Tag Archives: Georgia Hotels & Boarding Houses

Bowers House, 1921, Canon

In its secluded setting, the Bowers House is difficult to capture, but that’s the point. It’s been put into service as a literary and creative retreat, in an effort by the family to keep the house while providing writers, artist, and musicians a quiet creative space. The family are descendants of Job Bowers II (31 August 1803-25 June 1888), an abolitionist, religious pacifist, and publisher who brought the Universalist Church to Georgia and laid out the town of Canon in what had originally been known as West Bowersville. Job’s grandfather, Revolutionary War soldier Job Bowers (1755-1779), was one of the earliest settlers of Franklin County. The family were also founders of the nearby town of Bowersville.

It was built as the Canon Hotel during what could be called the town’s boom time, when the railroad kept the mills running and cotton was king. Traders and salesmen were regulars but the property failed in the Great Depression in a region already ravaged by the deleterious effects of the boll weevil. The hotel was converted it into a private home thereafter.

Canon Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Note: This updates and replaces a post originally published on 22 July 2019.

Peter Joseph’s Store, Circa 1900, St. Simons Island

This was the general store and boarding house of Peter Joseph, a leader of the historic Black community of South End on St. Simons Island. Built circa 1900, per the Glynn County Historic Resources Report [2009], it was razed circa 2016. The only Peter Joseph I can locate on St. Simons was born in 1903 and died in 1966; if this is the same Peter Joseph, it would mean the store was built by someone else, perhaps a member of his family. I will attempt to update this if I can find out anything more.

These photographs were made in February 2015.

As the images confirm, the structure had long been abandoned when I photographed it. It was an important resource for a long lost community, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to document it.

Stovall-Barnes House, 1860, Augusta

This house was built on the eve of the Civil War for Bolling Anthony Stovall (19 August 1827-24 August 1887), a prominent Piedmont merchant and engineer born in Hancock County to a well-to-do family who had come to Georgia from Virginia. Upon moving to Augusta, he began work as a cotton factor while attending Richmond Academy before entering Franklin College (University of Georgia). He studied civil engineering and worked in Alabama and Mississippi for a few years before returning to Georgia. He was also a surveyor for improvements to the Georgia State Road and worked with Major John G. Greene in the survey of the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. Because employment in engineering was sporadic at the time, he joined his father in his wholesale grocery business at Stovall & McLaughlin in Augusta. At the outset of the war, he entered the Confederate service as a sergeant with Company A, Richmond Hussars, Cobb’s Legion. He was transferred to the engineering corps as a lieutenant under General John Bankhead Magruder during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, before finishing out the war as a captain in the subsistence department under the command of fellow Augustan General Isaac Munroe St. John. He married Mattie Wilson after the war and worked for many years as a traveling agent with the Georgia Chemical Works of Augusta.

Stovall’s son, Pleasant Alexander Stovall (7 July 1857-14 May 1935), lived in the house until his parents left Augusta for Athens, in 1873. He became a prominent journalist and eventual owner of a Savannah newspaper. His childhood friend, President Woodrow Wilson, appointed him Ambassador to Switzerland in 1913, where he served until 1919.

Congressman George T. Barnes purchased the home in 1873 and in the 20th century it was used as a residential hotel/boarding house.

Greene Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Hotel & General Store, Circa 1883, Talking Rock

I’ve had trouble locating much information about the structures in Talking Rock, but read that this was built in 1883. In its early days it is said to have served as a railroad hotel and boarding house, In 1924 it was purchased by the Hobson family and became a general store, open until around 1980.

Shingle House, 1880s, Cherokee County

The iconic “Shingle House”, so named for its shingle siding, is the last remaining structure related to the Franklin-Creighton Gold Mine near Ball Ground. The mine had its origins circa 1832, when Mary G. Franklin obtained 40 acres along the Etowah River in the Gold Lottery of 1832. It became the Franklin, or Franklin-Creighton Mine circa 1883 and was said to be one of the most productive in the area, until1907, long after other area mines were long exhausted. The structure has reportedly served as a commissary, post office, and boarding house.

The community that grew up around the mine was known as Creighton, and the post office was operational from 1887-1918. The property is part of Gold & Grass Farms today.

Globe Hotel, 1827 & 1882, McDonough

The Globe Hotel originally stood a half block away on the courthouse square and was moved in 1938 to its present location. It is the oldest commercial structure in McDonough. The original section [the right side in the photos] dates to 1827 and the gabled wing [left side] was added circa 1882.

National Register of Historic Places

St. Nicolas Hotel, 1908, Albany

The St. Nicolas Hotel was the third major hotel in Albany. Designed by the Atlanta firm of Bruce & Everett to be a railroad hotel, it played host to travelers of many occupations, including carnival performers. One carnival couple, performing in the Haag Circus, gave birth to a son here in 1916. His name was Harry James and he was one of the most successful band leaders of the 1930s and 1940s. The property suffered major damage in the tornado of 10 February 1940 and was rebuilt from the remaining structure. It was known as the Lee Hotel upon re-opening.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Pulaski Hotel Lost to Fire

Driving through Pulaski last week, I was saddened to see the old Pulaski Hotel in ruins. According to the Statesboro Herald, it was lost to fire on 27 March 2021. The hotel was one of the first structures built by the Franklin family when they established the town in 1900.

I made this photograph of the hotel in 2009.

Imperial Hotel, 1949, Thomasville

Harvey and Dorothy Lewis Thompson opened the Imperial Hotel in 1949, as the only reliable lodging option in Thomasville for African-Americans. At the height of the Jim Crow era, when the simple act of travel could be dangerous for black people, the Imperial Hotel was listed in the Negro Motorist Green-Book travel guides, made famous by the 2018 motion picture. Dorothy’s brothers, the Lewis Brothers, were skilled brick masons and built the structure from the foundation to the top. The hotel featured eight bedrooms, a restaurant and barber shop. It closed in 1969 and has been in a state of decline since being abandoned in 2001.

Local historian Jack Hadley (of the Jack Hadley Black History Museum), who purchased the hotel in 2018, has been leading an effort to restore the property for several years. It inclusion in this year’s Places in Peril by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has brought the attention of CEO Mark McDonald, who has committed assistance to the project and expresses great enthusiasm for its future. To donate, visit Thomasville Landmarks.

In the end the property may reflect its original role as a hotel; plans to make it an Airbnb are presently in development with Florida A&M University architecture students and other consultants.

I’m unsure if it’s related to the hotel, but this shotgun house is located on the same property.

Coleman Hotel, Circa 1900, Cobbtown

The Coleman House/Hotel is typical of late-19th and early-20th century properties found in small towns along railroad lines. Owners often lived in the hotel and rented rooms. At the height of the railroad era, such enterprises could be quite profitable. The Coleman Hotel has come full circle and once again is a bed and breakfast known as the Serenity Inn.