Tag Archives: Georgia Museums

T. A. Bryant, Sr., Homestead, 1917, Flat Rock

Bryant Farmhouse

A thriving community of African-Americans existed around Arabia Mountain in the years following the Civil War, but by the early 20th century, a mass exodus saw many families joining the Great Migration in search of better conditions in the North.

Mule & Storage Barn

There were a few communities, such as Flat Rock, that continued to thrive. T. A. Bryant, Sr., born in 1894, was a leader of this community, his church, and a Master Mason, and he worked hard to keep it intact.

T. A. Bryant, Sr. Photograph Courtesy Flat Rock Archives

He bought his first 43 acres from J. W. South, a descendant of slave owners, in 1925, and saved the Flat Rock community in the process. For over 60 years, Mr. Bryant bought and sold land to people in the community in an effort to keep it intact. Flat Rock actually grew during the Great Migrations, while many historic African-American communities completely vanished.

Smokehouse or Corn Crib

His small working homestead was self-sufficient and typical of similar farms in early 20th century Georgia.

Privy

The property is now home to the Flat Rock Archives, a museum of local African-American history, and open by appointment.

Watering Trough

Maps will locate this at Stonecrest, a recently incorporated city in DeKalb County, but as with other such locations in Vanishing Georgia, I prefer to help keep the historical name alive, hence my location of the Bryant property at Flat Rock.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

Rockdale County Jail, 1897, Conyers

This jail was built in 1897 to replace the first jail in Rockdale County and served the county until 1968. It was designed by Georgia’s most prolific courthouse architect, J. W. Golucke, while he was in partnership with G. W. Stewart. The interior was outfitted by the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company of St. Louis. F. P. Heifner was the contractor.

The old jail was restored by the Rockdale County Historical Society in 1975 and serves as their headquarters and a museum today.

National Register of Historic Places

Little Richard House, 1920s, Macon

This hip-roof shotgun house in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood was once home to Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman), the “Architect of Rock n’ Roll”. It is typical of the domestic architecture found in working class African-American neighborhoods in Macon in the early 20th century. The house originally stood several blocks away but was moved to this location to save it from an expansion project on Interstate 75. It is much nicer looking today than it was in Little Richard’s time in Macon; he noted he grew up in a “rundown house on a dirt street”. It is a museum today, known officially as The Little Richard House Resource Center.

Sallie Ellis Davis House, 1890, Milledgeville

The Sallie Ellis Davis House serves as the de facto anchor of the Eddy Neighborhood, an historic African-American community of late 19th and early 20th century Milledgeville. Through a cooperative effort of Georgia College and the Sallie Ellis Davis Foundation, restoration of the house began in 2009 and was completed in 2012.

Sallie Ellis Davis was born in Baldwin County in 1877 to an Irish immigrant father (Josh Ellis) and an African-American woman (Elizabeth Brunswick). Josh Ellis was a prominent landowner, businessman, and gentleman farmer. After graduating from Atlanta University in 1899 she returned home and began teaching at the Eddy School, where she would remain until her retirement in 1949. She served as principal for 27 years. After her death, Baldwin County honored her legacy by naming an elementary school for her.

In 1910, Sallie Ellis moved into this house in the Eddy Neighborhood, and in 1911 she married John (Jack) Davis. Mr. Davis died in 1920 but Sallie remained in the home until her death in 1950.

The house is open for historic tours today.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

63rd AAF Flying Training Detachment Airbase, 1941, Douglas

Administration Building

Through the efforts of Wesley Newman Raymond and Robert Richardson, the Raymond-Richardson Aviation School was established at this site in 1939, to teach basic flight skills to college students.

WWII Flight Training Museum [Barracks 7]

With America’s entrance into World War II in 1941, the school became the 63rd Flight Training Detachment Airbase.

Barracks

During the war, several thousand men learned to fly here and went on to serve all over the world.

Barracks

Many local women provided support as clerical and food service employees, as well as civilian dispatchers and aircraft mechanics.

Classroom

The based was decommissioned in 1944 and the hangers have been incorporated into the old airfield, now known as Douglas Municpal Airport (KDHQ).

Hospital

The property, now owned by the city of Douglas, has been used for numerous purposes since the end of the war.

Gatehouse

Through the efforts of local enthusiasts, Barracks 7 is now home to the WWII Flight Training Museum, which has limited hours. The property can be accessed at any time.

Huie House, 1928, St. Simons Island

This early example of the International Style, designed by Macon architect Fred Stroberg, uniquely employees the local building material known as tabby to make a bold statement about the past and the future. It has also been referred to as “Mediterranean House” and the outline of a shed roof on the side indicates it may have had such a decorative element at one time, but it’s decidedly International in appearance and spirit, making it an even more significant landmark.

The house is primarily associated with the late Mildred Weigle Nix Huie (1907-2000). A native of Augusta, Mrs. Huie received a degree in Classical Education from Florida State University. She and her husband Carl purchased the house in 1967 and it remained Mrs. Huie’s home and studio until her death. Mrs. Huie was an accomplished Impressionist painter, sculptor and historian, and upon establishing the Left Bank Art Gallery in 1962, became an integral part of the St. Simons cultural scene, through the fostering of other artists and the free access she provided to her own collection as well as philanthropic pursuits.

Mrs. Huie’s daughter, Millie Wilcox, maintained the home as the Mildred Huie Museum for more than a decade after her mother’s death.

The property was the first site acquired by the St. Simons Land Trust in 2018 and though the museum itself is closed, the grounds are a welcome respite from the busy commercial area of Frederica Road, open and free to all.

Old Greene County Jail, 1895, Greensboro

Within the same block in Greensboro are two historic jails, this being the ‘newer’ of the two. This Folk Victorian/Queen Anne example is typical of Georgia jails of the era, in which the sheriff kept a residence and everything was self-contained. It is now known as the L. L. Wyatt Museum, named in honor of the longtime Greene County Sheriff.

The historic marker on this site notes: This 1895 jail is named for the legendary Sheriff, Loy Lee Wyatt, who enforced the laws in Greene County for fifty-two years until his death in 1977. Sheriff L.L. Wyatt was born on January 2, 1904, in Paulding County. He was recruited to serve the citizens of Greene County due to his fast legs and honest reputation. In 1925, L.L. Wyatt began his law enforcement career as a Greene County policeman who waged a “one-man war” against the making of illegal corn whiskey. Prior to his arrival, moonshine production was considered the leading industry in Greene County and its produce was enjoyed in all of the finest hotels of Atlanta. After having rid the County of its moonshiners, Wyatt ran for the Office of Sheriff in 1940 defeating the incumbent. He served as Sheriff until he died in 1977. At the time of his death he was the longest standing Sheriff in the State, with thirty-seven years of service.

During his 37 years as Sheriff, Wyatt became a legend in his own time. Few men become legends and even fewer achieve the status of a “living legend” as did Sheriff Wyatt. He was a religious man who believed that God blessed him with protection during all of his fights, gun battles, and dangerous encounters. His law enforcement exploits exposed him to at least five gunshot wounds in the line of duty, in part due to the fact that he seldom carried a gun on his person, requiring him to retrieve it from his car at the sight of danger. In the early days of his career, when moonshiners resisted arrest, Wyatt regularly shot it out with them. He killed over a half dozen men, all of whom shot at him first.

The most famous gunfight of Sheriff Wyatt’s career occurred in 1974. He was 70 years old at the time. Bank robbers eluded a 100-car police chase that started in Wrens, Georgia, and ended in Greene County. The bank robbers had killed a teller at the bank in Wrens and had taken two women hostage. Sheriff Wyatt set up a road block midway between Union Point and Greensboro. Wyatt stood in the middle of the road as the speeding car approached. The robbers attempted to shoot him, but the gun misfired. One bank robber was killed in the ensuing battle, but both women were unharmed. Sheriff Wyatt subsequently received the award of the Peace Officer of he Year for his bravery in this incident.

Sheriff Wyatt was a family man, devoted to his wife, son, and grandchildren. He was a businessman, lending his experience to the operation and affairs of the Citizens Union Bank as a director. He was a community leader who had concern for all citizens – rich and poor, black and white. Out of a concern for these people, legend has it that Sheriff Wyatt confronted a notorious member of the Dixie Mafia and proclaimed, “These are my people and I want you to leave them alone!”

Sheriff Wyatt, also known as Mr. Sheriff, was the epitome of a community oriented police officer long before such an idea was born and served as an example for every officer to follow.

_______

Greensboro Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

Old Barrow County Jail, 1915, Winder

The old Barrow County Jail has served as the Barrow County Museum since 1993. The “citadel sytle” was a common form for Georgia jails in the early 20th century.

Downtown Winder Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Artist Annie Greene Visits Darien

At 88 years young Annie Lucille Greene doesn’t seem to be caught up in the past, yet her work draws heavily from memory. Mrs. Greene, who grew up in Hinesville in the 1940s, tells her life story through yarn art, a process which first involves drawing images on a surface, then gluing different pieces of colored yarn to create a seamless mosaic. There’s a strong similarity to the Impressionist style known as Pointillism. Mrs. Greene actually refers to it as yarn “painting” and upon seeing the work in person, one completely understands. Presently, she is exhibiting What Color is Water: Tales and Art About a Segregated South as the featured event of the Black History Art and Humanities Program at the McIntosh Art Association in Darien. I’m honored to have met and photographed this amazing lady.

Detail of Babysitting, a recollection of Annie’s first job, in Hinesville © Annie Lucille Greene

Annie’s parents, Henry William and Ella Mae Tarver, were both pioneering black educators. They encouraged her doodling and drawing from an early age and they supported her creative efforts by buying art supplies. When Annie was 12, the family moved to Hogansville to work in the black school there.

Detail of 93 Boyd Road, the Tarver’s home in Hogansville. © Annie Lucille Greene

Summers were spent visiting her maternal grandparents on their farm near Adel. Mrs. Greene told me she didn’t like the farm work, but she loved the food. “The food was really good,” she recalled.

Detail of Granddaddy and Grandmama’s Farm, near Adel © Annie Lucille Greene
Detail of Once Upon a Time Women Washed Clothes in Tin Tubs…© Annie Lucille Greene

Annie spent her first year in college at Spelman but wasn’t happy there. She transferred to Albany State and loved it, Upon graduating in 1954 she was offered a job teaching in LaGrange. It was there that she married Oliver Nathaniel Greene, a Social Studies teacher. They had two children, and while Nathaniel was in New York, completing his Masters in Education at Columbia University, Annie stayed home and took a break from teaching. Dean Robert Simmons encouraged her to go to New York University and she graduated from there in 1956. She received her Masters Degree in Art Education in 1961 and went on to have a long and successful career in the Troup County school system.

Detail of Civil Rights Marches © Annie Lucille Greene
Detail of Civil Rights Marches © Annie Lucille Greene

Her third and latest book, which is available at the McIntosh Art Association, presents a blend of her work, from early memories to the Civil Rights activism of the 1960s. The images are much better seen in person and I encourage anyone in the Darien area to visit the exhibit. Details can be found here.

The opening reception at the McIntosh Art Association was very well attended and I think everyone enjoyed meeting Mrs. Greene and her husband.

She has exhibited and toured her fine work all over the Southeast but doesn’t keep as busy a schedule as she once did. As a result, you might want to visit this one as soon as you can.

Annie Lucille Greene

The Big House-Allman Brothers Band Museum, Macon

The early history of this circa 1900 Tudor Revival is hard to track down today but its connection to the Allman Brothers Band make it an epicenter of Southern Rock history and a shrine to fans from all over the world. Known today as The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House, it was rented by members of the band in January 1970 and a succession of wives, girlfriends, groupies, and industry types passed through until the end of 1972. Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were both living here at the times of their deaths in motorcycle crashes [29 October 1971 and 11 November 1972, respectively]. Dickey Betts wrote “Blue Sky” in the living room and “Ramblin’ Man” in the kitchen. By early 1973, the remaining band members and their families were gone from the house. It has since been restored and now maintains a world-class collection of Allman Brothers Band memorabilia and ephemera.

Vineville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places