Anne Chamlee documented this house to the very end. The photo above was made in 1997, after the house burned; the photo below was made in April 1991, when someone was still living there.
Category Archives: –JONES COUNTY GA–
I’m honored to be able to share this photograph by Anne Chamlee; it will be one of several I plan on publishing here and on Vanishing South Georgia. Earlier this year, Anne reached out to let me know that she appreciated the work I was doing documenting Georgia’s rural architecture and that she had some photographs of her own that I might enjoy seeing. After several back-and-forth emails and some phone conversations, I’m so glad we were able to make a connection. She’s just as intrigued by the architecture of rural Georgia as I am and by the late 1980s was wandering around the backroads of Middle Georgia, photographing the endangered examples that sparked her interest. She’s also a delightful conversationalist, which is a bit of vanishing thing itself these days.
A Sooner by birth, Anne came South with her family just as the Dust Bowl was coming to an end. They wound up in Florida and she eventually met and married a man with roots in Hancock County, Tilmon Chamlee. Tilmon was a rising architect who had a very successful career in the commercial sector. After many years in Florida and then Macon, Anne and Tilmon eventually settled at Lake Sinclair in Baldwin County, where he continued his practice and indulged in his love for flying. He was also a commercial and instrument-rated pilot. Tilmon passed away in 2015 but Anne remains active in the community. After talking with her on the phone a few times, I still cannot believe she’s 85.
Regarding the structure: It was located near Haddock and is no longer extant. The photo dates to July 1988. It’s quite unusual as a church structure but was likely a multi-purpose center for the community. My guess is that the second floor was used for Sunday School and possibly even by a fraternal lodge. I hope to learn more.
Known at its organization as Round Oak Methodist, and now called Sunshine Methodist or Sunshine II, the church seen here was organized sometime after the burning of a more primitive log structure known as Sunshine Church, which was a Baptist congregation.
That church was the site of the Battle of Sunshine Church (30-31 July 1864), one of the few Confederate victories in the Atlanta campaign. Stoneman’s raiders, attempting to meet up with Sherman’s forces, encountered three brigades commanded by Clinton native General Alfred Iverson. A decisive Confederate victory forced Stoneman’s surrender. Four months later, Sherman’s troops burned the old church as they passed through the area en route to Savannah.
Founded as Sylvania in 1807, Round Oak is one of the oldest settlements in Jones County. The name was changed to honor an ancient oak known as a gathering place for Native Americans. A depot was built in 1885 and brought a thriving economy which persisted until the early 1920s. The Big O Ranch, home of Otis Redding’s widow Zelda, is located on Otis Redding Road just outside town.
This was built as a general store by Joe White to replace the original which burned after a steam engine caught fire on the adjacent railroad tracks. It is best known today as Woodmen of the World Lodge 358. The lodge was organized around 1907 and likely occupied the upper floor of the store by the 1920s.