Category Archives: Waycross GA

Georgia Cigar & Soda Company Ruins, Waycross

Waycross native Ben Hagen recently reached out to let me know about this structure in the process of being razed, in downtown Waycross. He noted: …The siding which had covered it for decades had been removed, and a number of great old ads were visible, including Coca-Cola, Chero Cola, a Nash/Oakland auto dealership, and more that I can’t make out...

It was located beside the US Highway 84 overpass at Francis Street and was originally two stories.

The primary signage on the front of the building, as seen in the first image, and below, indicate it may have been home to the Georgia Cigar & Soda Company.

As Ben noted, there were quite a few ads for other business on the side of the building, including Coca-Cola. My guess is that the proximity to the busy highway may have made the location a perfect spot for advertising, before the proliferation of stand-alone billboards.

I’m hoping some of my Waycross friends will know.


Folk Victorian House, Waycross

Waycross Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Queen Anne Cottage, Waycross

Waycross Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Plant Park Memorial Fountain, Circa 1879, Waycross

One of the oldest municipal projects in downtown Waycross, the Memorial Fountain in Plant Park was installed circa 1879 and cast by the Robinson Iron Works of Alexander City, Alabama. The bird on the top was apparently replaced at some point.

Waycross Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Hafford-Groszmann House, Circa 1910, Waycross

This eclectic Craftsman was built of cypress lumber from the Okefenokee Swamp by Dr. Wilbur Alderman Hafford (1886-1950). Hafford was a country doctor who took care of many of the old-timers who lived in the swamp and was one of the founders of the Okefenokee Swamp Park.

The home was later owned by Dr. Hafford’s daughter, Lois Hafford Groszmann (1917-2010), a well-loved biology teacher at Waycross High School from 1949-1984. According to Sheila Willis of the Okefenokee Bird Club, who brought the house to my attention: Mrs. Groszmann was a leader in the Georgia Garden Club Federation plus a charter member of the Okefenokee Bird Club. Also, add in a world traveler. A wonderful lady!

In the back, by a small greenhouse built onto the house, is a Red Buckeye which was once the largest in the state. (The tree remains but I was unable to get a good photograph).  Sheila continues: In the adjacent area “was” a yard filled with all the old type camellias, azaleas, and other plants. From these she won many ribbons at flower shows. She also had planted a variety of other beautiful plants and trees around her house and in the back. And she had trailing vines over a trellis for the hummingbirds and an old grapevine on its supports shading the driveway. 

A few years ago before she died, I contacted LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation near Riceboro & got them to come over to try to help me get some of these legacy plants to places where they might be protected. They took cuttings & after letting them grow in their greenhouse for a while, the plan was to transplant them to their recreated plantation garden.
The fate of the house is unsure at this time, but hopefully, it will be saved.




Holy Temple Church, Waycross

I’m not sure as to the early history of this church but it has been home to the Holy Temple Church of Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith for at least ten years. I first photographed it in 2007.

First African Baptist Church, Circa 1905, Waycross

Now known as Antioch First Baptist Church, this was built by the congregation of the First African Baptist Church, who were the first and “mother” church of all the other African-American Baptist congregations in the area. It has its origins in a group of ex-slaves who were first organized as Zion African Baptist Church in 1870. Reverend Frank S. Hazzard was the first pastor. He was the founder in 1880 of the first private school for black children in Ware County, known as Hazzard Hill Baptist School. After meeting in a log cabin for many years, they built a more substantial frame church around the turn of the century. It was destroyed by a storm just a few years later and the present structure was built to replace it in 1905.

National Register of Historic Places

Waycross Hebrew Center, 1953

Thirteen leaders of the Jewish community of Waycross organized a congregation in 1924. The Institute of Southern Jewish Life notes that there were 47 Jews in Waycross by 1937 but plans to build a synagogue were delayed by the Great Depression. This structure was begun in 1952 and dedicated in 1953. It continues to serve a small but active congregation. Jews from neighboring communities occasionally attend services here, as is often the case with other small synagogues in Georgia.