Tag Archives: Georgia Engineering

Water Tower, 1914, Milstead

This water tower supplied the mill village of Milstead. It reaches a height of 100 feet and is 14 feet in diameter. It was built by contractor J. B. McQuary for $3000 and was used until 1965.

Water Works, 1892 & Electric Light Plant, 1901, Albany

The Albany Water Works (left) was built in 1892 by engineer John C. Chase. By 1901, the Electric Light Plant was added to the complex by the firm of Moore & McCrary.

Bridge House, Circa 1857, Albany

This unassuming structure on the banks of the Flint River in downtown Albany is significant as the only surviving bridge house in Georgia, a relic of a time when bridges were huge moneymakers for those who financed them. This example was commissioned by the Connecticut-born entrepreneur and founder of Albany, Nelson Tift, circa 1857-1858. The second floor was known as Tift’s Hall and served as a concert and performance space.

An even greater aspect of the structure’s significance is that it, and the bridge it served, were built by Horace King, who rose from slavery to become a highly successful architect and Reconstruction-era Alabama state representative. He was one of the most respected men of color in the 19th-century South.

The Bridge House was purchased by A .P. Keenan in 1916 and served a commercial use for much of the 20th century, first as the Empire Smithing Company and later as Keenan Auto Parts. Since 2008, it has been home to the Albany Welcome Center.

National Register of Historic Places

Chappell’s Mill, Circa 1811, Laurens County

Though some sources note that a John or Thomas Gilbert constructed the first mill, now known as Chappell’s Mill, on Big Sandy Creek [South Sandy Creek] in northern Laurens County circa 1811, it is more likely that it was James Stanley II (1771-1841), a settler from Jones County, North Carolina, who purchased nearly 2000 acres surrounding the millpond. [Primary sources are not available to me, so I cannot be certain of the date of the purchase, but the Stanley family migrated to Laurens County in 1811. It seems more than coincidental that the date of their move happens to be the date generally accepted for the construction of the mill]. He also operated a mercantile on the site.

The millpond site is considered to be the oldest man-made landmark in Laurens County. The old mill house, seen in the first two photographs, dates to the 1840s and was built after the original structure, which stood on the north side of the pond, washed away during a flood.

The stone work in the foundation certainly indicates the work of early craftsmen, almost certainly enslaved laborers.

Upon Stanley’s death in 1841, his son Ira B. (1802-1858) took control of the operations. He served Laurens County as sheriff in the 1820s and state representative in the 1830s. Until just after the Civil War the site was known as Stanley Mills, but in 1868 Ira’s son-in-law, James W. Chappell, gained majority interest in the mill. It has since been known as Chappell’s Mill.

Ira Stanley Chappell (1859-1931) was the last member of the Chappell family to own the mill. He sold it circa 1917 to Allen J. Dixon who sold it in 1943 to Dr. T. J. Blackshear.

Dr. Blackshear eventually sold it to Alex Dixon’s grandsons, James and Forrest Townsend.

During their ownership, the mill was expanded and electrified (1950s).

The Townsends always felt that water power resulted in a superior meal but the volume of work mandated the modernization.

At its peak, production ran to over 15,000 bushels per year.

The mill remained in operation until 1997. Its importance is not only in its longevity but in the fact that various structures associated with different eras of milling, from water power to electricity, as well as a mercantile and various barns, remain largely intact, and illustrate the evolution of what was one of Georgia’s most important early industries.

I am grateful to the caretaker for allowing me to photograph. It is private property and he noted that law enforcement often has to disperse trespassers. It’s an invaluable historical resource and the owners have been good stewards.

Logging Tram, Long County

I photographed this logging tram in 2011 near the Long/McIntosh County line and am not sure if it is still intact. Floods over the past decade have been common in the area. I’m not precisely sure how they utilized it , but there were numerous versions of these in the Southern swamps at the turn of the last century, when the timber industry was dominant and most of the old growth forests were being decimated. This one may date to the 1920s or 1930s, but could be earlier. Discussions with a friend with knowledge of the area suggest there are several other surviving remnants of old logging roads/railroads in the area and I plan to try to document some of them in the future.

Euharlee Creek Covered Bridge, 1886, Bartow County

This Town Lattice covered bridge, the only one remaining in Bartow County, was built on Euharlee Creek in 1886 by Washington W. King. King was the son of former slave and master architect and bridge builder Horace King.

The historical marker erected in 2000 by the Georgia Historical Society and the Federal Highway Administration notes, in part: In 1886 the county contracted with Washington W. King…and Jonathan H. Burke for the construction of this 138-foot bridge…This bridge replaced several previous structures, the last having been built two years prior.

The bridge remained in use until the completion of a modern bridge circa 1980. Much of the material used to build the massive Plant Bowen nearby was hauled over this historic bridge.

Lowry Grist Mill Ruins, Euharlee

Euharlee was originally known as Burge’s  Mill, for the grist mill Nathaniel Burge operated on Euharlee Creek. The earlier mill burned around 1880 and was rebuilt by Daniel Lowry. Sections of the foundation are likely remnants of the original antebellum mill. A plan to rebuild the mill has been proposed, but I’m unsure of its status at this time.

Harris Neck Army Airfield Bunker, 1942

This structure served as the munitions bunker for Harris Neck Army Airfield. Earthworks surround three sides. A review of contemporary U. S. Geological Survey maps indicates that this was likely the only one ever built on site. It’s a fascinating relic of World War II.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Overpass, 1938, Byromville

This steel stringer overpass has become a landmark because it retains the original Atlantic Coast Line signage. The line is presently owned by CSX.