Tag Archives: Georgia General Stores

Franklin Store, 1896, Starrsville

This structure is the last remaining store building in the historic Starrsville community, which was settled circa 1821. It has had several uses throughout its history and is also referred to as the Franklin and Banks Store. One resource notes that it was used as the Starrsville post office for a time, but I haven’t been able to confirm this yet.

Starrsville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

General Store, Jasper County

This was either a general/grocery store, or a commissary. “Shotgun stores” like this were once very common in the Georgia landscape.

Magic Hill Discount Mart, Meriwether County

Magic Hill, located just south of Manchester off Georgia Highway 85, is a well-known area landmark. It was widely promoted as a tourist area in the early 20th century, depicted on numerous postcards. The draw was that cars would “roll uphill” when in reality, it was just a topographical anomaly. These sites exists all over the world and are known as gravity hills. Gravity hills are defined as places where a slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope due to the layout of the surrounding land, creating the optical illusion that water flows uphill, or that a car left out of gear will roll uphill.

General Store, Taylor County

I haven’t been able to identify this store, yet, but it has one of the coolest signs (below).

It reads: Try your “LUCK FISHING”. There’s a nice pond nearby.

Abandoned Store, Pedenville

Pedenville is a rural community, anchored by an historic church. This was the only commercial structure I could find in the area.

General Store & Post Office, 1866, Goggins

Like neighboring Johnstonville, Goggins was one of the early settlements of what was then Monroe County, dating to 1834. It was originally spelled Goggans, for its namesake, South Carolina native John F. Goggans (b. 1802), and was variously referred to as Goggins, Goggans Station, and Goggansville over the years. Somehow, “Goggins” became the default spelling.

The agricultural community thrived and prospered throughout much of the 19th century, with the exception of the Civil War years, and was buttressed by the presence of the Central of Georgia railroad.

The historic store and post office building served the community until its closure in 1958. It retains its structural integrity, but due to the compromised roof will need stabilization to ensure its survival.

Johnstonville-Goggins Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Fleming Store, Circa 1894, Johnstonville

The Fleming Store is one of two iconic 19th-century general stores located within a few miles of each other in an idyllic rural area of Lamar County. It appears to be an inspired copy of the nearby Goggins General Store & Post Office. Johnstonville was established in 1821 and was the first county seat of Monroe County (this section was later annexed by Lamar County). John [1790-1834] & Celia Perry Fleming [1790-1864] were among its earliest settlers and their descendants built this store.

Rural general stores built of brick are among the rarest historic commercial resources in the state and the Fleming store is a particularly important example. Its front and rear parapetted facades may be a unique feature among surviving structures in Georgia. It is in declining condition and stabilization is needed.

Johnstonville-Goggins Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

General Store, Emanuel County

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.

General Store, Laurens County