Tag Archives: Lexington GA

Strickland Pride Produce, Lexington

On a recent trip through Lexington, I had a nice visit with Kendall (Kenny) Strickland, whose Instagram account, @kenny_fromtheblock, I’ve followed for several years.

Kenny owns Strickland Pride Produce and can be found most days just down the street from the Oglethorpe County courthouse, selling seasonal vegetables and fruit, as well as preserves and meat, from his own stock and from producers all over the region. A proud graduate of Florida A&M University, he represents the best and brightest of our young people today, keeping the tradition of truck farming fresh and relevant through social media and online updates, while also managing his own farm property nearby. He’s also an advocate for historically black colleges and universities.

The number of young farmers and African-American farmers has been on the decline for decades. The most recent agriculture census counts just over 2800 African-American farmers in Georgia, which indicates an obviously vanishing way of life. To understand this change, consider that in 1934 Liberty County alone had 834 African-American owned farms totaling 33,000 acres.

A business like Strickland Pride does more than provide local and regional produce. It fosters a sense of community in a small downtown and gives people a reason to be there.

Kenny keeps out a sign to let customers know what’s available.

Kenny’s enthusiasm for this hard work is really inspiring and he seems to never slow down He’s just finished a “melon run” to South Georgia and should have plenty of watermelons and cantaloupes available, just in time for Independence Day. Stop by and see him when in Lexington. He might even have some of that good Hughes’ Sorghum Syrup from Young Harris.

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Shaking Rock Park, Lexington

Shaking Rock Park is a fascinating natural area located within the city limits of Lexington is named for a 27-ton rock that could be shaken with one hand while remaining in place, before the elements shifted its balance [likely the 1886 Charleston earthquake]. It still maintains a precarious perch albeit aided today by some sort of mortar.
The random field of mostly egg-shaped granite boulders comes into view at the crest of a fairly low hill and defines the trail to come. It’s a fairly easy walk and other than the presence of large roots in places, has few obstacles.
Archaeological evidence suggests that before European habitation, the site was used by Cherokee and Creek peoples as a campground.

In 1968, Shaking Rock became a public park thanks to the efforts of the Lexington Women’s Club.

Judge Hamilton McWhorter was the last private owner, and three of his heirs, Mrs. Andrew Cobb Erwin, Mrs. Sallie McWhorter, and Thurmond McWhorter, made the public transfer possible.

Depending on where one stands, the namesake rock’s appearance can vary greatly. Unfortunately, there seems to be a problem with graffiti at the site.

Shaking Rock Park is an excellent natural resource and is free to explore.

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Bush-Turner House, 1840s, Lexington

Like many of Georgia’s historic 19th-century homes, the Bush-Turner House originated as a Plantation Plain. The porch and Victorian details were added circa 1890.

I’m grateful to owner Rick Berry for allowing me to photograph the house. Rick also owns Goodness Grows, a nursery adjacent to the house. If you’re a plant lover and find yourself in Lexington, stop by and check out their amazing stock.

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Lester-Callaway House, Circa 1825, Lexington

The Lester-Callaway (sometimes spelled Calloway) House originated circa 1825 as a simple double-pen I-House and was later modified with simple Victorian details. The architecture has been attributed to Dr. F. J. Robinson.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Lexington Presbyterian Church, 1893, Oglethorpe County

The present home of the Lexington Presbyterian Church dates to 1893, but the congregation is one of Georgia’s most historic, originating with a group of Pennsylvania missionaries who came to the area in 1785 to witness to Native Americans. The early church was formally established on 20 December 1785 about three miles south of the present location by John Newton and was named Beth-Salem.

The congregation has dwindled to just a few members today and upkeep of the church has been difficult as a result. Hopefully, this treasure will be preserved.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Goulding House, Circa 1817, Lexington

The Presbyterian Church had a presence in this area in 1785, before the incorporation of Lexington or the establishment of Oglethorpe County. The missionary spirit which originally brought them to the community perhaps guided Liberty County native Reverend Thomas Goulding (1786-1848) in his creation of the Theological Seminary of the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia at this site in 1828. [The structure was built as Goulding’s home circa 1817, though one source dates it to 1808]. The seminary moved to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1830, and remained under the direction of Reverend Goulding until 1834. The name of the school was changed to Columbia Theological Seminary in 1925, and though it moved to Decatur, Georgia, in 1927, it retains that name to this day. Over nearly two centuries, it has produced numerous prominent social, political, and religious leaders.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Paul’s Bar-B-Q, Lexington

pauls-barbeque-lexington-ga-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

According to almost anyone you ask in Lexington, or any of the myriad barbecue “experts” out there, Paul’s was one of the best barbecue restaurants in Georgia over its long history. [I’ve eaten at many of the “best barbecue in Georgia” joints and very few have impressed me. My favorite remains Armstrong’s in Summerville and it’s not even on many of those lists. They seem to have issues with their hours, though]. Online reviews raved about the perfect vinegar-based sauce, the thick Brunswick stew and sweet tea better than your granny’s. Paul’s was only open from 9:30-2:00 on Saturdays and on Independence Day. They finally shut their doors on 4 July 2016, a day which made many people sad.

Luckily, the good folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance interviewed the owners in 2008 and recorded an oral history of the business. It began in 1929 when Clifford Collins started cooking and barbecuing whole hogs in Lexington. He and Fudge Collins sold their product under the shade of a Mulberry tree on Main Street for the next forty years. With the advent of health regulations, the business moved inside this building and they began smoking hams instead of whole hogs. Clifford retired when he was in his 90s and passed the business on to his nephew, George Paul, Jr.  George was a farmer with no restaurant experience but he quickly learned the ropes. He and his son Jimmy operated the business from about 1979 until 2016, with George smoking the shoulders on a pit at his farm and Jimmy making the Brunswick stew.

pauls-barbq-lexington-ga-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

 

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Main Street, Lexington

Lexington GA Oglethorpe County Historic Downtown Storefronts Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Lexington is a great town to visit. It’s easy to walk around the historic side streets, exploring the architecture and history of a place that dates to the late 1700s. The town itself was incorporated in 1806 and named for Lexington, Massachusetts. It’s close to Athens but with fewer than 300 people still has the feel of a traditional small town. Here’s another view of Main Street’ historic commercial row, taken from the courthouse lawn.

Lexington GA Main Street Historic Commercial Storefronts from Courthouse Lawn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Platt Street, Lexington

Lexington GA Oglethorpe County Courthouse Square Granite Storefronts Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Platt Street is located on the west side of the courthouse square and is a good example of small town revitalization. Oglethorpe Fresh (on the right) is a sustainable, local farmers market that encourages artists, musicians, historians and other creative types to come together and share ideas.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Oglethorpe County Courthouse, 1887, Lexington

Oglethorpe County Courthouse Lexington GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Designed by L. B. Wheeler, W. H. Parkins, and H. I. Kimball, Lexington’s Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse is one of my favorites in Georgia.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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