Tag Archives: Georgia Restorations

Restored Pepsi Mural, Lincolnton

Artist Addison Niday has recently restored some Coca-Cola murals in Lincolnton, so this old Pepsi mural on the Anderson & Sons building, likely dating to the early 1960s, was a nice complement to his other work. I think restoring these old murals is a great idea, especially in small towns, where they bring bright color and memories of the past back to life in a big way.

Lincolnton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places


Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1900, Tifton

This was the first brick church built in Tifton, and served the congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for generations. When they moved to a larger facility in 1952, it served numerous congregations over the following years. The Tift County Development Authority purchased it in 1985, to protect it from vandals and deterioration. In 1997, the Tifton Council for the Arts saw an opportunity and renovated the church into a gallery space and cultural museum. It is now known as the Syd Blackmarr Arts Center.

Tifton Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Restoration of the Alapaha Depot

Alapaha’s iconic Brunswick and Western Railroad Depot, built in 1890, has been an important community landmark since its construction, but like many small down depots, had fallen into disuse in recent years. Concerned citizens, led by Mayor Ben Davis, accomplished the beautiful restoration you see in these photographs in an amazingly short time. From 2021 until the dedication of the new facility in December 2022, volunteers and skilled carpenters alike came together to spruce up this symbol of early Alapaha.

Congratulations to Mayor Davis and the people of Alapaha for a job well done, and a lesson to all that historic buildings are worth saving and can be saved when a community comes together.

Sylvester Banking Company, 1910

The Classical Revival Sylvester Banking Company building has served for many years as the city hall and was recently restored.

Sylvester Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Walter F. George Law Office, 1890s, Vienna

Originally located on West Cotton Street, this structure dates to the late 19th century. It was first used as a laundry, then from 1906-1922, it was Walter F. George‘s law office. From 1922-1976, it was home to several different businesses.

It has been moved a couple of times but retains its defining characteristics.

Vienna Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot, 1905, Cairo

The old Atlantic Coast Line depot in the middle of downtown Cairo was a busy location in its early years, carrying produce, and the syrup that made the town famous, to buyers all over the country. As dependence on depots waned, the venerable building was repurposed in the 1970s as the Cairo Police Department. Recently, a demolition of the non-historic interior was completed and a master plan to restore it to its original condition was initiated by Lew Oliver, Inc., a renowned architectural firm responsible for numerous successful projects throughout the region. I’m a big fan of Mr. Oliver’s work and know that Cairo will be pleased with what he will do with this depot.

Cairo Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Suwannee Store, Hahira

This structure was built in 1914 and I’m unsure as to its original use. By the 1940s, it was home to the local Suwannee Store, a grocery and dry goods store. It was misidentified as the “Swifty Mart” by a local source but Debbie Mosier writes: The storefront that was identified as the Swifty Mart was actually named the Suwannee Store. It was owned by the South Georgia Grocery Company, out of Quitman. They later developed the Suwannee Swifty Convenience Stores. The Tyson Family managed the store for many years, Ethridge and Dolly Belle. A Mr. Futch was the meat cutter, and I believe his wife was also a cashier. My Daddy, James Frazier, worked for South Georgia Grocery Co. for more than 47 years. Other than his 3 year stint in the Army, it was his only job. He started as a bag boy and retired as Vice President of Operations. The once closely-held family company sold out after all of the older family members passed away, and the company went bankrupt shortly thereafter. There was also a Suwannee Swifty located in Hahira, across the railroad tracks, on the right. I can’t recall the exact location. My family lives in nearby Lakeland, where my Daddy began his career with South Georgia Grocery Company, working under D.L.B. Jones, manager of our Suwannee Store at the time. Now deceased, he and my Mama lived here their entire marriage.

(The name for Suwannee Swifty Stores actually came about one day at our dining table when Mama had prepared lunch for visiting executives of the company, Olan Benton, Executive Supervisor, and Victor Alcock, part owner. They were trying to come up with a name after the concept had been discussed and my Mama suggested Suwannee Swifty, related to the convenience aspect, yet keeping the original name involved. It’s history from there. That’s why they said that children should be seen and not heard…I was listening intently!)

Mickey’s Food Store moved into the building in the late 1980s and remained until at least 2009. It has been renovated and now serves another business.

Whitewater Rafting, Columbus

Columbus, like Georgia’s other Fall Line cities, is defined by a dramatic shift in elevation [124 feet over a 2 mile stretch], and its lifeblood has always been the Chattahoochee River. Historically, the river’s waters ran freely over rocks and shoals and were known as the Falls of the Chattahoochee. Chutes de la Chattahoutchie, an 1838 painting by the French naturalist Francis de la Porte depicted a wild and scenic waterway and the river retained this wildness until it was dammed by Eagle and Phenix Mill [1882] and City Mills [1907] to provide the power which made their industries possible. Smaller dams were built earlier in the 19th century, but did not have the impact of the aforementioned examples.

The Falls of the Chattahoochee vanished as the mills grew over time. In the mid-2000s, a plan to breach and remove those dams took hold in an effort to make the Chattahoochee wild again and provide new tourism opportunities for Columbus.

The breaching of the Eagle and Phenix Mill dam in 2012 and the City Mills dam in 2013 brought back a resource which had vanished over a century ago. The Falls of the Chattahoochee, which had been important to the area since the days of Native Americans, once again flow through the city and have created what has been called one of the best urban whitewater runs in the nation.

The river reclamation has been a driver of revitalization in Columbus, and while I generally don’t make endorsements, I would direct you to the experienced folks at Whitewater Express.

They’ll gladly take you on an amazing adventure if you’re of a mind to get wet and get your adrenaline flowing.

Whether you’ve never done whitewater or you’re an old pro, they will make your experience worthwhile. It’s a great day trip if you’re in the area.

Israel Dasher House, 1858, Savannah

This iconic Savannah home was built for Israel Dasher (26 June 1814-3 February 1894), who came to the city from nearby Effingham County. The Dashers were a large Salzburger family connected to New Ebenezer and many of their relatives remain in the area.

Savannah National Historic Landmark District

Restoration of a Greek Revival Cottage, Talbot County

Rising above the pristine countryside of Talbot County, this house first caught my attention a couple of years ago. At the time, work was at an earlier phase and it didn’t look as grand as it does today. I made a mental note to check on it when I could but was still not prepared for the awesome presence of the house, viewed from the incline of the clay and gravel driveway.

I recently learned that my family’s longtime friend Mike Buckner owned the house and was restoring it. I was in the area and dropped by to purchase some books and get some of his wonderful stone-ground grits and he offered to take me on a tour. Though he wouldn’t say so, Mike is an all-around Renaissance man and serious guardian of Talbot County’s history and architecture. He has personally saved and salvaged numerous endangered structures over the years.

Mike moved this 1840s Greek Revival Cottage, which once stood near Zion Episcopal Church in Talbotton, to his property and decided to transform it into a raised cottage. The brick piers supporting the cottage were salvaged from the old Talbotton depot, proof that Mike doesn’t believe in wasting anything. The Doric columns were made to order.

The lower floor will be somewhat modern, while keeping with the style of the house, and the original section of the cottage will be sensitively restored. Historic mantels will be put back in place and the floors will be spiffed up. Plaster walls will be replaced. A widow’s walk has already been placed on top of the structure. I will definitely be visiting when all the work is done.

On the back side of the house Mike is building a porch, which will afford some of the most beautiful views from one of the highest elevations in this part of Talbot County.

It’s an amazing sight and the entire project is a testament to the value of the renewal of historic resources.