Category Archives: Vidalia GA

Central Hallway House, Vidalia


Paul Anderson Youth Home, Vidalia

The Anderson’s 1910 Colonial Revival home is the centerpiece of the property.

The late Paul Anderson (1932-1994) was known as “The World’s Strongest Man” and beginning in 1961 channeled his fame into helping troubled youth get their lives on track. Truett Cathy, of Chic-Fil-A fame, was his first major patron in this work. After first operating the Paul Anderson Youth Home out of the Mimosa Motel in Vidalia, Anderson purchased this property in 1962, which now includes modern dormitories and other structures.

A marker placed at the site in 1995 notes: Paul Anderson was born October 17, 1932 in Toccoa and attended Furman University where he began lifting weights. In 1955 he traveled as a goodwill ambassador from the United States to the Soviet Union and there his lifting surpassed many world records. Later that year he won the World Championships. He brought home the gold medal from the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. To date, he was the last American to win a gold medal in the super heavyweight division. On June 12, 1957, he lifted a total of 6,270 pound in a backlit, which was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest weight lifted by a human being. Paul Anderson married Glenda Garland in 1959 and the Andersons established the Paul Anderson Youth Home in 1961. The Youth Home is a Christian rehabilitation facility for young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one who otherwise might be confined to penal institutions. Paul Anderson became a professional to raise funds through demonstrations and speaking engagements to support the Youth Home. Over 2,000 young men benefited from the home and the unselfish devotion of Georgia’s beloved Paul Anderson before his death August 15, 1994.

Masonic Hall & Darby Bank Building, Circa 1916, Vidalia

The first two businesses to occupy the lower flowers of this building were a pharmacy and doctor’s office. First National Bank located here in 1926 and upon their departure around 1931, the Darby Bank moved in and remained until 1973. The Masonic Lodge was located on the third floor from the 1910s until they relocated in the 1980s.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

First National Bank Building, 1910, Vidalia

W. D. Donovan, the first president of the First National Bank, built this structure using the design of Ivey P. Crutchfield. By the late 1920s or early 1930s, First National moved to a different location and this served as Darby Bank for a time.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Georgia State Bank, Vidalia

The architecture of this structure, one of the nicest commercial buildings in Vidalia, would suggest it may have been a bank, but in all the literature about the historic district, I cannot seem to locate an identification and there isn’t a walking tour guide like some towns have. This is a bit surprising, but I hope someone will be able to help.

Darys Cochran writes: It was originally Georgia State Bank or Citizens Bank (has held both names) and was renovated as closely as possible to existing pictures... [I think it was the Georgia State Bank first, as there is another small building in Vidalia that also served as the Citizens Bank.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Western Auto, Vidalia

This is the back freight area of the old Western Auto store.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Sears Roebuck and Company, Vidalia

This is on the rear side of the old Sears store, above the freight door.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Coca-Cola Sign, Vidalia

This restored vintage sign is now used to advertise a law firm.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Historic Storefronts, Vidalia

Meadows Street

Vidalia’s downtown still has quite a few historic storefronts, and many are still in use.

Main Street

The black front on the building just left of center is Vitrolite, an increasingly endangered Mid-Century Modern building material that’s most often seen on theatres and jewelry stores.

Vidalia Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Leader-Rosansky House, 1903, Vidalia

This home, with Neoclassical and Queen Anne elements, was built for Moses Leader and Nahum Aaron Rosansky, likely by Ivey P. Crutchfield. It’s the only surviving home associated with any of Vidalia’s founding fathers. Leader and Rosansky were Polish Jews who immigrated to America in 1890 to escape anti-semitism. They first met in Augusta and formed a business partnership. Moses Leader came to Vidalia first, while Rosansky stayed behind in Augusta building capital. Leader peddled goods from door to door at first. Rosansky was in Vidalia by about 1895, when the two opened their store. The Leader & Rosansky Store was the biggest in Vidalia from the late 1890s until its closure, and the owners were instrumental in developing the commercial district of the town. The pair also bought over sixty acres of land and developed it for commercial, religious, and residential purposes. Mr. Leader’s sister, Rosa, came to Vidalia in 1902 and married Mr. Rosansky. It was a thriving family business. Rosa Rosansky died in the flu outbreak of 1918 and the store was closed by 1928. Mr. Rosansky died in 1930. They had two daughters, but only one, Anna Rosansky Bauman, lived to adulthood. She sold the house to Marvin Shuman in 1945. The Shuman’s daughter, Anita Shuman Momand notes that when they purchased the home the spindles on the cast iron fence were each painted a different color.

National Register of Historic Places