Alice Walker Childhood Home, 1910s, Putnam County

This was beloved author Alice Walker’s home during much of her childhood.

Board-and-Batten Farmhouse, Laurens County

This house originated as a central hallway form but was later expanded into a gabled-ell.

Like most vernacular forms, this once-common rural house type is rapidly vanishing from the landscape.

Single-Pen House, Ailey

Commissary, Sandy Bottom

This was likely a turpentine commissary or general store, based on the floor plan.

Board-and-Batten Shed, Hancock County

This is located near Old St. Galilee Church.

Board-and-Batten Tenant House, Treutlen County

Calaboose, 1890s, Euharlee

The calaboose is located adjacent to the district courthouse.

Montour Mill House & Store, Circa 1857, Sparta

Montour Mill House, Circa 1857; photographed in 2014. 

When I photographed these forlorn structures in 2014, I felt they had an important history but also realized they probably didn’t have a promising future. My fears were confirmed last week when James Woodall reported they had been torn down.


Montour Mill Store, Circa 1857; photographed in 2014.

Further conversation with Karen West and Sistie Hudson highlight their importance and the tragedy of their loss. The structures were apparently the last two survivors of the antebellum Montour Mill village. The mill, chartered in 1857, was anchored by a four-story brick factory building. It was likely devastated by the Civil War and attempted a return to production, but was finished by 1884. The property and village was large enough to have been considered as a location for Georgia Tech in 1883. In Houses of Hancock 1785-1865, John Rozier notes: Even in ruins, the big brick factory was a Sparta landmark until it was taken down in 1951.

Karen West: It was originally a mill store owned and operated by a Jewish immigrant. He wrote 15 articles for the Sparta Ishmaelite about life in Czarist Russia. He extended credit to whoever needed it, regardless of race or religion. So sad to see a piece of Sparta history so disregarded. Hopefully someone has pictures of earlier, happier times for that little store.

Sistie Hudson: I took pictures, too—have admired it since I was a little girl…Jacob Nagurya [also written as Nagiiryn] was a Polish Jew. He was a favorite of Editor Sidney Lewis, hence the articles in the Ishmaelite. He owned the first phonograph in the county and sold them as well. He also served as rabbi for the Jewish Community in Sparta. I remember when there was still a row of mill houses across the street from this store. I am so sad about this loss—I have admired it for over 60 years.

Tenant Farmhouse, Bleckley County

It has been a pleasure sharing these images from Anne Chamlee. They truly illustrate how important it is to document the built environment that we generally take for granted. This old tenant house was photographed in 1991 and is one of many places Anne felt were important reminders of our past, not just in architectural terms, but culturally, as well.

Hall-and-Parlor House, Jones County

Anne Chamlee documented this house to the very end. The photo above was made in 1997, after the house burned; the photo below was made in April 1991, when someone was still living there.