Victor McGough notes that The Bank of Lilly operated in the left corner of this building, before the stock market crash of 1929. For many years thereafter the remainder of the structure was the general merchandise store of Clay Ingram. Mr. Ingram’s store could be entered from either Oak St or Railroad St. It wrapped around the bank. The elevated roof is a modern addition.
Lilly was founded by brothers John, Frank, and Robert Lilly in 1902, when the railroad came through the area. It had originally been known as Fuqua in the late 19th century and, briefly, was known as Midway, for its location between Cordele and Montezuma. The commercial block now housing the city hall likely dates to the first few years of the town’s organization, between 1902-1910.
Lilly Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Though typical in design for many South Georgia jails of its day, the old Turner County jail is anything but these days. The City of Ashburn repurposed the building as a tourist attraction, and it now houses The Crime and Punishment Museum. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in town.
National Register of Historic Places
Hugh Harris West shared a bit of the history of this old bank: After the bank closed, it was used as the Post Office for a long time. Later, It was used as “Ms. Pricilla Garner’s Studio of Piano and Voice.” I took voice lessons there for a few years in high school…I never learned to sing very good. I did a few local weddings since there was not too many folks available…(Later) Fred Carter (made) a laundromat out of it. I ride by it weekly. It would make a wonderful little museum.
Built by early Poulan businessman D. A. Phelps, this structure has served many purposes over the years. Hugh Harris West writes: This was Mr. Goodman’s Drug Store during my years in Poulaln. There was a gasoline pump out front at the corner and we could see the gasoline as it entered the glass top after being pumped. Dr. Harris came to Poulan about twice a week. His office was above the front of the store…At one time in the early 40’s the Post Office was in the rear of the building. Later, apartments were made in the upper and lower rear of the building. I understand that the Phelps family was an important part of Poulan’s development around the early 1900’s.
This is among the first images I posted on this website and I’ve been seeing it my whole life. I was so delighted to learn some of its history, from Emily Anderson: This building was used to grind corn to make meal. Mr. Tomlin operated the mill which was owned by the Beall family (wife was Flora Dix Beall).
Bryant Theological Seminary is an historic African-American Bible college and seminary, a part of the General Missionary Baptist Convention. It was founded in 1937, at the height of the Great Depression. The Reverends I. B. Harmon and G. P. Haynes, on behalf of the Willacoochee Missionary Baptist Association, which owned about ten acres of land and two wood frame buildings here, offered the land for such use if the GMBC would pay off the debt owed by the association. It has grown extensively in its nearly 75 years of existence, and today features modern dormitories, an auditorium, and research facilities. It was named for Dr. Peter James Bryant, pastor of the Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, and his wife Sylvia.
I always heard that this was the Red Chimneys Inn and that it was built in the late 1850s. Though local lore also claims that Confederate President Jefferson Davis had a leisurely visit on the front porch the night before he was captured by Union forces nearby, this is not the case. According to Mrs. Willie Mae Smith, who wrote historical articles, both accurate and nostalgic, for the Ocilla Star in the 1970s and 1980s: “Irwinville Hotel stood across the road west from the courthouse, but as to its age, have found no one who knows. I know it was here in 1907….Professor Royal at one time was manager of this hotel, then, in 1907 W. J. Willingham assumed management. [Rooms were rented at the rate of $1 per day!]…The hotel was run by several different families: Murrays, Walkers, and Whiteheads.
Mrs. Smith also went on to say that the building was of log construction, hidden beneath the boards, and that it was used as a supply station in the Civil War. I believe this to be apocryphal, though I won’t completely rule it out without further investigation. Its most likely date of construction is the 1880s.
UPDATE: As of September 2016, the future of the Irwinville Hotel is uncertain. There is presently an effort to rezone the property and rumor (just that, no confirmation) is that it will be demolished and a Dollar General built on the site. I hope this is not the case.