Tag Archives: Georgia Natural History

Brickyard Branch, Long County

Brickyard Branch is located on the edge of Ludowici, bordering both sides of US Highway 301. It’s part of the Altamaha River floodplain.

It’s named for the brick and tile yard of the Ludowici Celadon Company, which in turn gave the town its name, early in the 20th century.

Branch is another term for swamp [or creek]. A typical Southeast Georgia landscape, reminiscent of the Okefenokee Swamp, it’s characterized by brackish streams, ponds, and prairies.

Though not a publicly accessible area, it can be viewed from the highway right of way in several locations.

No other river in Georgia that I know has floodplains as extensive as the Altamaha, which reach over ten miles from Jesup to Ludowici.

It’s very important for wildlife and native plants, many of which are found in greater numbers here than almost anywhere else.

Most of the area is protected, be it by wildlife management areas or private ownership.

Top Ten Posts of 2022

With nearly a million views, these are our most popular posts of 2022. Thanks for traveling with me and for making all this possible.

#1- House Creek Boils, Wilcox County

#2- Apartment Houses, St. Simons Island

#3- Peches Stand, Putnam County

#4- Elizabeth Durden House, 1840s, Emanuel County

#5- Hunter’s Cafe, 1951, Shellman Bluff

#6- Package Store, Jeff Davis County

#7- Best Biskits by a Dam Site, Hartwell

#8- Flint River Diving Trees, Meriwether County

#9- Amanda America Dickson House, 1871, Hancock County

#10- Stonewall J. Williams Plantation, 1880s, Screven Plantation

Cypress Swamp, Irwin County

One of my favorite things about riding dirt roads is encountering little swamps and wetlands. In fall and winter, they are at their most colorful.

Yam Grandy Creek, Emanuel County

The name of this creek has always fascinated me and I don’t think there’s agreement on what it means. It’s possibly based on a Native American name but I just can’t find anything about it. I somehow don’t think it’s related to sweet potatoes. A relatively small stream, it rises northwest of Swainsboro and joins the Ohoopee River near Oak Park.

Creighton Island, Georgia

The tiny sliver of land visible on the horizon in this image is Creighton Island, a wonderfully obscure place on the McIntosh County coast.

The abridged sketch which follows, archived from an older website, was written by Jeannine Cook and details the island’s fascinating history.

Creighton Island is a privately-owned, inner barrier island in McIntosh County… It was formed by aeons of rising and falling ocean levels combined with ever-changing deposits of sand ridges.  The roughly 1,100 acres of high ground on Creighton date mainly from the Pleistocene era (40,000 B.C.), but are still being shaped afresh by wind, waves, tides and storms.  Today, the island is roughly 2 1/2 miles long and a mile wide.

Creighton bears testimony to human activities during at least the last 3,500-4000 years.  Archaeologist Clarence B. Moore uncovered important funerary materials – urns, stone and copper chisels, hatchets…- on Creighton’s north end in 1896-97.  It is said that the Guale Indians considered the north end of the Island as a very sacred burial ground.  Later, it is possible that the first European colony on the eastern seaboard of North America, San Miguel de Gualdape, took brief root on Creighton in 1526 when Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon tried to establish 600 Spanish and African settlers on this coast.  By 1756, Daniel Demetre had acquired “John Smith’s Island”, as Creighton was then designated. In the 1770s, William DeBrahm, Surveyor General to King George III, noted the existence of unexplainable entrenchments and ruins on the Island.  The mysteries DeBrahm created about Creighton have lingered to this day.

The Island acquired its present name from its 1778 owner, Alexander Creighton, a Savannah businessman.  Timbering and farming (especially cotton, sugar cane and corn) were important activities, despite occasional devastating hurricanes…Thomas Spalding worked with his son-in-law, William Cooke, owner of Creighton after 1838, and during that period, tabby dwellings were built at the north end.  Their vestiges remain today.  Freed slaves, based at the north end, remained on the Island after the Civil War.  The north end was also a focus of important timber-loading facilities for large ships at the “Sapelo port” in 1880-98, complete with US post office and telegraph lines connecting Creighton to Darien. The 1898 hurricane destroyed these port facilities; they were rebuilt but by 1910, the timber boom era in McIntosh County had finally ended.  In 1947, Creighton Island was acquired by the present owners…

…The Island’s long, diverse history combines with great natural beauty to represent a unique microcosm of Georgia’s coast.  Today’s owners deeply respect the environmental importance of their island sanctuary…

White Chimney River, McIntosh County

Originating in swampland east of Young Man Road in northern McIntosh County, the White Chimney River [also referred to as White Chimney Creek] flows southerly for several miles before joining the Sapelo River. I haven’t located an origin for the name, but would presume it to be related to an early house or other landmark with white chimneys. Seems logical, but who knows…

The White Chimney River is surrounded by marsh and hammock on both sides for most of its brief course.

This landscape is typical of estuaries along the Atlantic seaboard.

In the southeast, they generally feature palmettos, oaks, and cedars.

A web of smaller creeks feed into the river from all directions.

Like the rivers they support, they are dependent on the tides.

These estuaries are integral to the abundance of marine life that attracts fishermen to the region.

This floating dock is located at Cooper’s Point, now part of a residential development bordering the White Chimney River. It’s a private dock, but anyone can access the river at the White Chimney Creek Boat Ramp on Shellman Bluff Road. The river is particularly known for its abundance of Spotted Seatrout. Croaker is also common.

Oysters are also dependent on the estuarine environment and are quite abundant along the banks of the White Chimney River.

Kinchafoonee Creek, Lee County

Rising near Buena Vista, Kinchafoonee Creek flows southeasterly for nearly 92 miles before joining the Flint River at Albany. According to Ken Krakow, the name is Creek for Bone Mortar or Mortar Nutshells, which referred to a device for cracking nuts. The creek [longer than many rivers] was such an important artery in the early settlement of the area that it gave its name to Kinchafoonee County, which was later changed to Webster County.

Nails Creek, Franklin County

This lush stream rises in the Appalachian foothills a few miles north of Homer in Banks County and flows northeastward into Franklin County before turning southeastward and joining the Hudson River. All of these waterways feed the Broad River and its three forks.

Nails Creek was an important location in the development of industry in the region. J. D. Cromer had a sawmill, gristmill, and gin mill here in the late 19th century and this likely supported other small businesses, as well.

Tallulah Gorge, Rabun County

Tallulah Gorge is a nearly thousand-foot-deep canyon which follows the Tallulah River for two miles resulting in one of the most beautiful natural areas in Georgia. The spectacular site is accessed at Tallulah Gorge State Park and is a mecca for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. I didn’t have much time when I was here, but even a visit of a couple of hours is one of the most rewarding trips in Georgia.

The first thing you’ll see if you plan on the strenuous descent to the Hurricane Falls suspension bridge, is L’Eau d’Or Falls, actually a series of several smaller falls. It’s a mere 350 feet below.

South Dunes Beach, Jekyll Island

Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata) are vulnerable to development yet essential to the retention of sand in the constantly-shifting dunal landscape of the Georgia Coast. South Dunes is a great place to observe their impact.

The beach is accessible from the South Dunes Picnic Area.

Just remember not to walk on the dunes if you visit, as they’re important nesting areas for sea turtles and are vulnerable to any intrusions.

Groups like Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island and One Hundred Miles are great advocates for these fragile landscapes which make the coast so appealing to residents and tourists alike.

Note: This replaces a post originally published on 4 March 2012.