Tag Archives: African-Americans in North Georgia

Vernacular Houses, Odessadale

There are at least two of these hip-roofed utilitarian structures remaining in Odessadale. The form was once much more common in the area.

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Filed under --MERIWETHER COUNTY GA--, Odessadale GA

Branch Hebron Missionary Baptist Church, Odessadale

This church, founded by ex-slaves in 1868, is the center of the African-American community in Odessadale.

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Filed under --MERIWETHER COUNTY GA--, Odessadale GA

Nutwood, 1833, LaGrange

Representative of the transformation from Federal and Plantation Plain styles to the more formal Greek Revival, Nutwood is one of six extant homes designed and built by Collin (sometimes spelled Cullin or Cullen) Rogers (1791-1845) and his brother Henry. Just as Daniel Pratt’s houses are emblematic of Milledgeville, Rogers’s designs are icons of LaGrange. Nutwood is considered the most accomplished of his works. It should be noted that Rogers and his brother utilized a large number of enslaved people with great skills in carpentry to build their commissions.

Joel D. Newsom (1789-1864) was the first owner of the property and legend states that the plantation house derived its name from the fact that the first pecan tree grown in Troup County was planted here. Newsom served as judge of the Troup County Inferior Court from 1831-36. In 1937, it was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Arthur E. Mallory who owned it until the 1970s.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --TROUP COUNTY GA--, LaGrange GA

Coopers Creek, Suches

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Coopers Creek (variously known as Cooper’s Creek and Cooper Creek) is one of the most picturesque mountain streams in North Georgia.

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It’s a favorite among fishermen and is one of the busiest places in the mountains on the opening day of trout season. The first time I ever went trout fishing was on Coopers Creek and the banks were full of tents crowded with eager anglers.

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The creek follows Georgia Highway 60, one of the most beautiful drives in Georgia.

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Filed under --UNION COUNTY GA--, Suches GA

Banks County Courthouse, Circa 1863, Homer

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The date of construction for this iconic courthouse is difficult to track down. In the nomination of the property to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, it was said to have been begun in 1860 and completed in 1875. Brothers John and Samuel Pruitt were noted as the builders. More recent scholarship (I assume) by Elizabeth B. Cooksey in the New Georgia Encylopedia notes: (the) first courthouse was built in 1863, reportedly with $6,600 in Confederate currency. Either date ensures that slave labor was integral to the construction; completion of public architecture during the Civil War seems extraordinary. Confusion aside, it’s one of the most beautiful courthouses in Georgia. Replaced by a modern courthouse on an adjacent lot in 1987, it now serves as a museum, with very limited hours.

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National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BANKS COUNTY GA--, Homer GA

Louise Brown Making White Oak Baskets, Junction City

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Meriwether County artist Louise Brown and her sister, Catherine Johnson, learned the art of basket making from their father, the late John Reeves. He began selling his white oak baskets at the Cotton Pickin’ Fair in nearby Gay, Georgia, over thirty years ago. Mrs. Brown weaves and sells her baskets at Plantation Days each year and I was lucky enough to meet and photograph her at this year’s festival.

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Her patience and skill are evident in her attention to detail.

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The work of making the baskets begins by carefully stripping pieces of white oak from saplings, soaking the oak strips in water, and weaving them into different patterns and forms.

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Again, I’m very glad I got to meet Mrs. Brown (pictured here with her husband John Henry). If you’d like to purchase one of her beautiful creations, she can be reached at (706) 672-4326. Otherwise, find her at the Harvest Days festival or the Cotton Pickin’ Fair.

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Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Junction City GA

Visionary Artist Johnny Culver, Sparta

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When I was in Sparta to photograph the rededication of the Hancock County Courthouse, I met this gentleman. John “Johnny” Culver is a visionary artist who came back to his hometown of Sparta in 2000 after living in the Atlanta for a time. While there, he suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of 20, after a failed relationship. He told me that creating the art gave him the ability to come back from that and he was very clear that God gets all the credit.

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He works in paint and ink and on every imaginable surface. I also feel lucky, since he told me he does not usually allow photographs. I found a few images of him online from an article by Tom Patterson and a piece by Fred Scruton and one or two from his London-based gallerist, but that was it. I’m so glad we made a connection and that he placed the trust in me to share.

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All Art Objects Pictured are © John Culver, Sparta, Georgia

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Sparta GA