Tag Archives: Georgia Commercial Architecture

Graco Barber Shop, 1921, Cairo

The Graco Barber Shop was opened by Ben Lundy in the Roddenberry Building in 1921 and took its name from Grady County. It may be the finest surviving example of an historic barber shop in Georgia; it’s certainly the nicest one I’ve ever seen.

According to the Grady County History Museum: In 1936 the barber shop was purchased by Frank Massey and maintained by him until his death in 1965. One of his barbers, Winfred Robinson, bought the business and ran it until his retirement in 2010. 

Long a popular Saturday stop for generations of Grady Countians it became much more than a just a place to get a haircut or a shave. Much like Floyd’s barber shop in Mayberry, it became the local information hub where people could catch up on the latest news and gossip. While they waited, pairs of combatants would play checkers while a group of kibitzers would gather around them and tell them what they were doing wrong.

Cairo Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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.

Harris Brothers Garage, Barney

Harris Brothers Garage is one of the few remaining commercial structures in Barney. Their sign notes that they did electric and acetylene welding.

Suwannee Store, Hahira

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.

Historic Storefronts, Hahira

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.

Scruggs Building, 1890s, Hahira

This commercial block, the most substantial remaining historic retail structure in Hahira, was built in the 1890s by R. Y. Scruggs. Numerous business, including a department store, Hahira Hardware and the City Cafe, have occupied the building over the years. It was also home to the Hahira Post Office at one time.

Gold Leaf Hotel, Circa 1940, Hahira

This imposing structure at the crossroads of US Highway 41 and Main Street in downtown Hahira was built circa 1940-1941 to replace an earlier hotel lost to fire circa 1939. Dr. E. J. Smith was an early owner, and many of the rooms were initially rented to local teachers. Dr. Smith’s daughter, Dorothy Salter, later operated this hotel, and another property known as the Wal-Dot, which may have been a motel, with her husband. The old hotel was converted to apartments in the 1990s.

Bush’s Butcher Shop, Lumpkin

In a town with few grocery options, a butcher shop was an important business. I’m not sure if this building always served that purpose, or if it’s included in the historic district, but it probably should be by now.


Lumpkin Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Old Hospital, Fitzgerald

2008

Fitzgerald’s first general hospital was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s to replace Dr. Dudley B. Ware’s much smaller convalescent hospital on Central Avenue.

My grandmother worked here in the 1950s and my mother and father were born here. It was used by the community until 1974 when a more modern facility, Dorminy Memorial Hospital [now Dorminy Medical Center] opened. When I was growing up, the hospital housed the Cooperative Extension office and other governmental offices.

It was lost to arson in 2012.

Moring’s Cash Store, Soperton

Moring’s was the retail center of Soperton for many years and would have sold a little bit of everything, in an era before big box stores.