Corbett Farm, Circa 1878, Echols County

Bryant W. Corbett House

Bryant W. Corbett (1857-1917) built this hall-and-parlor farmhouse circa 1878-1879 and it served as the anchor for his growing family, which with his wife Rebecca Ann Carter Corbett (1855-1940) eventually included three children. In its early days the farm was focused primarily on corn, with a planting of peanuts done prior and left as feed for the hogs that did the work of rooting the fields. The description of Mr. Corbett’s farm in its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places could describe many such farms in Georgia in the late 19th century, as farmers of that time were really renaissance men when it came to the ways of the land. Their work was done with mules, incorporated available natural amendments to the soil, and was sustainable. These men did it because they had to, and the land often rewarded them for it. Mr. Corbett sold some of his corn for income, had some of it milled, and used the remainder as feed for his livestock. The livestock was used for milk and food. There were also mulberries and plums on the property which not only gave the family fruit for jams and jellies but attracted the bees which pollinated the farm. Pecans, walnuts, and grapes were also present on the farm.

Well house, restoration

Several historic outbuildings survive on the property, including this reconstructed well house. The wash shelter which stood behind it appears to have been lost in recent years.

Car house (circa 1930), restored

As farms evolved over the years, owners usually built a utilitarian shed/barn specifically for the purpose of protecting their automobiles. We had a couple of car barns on our farm and I remember them well. They varied in style from simple shelters to sided barns with shelves and pigeonholes for storing tools. Other buildings noted in the National Register form included a chicken house and tobacco barn, which appear to have been lost over time.

Cotton & corn house. This is the “corn crib”, used to dry cotton and corn.

It is not a stretch to say that Georgia was built on farms like this, often with the labor of immediate and extended family and hired men, and sometimes with sharecroppers. The hardships that these tenacious small farmers faced, along with their self-sufficiency and economy, often allowed them to save money and acquire more land and influence. Many families abandoned farming altogether between the arrival of the boll weevil (circa 1920) and the advent of the Great Depression (circa 1930) but those who prospered stayed and became leaders in their churches and communities. The Corbett family has done just that and has been the only family associated with this property since its purchase. Numerous family members have been good stewards of this property for nearly a century and a half. In understanding its importance and preserving it for future generations, they really are helping to tell the real story of Georgia, especially as it relates to agriculture and the rural experience.

National Register of Historic Places

Queen Anne House, Brunswick

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Folk Victorian House, 1884, Brunswick

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Central Hallway Cottage, 1885, Brunswick

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Folk Victorian House, 1880, Brunswick

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Obelisk Flour Ghost Mural, Moultrie

Moultrie Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Knight’s Fish Market, 1937, Moultrie

The Knight family opened this seafood market in 1937. The iconic sign may be nearly as old as the business itself. Charles Knight continued the tradition and kept Colquitt County supplied with the best fresh seafood available. The market closed in 2015, after nearly 80 years in business.

Moultrie Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

The Slate House, Circa 1860, Macon

Named for their slate roof, the Slate Row Houses were built to house the engineers who were constructing the grand home of William Johnston [now known primarily as the Hay House]. They are considered to be among the earliest apartment buildings in Macon. Architecturally, they’re described in the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places (1973) as a simplified version of the Second Empire style apartment house that has been converted into a modern condominium building. James B. Ayers, the contractor hired by Johnston, employed numerous enslaved artisans, according to research by Mercer Law student Nathan Corbitt. One of those artisans was Primus Moore, who worked on the construction of the Hay House. He was also responsible for all of the plaster work at Macon City Hall and was even paid by the city after Emancipation to continue the work.

National Register of Historic Places

McCaw-Massee House, 1901, Macon

This Beaux-Arts landmark [also known as the Crisco House] was designed by Macon architect Alexander Blair III for Wallace Eugene McCaw, Sr., president of the Macon Manufacturing Company, an oil and soap concern. During his time at Macon Manufacturing Company, Mr. McCaw invented a hydrogenated vegetable-based shortening which he marketed locally as Plantene. The formula was purchased by Procter and Gamble in 1910 and the product name was changed to Crisco. Mr. McCaw sold the house at this time and went on to a career as a vice-president at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati. He died in 1933 while boating near his summer home at Diamond Point, New York, on Lake George, An autopsy determined that he had a heart attack and fell into the water.

The buyer of the house was W. Jordan Massee, a larger-than-life Macon character known as Big Jordan. Massee was a good friend of playwright Tennessee Williams and Big Daddy in the play was purportedly based on Massee. When Massee sold the house it was divided into apartments. After many years of decline, it was purchased and restored in 2013.

Macon Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Callaway-Porter House, 1905, Macon

This Classical Revival home is thought to have been designed by Curran R. Ellis for Merrel P. Callaway (26 November 1872-16 June 1957). Ellis may be best known in Macon as the architect of the Bibb County Courthouse. James & Olive Porter purchased the home in 1919 and commissioned an interior redesign from Neel Reid.

Macon Historic District, National Register of Historic Places