Bulloch House, 1893, Warm Springs

Benjamin Bulloch House. The photos shared here were made in March 2010.

The first Bullochs came to the area of present-day Greenville, Georgia, from Edgecombe County, North Carolina, in the early 1800s and Cyprian Bulloch remained in the area and was a successful businessman . [This branch of Bullochs were not related to Archibald Bulloch, the first governor of Georgia].

The town of Bullochville was established by Cyprian’s sons, Cyprian Jr. and Benjamin Franklin. It was incorporated on December 20, 1893. Benjamin built this home on a prominent hill overlooking the town. He and Cyprian were large landowners and their other interests included a mill, gin, bank, and coffin factory. It is often stated that the town was renamed Warm Springs by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1920s, but my friend Joe Kitchens notes: My distant cousin Dr. Nepali Kitchens left a lucrative practice in Columbus and retired to Bullochville where he was elected mayor. His training was in hydrotherapy and he claimed to have been the influence behind changing the name of the village, which preceded FDR’s first visit.

Fast forward to 1990: Judy Foster and Charles & Sylvia Garrett purchased and renovated the Bulloch House and converted into a popular restaurant serving Southern favorites, done right.

As someone who never likes fried green tomatoes, I can attest that I actually loved theirs! And of course, they excelled in fried chicken.

Peter and Sandy Lampert purchased the business in 2011.

Sadly, the Bulloch House was struck by lightning and completely lost to an ensuing fire on 10 June 2015. Luckily, for fans of the restaurant, the Lamperts relocated to an historic commercial space in downtown Warm Springs and were up and running by December 2015.

The history shared here comes from their website. If you plan on visiting Warm Springs, you just have to try it. I think you’ll like it.

Farmhouse Ruins, Bleckley County

West Side Grocery, Fitzgerald

West Side Grocery was recently razed, along with Harry Pittman’s Novelty Warehouse and Floyd’s Hamburger Shack. It was the first “convenience” store in this section of town, if not the entire town.

Harry Pittman Novelty Warehouse, Fitzgerald

This was home to Harry Pittman’s novelty business. It was recently razed along with West Side Grocery and the old Floyd’s Hamburger Shack.

Abandoned Tenant Farmhouse, Irwin County

This photograph was made in 2010. The house has been gone for many years.

Floyd’s Hamburger Shack, Fitzgerald

A friend recently reached out to let me know that I should photograph this Fitzgerald landmark because it’s about to be razed for redevelopment, as are all the other adjacent commercial structures. (Thanks, Sara Padgett). The little brick building at the corner of Merrimac Drive and the Ten Mile Stretch will always be remembered as Floyd’s Hamburger Shack, but its history goes back a bit further.

Francis Marion “Frank” Malcolm II (1874-1954) came to Fitzgerald from Waycross in 1906, and in 1910 he bought the largest single tract of land (11 acres) in the city, to which he moved a home from Alapaha Street (still standing) and built other structures over time. [A house he built across the road from his own, in 1948, is where I spent the first six years of my life]. His grandson, renowned artist David Malcolm, told me that the ‘Floyd’s’ building was built in 1930 as a cannery, which employed young women. He even related that my grandmother, Nettie Pate Brown once worked there before she married my grandfather. After the cannery shut down, it was a Venetian blind shop and later, a grocery store.

The association with Floyd’s came in 1952 when J. W. Floyd moved his popular short-order business from the Five-Story Building (Garbutt-Donovan) to this location, which was closer to the new homes and subdivisions being built on the west side of Fitzgerald.

Later owners were Wade and Myrtice Malcolm and their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Varnell Hendley. Walter Owens and C. L. Martin also operated a barber shop in the connected space next door to the restaurant.

Hamburgers topped with grilled onions, a concoction known as Mama’s Stew, and barbecue smoked in the pit out back were required eating by generations of families in Fitzgerald. The barbecued goat was a particular favorite.

Pam Hunter, daughter of Barbara and Varnell Hendley, kindly shared the recipe for Mama’s Stew. [Mama was Pam’s grandmother, Myrtice Malcolm]. She writes: I think great recipes are made to pass down to future generations and share with friends! You will need 2 lbs. Ground pork*, 4 lbs. Ground beef and one diced onion. Brown this up in a large pot and drain off the grease. Cover all this with water and add salt and pepper to taste. Next dice 6 large baking potatoes and add to the mixture. Make sure water still covers all. Cook until potatoes are tender. Now add 2 cans of cream corn, one can of LeSueur English peas(drain), 3 cups of Heinz ketchup, and 3/4 cup Heinz 57 sauce. Do not substitute . It will not taste the same! Go easy when adding salt as the ketchup and 57 are both salty, but those taters need some salt when cooking! I hope your families enjoy this as much as mine does! Don’t forget the crackers and salad! This makes a lot, but you can freeze it and it is still good!

*Ground pork and sausage are not the same thing, if you’re wondering. You can find ground pork in most groceries and specialty meat markets.

An iconic hamburger sign was located on the side of the building and was synonymous with Floyd’s.

DeBerry Baptist Church, Coffee County

Two people reached out to me to say that the old DeBerry Baptist Church was being torn down. The original chapel is around 100 years old.

There is a larger more modern facility on the property and I presumed the demolition would allow for further expansion. However, Rafe Semmes writes that the reason the church is being torn down is that foundation has suffered extensive rot and the cost of repair was deemed too expensive to be practical.

Maxeys Landmark Lost to Fire

This historic general store in Maxeys was lost to a tragic fire on 16 January 2021. [Thanks to Jennifer W. Newton for sharing the unfortunate news on the Vanishing Georgia Facebook group. My condolences go to the family who lost their loved one in this tragedy]. It was owned by the Vernor family for many years. It was most recently home to Maxeys Country Store and had been converted to dual use as a residence. The cause of the fire is under investigation. I will be updating with more history of the building soon.

Sally Giles wrote: I have many good memories of going into Mr. Vernor’s store in the 70s and 80s and trying on what my mom called “train suits” that looked like they were from the 60s. These were very sensible skirts with matching jackets that you would wear on the train, or later on the bus. Mr. Vernor had ladies gloves that you would have worn to church that were lain perfectly crossed over each in the long glass cabinet just waiting for glove wearing to come back into style. He told me that his wife would order the ladies things, and that he had not bought anything new for the cases since she had passed. Mr Vernor always wore a black suit no matter how hot it was, and the store had no air conditioning. His shirt was a starchy white, buttoned up all the way with no tie. I can remember feeling hotter than I should have just looking at Mr. Vernor in his black suit. Over time there was not much that was really for sale that anyone wanted except myself buying the old clothes, but there were co-colas (all beverages were called co-colas) and crackers that looked kinda old for sale on the rack. I have other memories that I could tell, but won’t.

Farmhouse Ruins, Laurens County

Ruins of Aldine Hotel, Fitzgerald

Irwin County entrepreneur Wright Tomberlin Paulk (1873-1922) built the Aldine Hotel [pronounced al-dean] circa 1904, to capitalize on the rapid growth of the recently settled”Old Soldier’s Colony” at Fitzgerald. He named it for his daughter, who died at the age of eighteen months in 1898. In its early days it was one of the leading hotels of the city and was later modified for use as a retail space for various businesses. I recall a Fred’s Store being located here when I was a child in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As the above photograph shows, the front of the structure was sided with inappropriate concrete veneer at some point.

The original hotel was three stories; I believe this rear section was a later addition.

The structure had been abandoned and neglected for many years and in the past year or so bricks began to collapse into the adjacent alley, creating a serious liability and hazard. Sadly, this is the fate of far too many commercial structures in small towns all over Georgia.

As of October 2020, the property has been cleared.

Fitzgerald Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places