Category Archives: –BALDWIN COUNTY GA–

Patterson’s Grocery, Milledgeville

This historic grocery store, across Greene Street from the old depot in Milledgeville, is adjacent to property once owned by the O’Connor family. It appears to date from the late 19th or early 20th century.

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Georgian Cottage, Milledgeville

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Rockwell Resurgent

I previously featured this house when it was a derelict concern for many historians and preservationists. Though I’m a bit late to the game, I wanted to share a photo of its present state, which gives an idea of the thought and work the new owners have put into its preservation. Some of their work is detailed here.

National Register of Historic Places

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Randolph Cemetery, Harrisburg

Randolph Cemetery, set on a precipitous hillside southwest of Milledgeville, has the appearance of a typical early-20th-century African-American burying ground, with many handmade headstones and grave markers sourced from local materials. This monumental folk art arch makes it anything but a typical cemetery. [It might also be of interest that it is believed that a descendant of one of George Washington’s slaves is buried here].

The top of the arch contains relief carvings of oak leaves, plus some possible clues about the builder. Below a random series of letters and numbers [K PL47, perhaps designating Knights of Pythias Lodge 47?] and the phrase “He Watches Over Me” is what appears to be the date 1923 and the initials F B and ARB. It’s possible that the B is for Brown, as there are several Browns in this cemetery, but that is only a guess.

On both sides of the arch, there are relief depictions of traditional miners’ tools.
Considering that mining activity has persisted for the better part of two centuries in this area, it’s possible the builder was involved in the industry in some way. I even believe he may have used rock from his job in the construction of the arch. The shovel on the right (above) also has initials ending with the letter “B”.
Nearly as fascinating as the arch is this adjacent headstone for Cora Randolph (31 December 1875?-26 July 1924). If you look closely at the top of the marker you will see a handprint to the left. I’m grateful to my friend Cynthia Jennings, who has documented cemeteries in all 159 Georgia counties and has a particular interest in African-American cemeteries, for suggesting I find this place. It immediately became one of my favorite African-American cemeteries and I hope to learn more about the arch. It’s among the most important vernacular funerary monuments in Georgia.

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Dovecote, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee notes that this dovecote stood on the site of an historic house that burned. She photographed it in 1990 and it’s now gone, as well.

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Trophy Barn, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee photographed this barn circa 1990.

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Stevens Pottery Ruins, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee made these photographs of the abandoned Stevens Pottery mill in August 1990. The rural community was named for the industry that was the largest employer in Baldwin County in the years following the Civil War.

Bill Boyd wrote in the 13 August 1992 edition of the Macon Telegraph: Henry Stevens, who grew up near pottery plants in England, worked his way to America aboard a merchant ship, landed a job as a railroad conductor and arrived in Middle Georgia in 1850. An ambitious and enterprising fellow, Stevens bought a sizable tract of timber land in the southwest corner of Baldwin County in 1854, and he discovered  “an extensive and valuable deposit of fire-clay” according to an 1895 book “Memories of Georgia”.

After putting a sawmill into operation in that area, he built kilns and began to produce the first sewerage pipe ever produced in the South. The plant also turned out pottery and stoneware. During the Civil War, Stevens’s plant produced “knives, shoepegs and Joe Brown pipes” for the confederacy according to the history book. And, because of that General William T. Sherman burned the plant to the ground in 1864. Stevens rebuilt the plant after the war and sold it to his sons in 1876. By the turn of the century, the Stevens plant employed some 300 people and produced only brick.

The late T. L. Wood recalled in a 1984 interview with the Associated Press that Stevens Pottery acquired a reputation as a rough-and-tumble town where shootings and stabbings were commonplace at night and on weekends. “My mother wouldn’t let me go down there when I was a kid.” he said. But when he grew up, Wood, like many residents of Stevens Pottery and Coopers worked there for at least a while, and he remembered the plant as a “dirty, dusty, crude-looking place, (where) the work was hard- hauling brick in wheelbarrows and things like that.” Wood escaped the hard labor in the plant by operating a general store; and getting the town’s post office located in his store. But others stayed with the hard work and long hours, and as late as the 1950s, a person could work all of the overtime he or she wanted as the plant turned out brick for the booming sugar refineries in Cuba.

 

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DeLauney House, Circa 1825, Milledgeville

Thanks to the good folks at the Milledgville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau for finally filling in some of the blanks on this house. They note that it originally faced Jefferson Street. Though it isn’t quite as “refined” as other examples of the Milledgeville-Federal Style houses for which the city is known, likely due to alterations after it was moved, it definitely falls into that category. Hollye Hodges McDonel notes that her grandparents, the Robersons, lived here for many years. Other earlier owners were the Scott, Joseph, Malpass, Simmerson, and Hobbs families.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Roberson Store, Circa 1925, Milledgeville

This is best remembered as James Roberson’s store, but it was owned by the Ennis family before that. Thanks to Sara Smith Brantley for sharing it with the Milledgeville Memories Facebook group; folks there quickly identified it. Kim Roberson Hornsby writes: This was my uncle’s store…He sold general supplies mostly groceries with those ladders that slid along the shelves. We loved going there as children and playing on those ladders. He had an ice cream box inside and candy treats he would give us when we visited. My grandmother lived across the street in the house with the brick steps. She had six children all born and raised in a two story house that is gone now that was up the little lane beside the house with the steps.

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Stanford-Griffin House, 1810, Milledgeville

According to Dr. Bob Wilson: The builder of the house was James Stanford who opened up a dry goods store there in 1810. Five years later it became a residence and was a home for the next 150 years…It was scheduled for demolition in 1979 but was saved by Allied Arts, who moved it across the street from its original location. Thanks to Bud Merritt and Sara Smith Brantley for sharing this history.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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