I. C. Williams, the first commercial peach grower in Brooks County, built this packing shed in the 1950s. Though it’s now owned by Mike and Lynn Abbott and known as Burton Brooks Orchards, the business is stronger than ever. Like Luck & Moody across the road, Burton Brooks sells at least 100 gallons of ice cream a day during the summer.
At the encouragement of Brooks County’s first peach grower, I. C. Williams, James E. Moody began growing peaches in the late 1950s. He began packing the fruit in an old cotton gin by the railroad tracks, as a way to streamline his operation and ship his peaches in a timely manner. As his business grew, he built this more modern shed, originally known as the James Moody Peach Shed. It was later known as Joyce & Moody, before becoming Luck & Moody. Mr. Moody’s daughter and granddaughter continue the business today.
In summer, their famous peach ice cream brings in customers from far and wide; they sell 100 gallons or more on a good day.
This colorful mural by artist Ethan Abbott graces the side of the old Harris Brothers garage and leaves no doubt that you’re in the heart of South Georgia’s peach country. It’s one of the most colorful murals out there and I guarantee it will make you want to stop and buy some peaches or get some peach ice cream.
Harris Brothers Garage is one of the few remaining commercial structures in Barney. Their sign notes that they did electric and acetylene welding.
This view of the Alapaha River looks north from the US 221/US 129 bridge just east of Lakeland at Pafford’s Landing. Heavy winter rains have resulted in a much higher water level than normal. The privately owned launch and beach are publicly accessible at the landing, but not all of the property is open to the public.
The Alapaha is popular with fishermen and kayakers today. It’s also of historical importance as an integral feature in the settlement of this section of the Georgia Wiregrass region.
No one knows exactly where Hahira [pronounced hay-HI-ra] got its name, but it was incorporated in 1891. One source states that it was named for a plantation, which the owner named for Hairaairee, a village in West Africa. No such place name can be found in Africa today, but it is very close to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, actually located in eastern Africa. Another legend maintains Hahira derived its unusual name from Hahiroth, a biblical place name.
Whatever its origin, the small city at the northern end of Lowndes County is growing, along with the rest of the county. New housing developments are popping up everywhere.
This historic home, located along the railroad tracks, has recently been restored, perhaps for commercial use.
Hahira’s historic depot was lost in the late 1970s, but local officials decided to reconstruct a new one. Though it no longer serves a railroad purpose, it has become a community center and an impetus for historic revitalization. Altman + Barrett Architects did a wonderful job of recreating this landmark.
This structure was built in 1914 and I’m unsure as to its original use. By the 1940s, it was home to the local Suwannee Store, a grocery and dry goods store. It was misidentified as the “Swifty Mart” by a local source but Debbie Mosier writes: The storefront that was identified as the Swifty Mart was actually named the Suwannee Store. It was owned by the South Georgia Grocery Company, out of Quitman. They later developed the Suwannee Swifty Convenience Stores. The Tyson Family managed the store for many years, Ethridge and Dolly Belle. A Mr. Futch was the meat cutter, and I believe his wife was also a cashier. My Daddy, James Frazier, worked for South Georgia Grocery Co. for more than 47 years. Other than his 3 year stint in the Army, it was his only job. He started as a bag boy and retired as Vice President of Operations. The once closely-held family company sold out after all of the older family members passed away, and the company went bankrupt shortly thereafter. There was also a Suwannee Swifty located in Hahira, across the railroad tracks, on the right. I can’t recall the exact location. My family lives in nearby Lakeland, where my Daddy began his career with South Georgia Grocery Company, working under D.L.B. Jones, manager of our Suwannee Store at the time. Now deceased, he and my Mama lived here their entire marriage.
(The name for Suwannee Swifty Stores actually came about one day at our dining table when Mama had prepared lunch for visiting executives of the company, Olan Benton, Executive Supervisor, and Victor Alcock, part owner. They were trying to come up with a name after the concept had been discussed and my Mama suggested Suwannee Swifty, related to the convenience aspect, yet keeping the original name involved. It’s history from there. That’s why they said that children should be seen and not heard…I was listening intently!)
Mickey’s Food Store moved into the building in the late 1980s and remained until at least 2009. It has been renovated and now serves another business.
As recently as 2015, there were plans to renovate these historic storefronts but it appears that the work has stalled. Though identification of the buildings has proven difficult, the three-story example is known as the Stanfill Building and dates to 1911. My understanding is that it was first used as a department store.
In 2011, Tom Lavender wrote: In 1957, I worked at Taylor’s Grocery the corner building. if my memory serves me right next to it was Choen’s dry goods. One of the upstairs offices was a Doctors office.