably dates from 1910-1930.

Berrien House, Circa 1791, Savannah

Considered one of Georgia’s most iconic houses, the Berrien House was built circa 1791 for Major John Berrien (1759-1815), a hero of the Revolutionary War.

Major Berrien left college in New Jersey to enlist in the American Revolution. Quickly rising through the ranks, he was commissioned Captain of the first Georgia Continental Brigade in 1777, under the command of Lachlan McIntosh. Berrien followed General McIntosh to Washington’s Headquarters and served, at age 18, as Brigadier Major of North Carolina Troops at Valley Forge and Monmouth. Washington is believed to have made his headquarters in Berrien’s ancestral New Jersey home, Rockingham, and may have written his Farewell Orders to the Armies from that location. The Berriens were close personal friends of General Washington. After the war, Berrien returned to Savannah with his family and became very prominent in local affairs. He was Collector of Customs and an alderman and also served as state treasurer at Louisville (1796-1799).

John Macpherson Berrien, by John Maier, 1870. Public Domain

Major Berrien’s son, John Macpherson Berrien (1781-1856), began the practice of law at Louisville in 1799. After service in the War of 1812, Berrien was elected to the Georgia senate and served as a United States senator from 1825-1829. From 1829-1831, he served as Andrew Jackson’s attorney general; from 1845-1852, he again served in the United States senate. Berrien County is named for him.

The home, which was in bad condition for many years, has been exquisitely restored by one of Berrien’s descendants, Andrew Berrien Jones, and is a wonderful example of preservation.

Savannah Historic District, National Historic Landmark

Top Ten Posts of 2021

It’s been quite a year, and I hope it’s been good for everyone. I’m so grateful for all the love, and wish you all the best for 2022. Due to popular demand, I’m sharing our ten most viewed posts during the year, and there were some surprises.

#1- Shark Tooth Beach, Jekyll Island

#2- Crystal Lake, Irwin County

#3- The Varsity, 1963, Athens

#4- Harville House, 1894, Bulloch County

#5- Home of Georgia’s Last Confederate Veteran, Fitzgerald

#6- Abandoned Amphiteater, 1973, Jekyll Island

#7- Wasden House, Brooks County

#8- White Sulphur Springs, Meriwether County

#9- Williams Seafood Sign, Savannah

#10- Top Hat Cafe, 1945, Columbus

Statue of Liberty Replica, 1986, McRae

This local version of the Statue of Liberty was built by the Lions Club of found and recycled materials in 1986, as a tribute to the national symbol during its centennial year. It is a well-known landmark to travelers through McRae, and though not a perfect replica, is a great example of hometown ingenuity. It’s the centerpiece of a small park honoring Telfair County’s fallen soldiers, which also features a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Single-Pen Tenant Farmhouse, Bleckley County

Vanishing Georgia, Coming Soon!

Vanishing Georgia, Coming Soon!

After 13+ years of managing multiple websites, I have begun the process of merging them into one site. This process should be complete within the next few weeks.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2021-07-19-at-16-46-44-vanishing-south-georgia-photographs-by-brian-brown.png
Vanishing South Georgia [2008-2021]

Vanishing South Georgia, Vanishing North Georgia, and Vanishing Coastal Georgia will soon become Vanishing Georgia, to consolidate searches and to make all of my archive available in one space. The new site will feature nearly 7,600 locations with approximately 25,000 individual images. The site’s appearance and functionality should remain relatively consistent with a few new additions.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2021-07-19-at-16-47-11-vanishing-coastal-georgia-photographs-by-brian-brown.png
Vanishing Coastal Georgia [2011-2021]

There may be some small glitches during the process, but I’m doing everything I can to make it a clean transition.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2021-07-19-at-16-46-56-vanishing-north-georgia-photographs-by-brian-brown.png
Vanishing North Georgia [2014-2021]