Tag Archives: North Georgia Commercial Architecture

Cavender’s Store, Circa 1840, Villanow

Though most often referred to today as the Villanow General Store, this structure of handmade brick sourced at the site, began as Cavender’s Store around 1840 and is among the oldest extant stores in Georgia. The only one I know of that’s older, in fact, is the Brick Store in Newton County.

It also housed the Villanow post office for many years, the Odd Fellows lodge, and even the Justice of the Peace. The community was known as Sunset at the time it was constructed. Roland Kinsey and William D. Underwood were two of the first owners of the store, though it has historically been associated with Joseph Warren Cavender (1845-1919). Cavender, who had served as postmaster and mayor of Villanow in the 1870s and 1890s, owned the store until his death, but had at least one partner in the business, James Harvey Shahan (1868-1949). Numerous owners have followed over the years, including: Roy Morgan, Claude Clements, Dr. J. A. Shields, M. Gordon Keown, J. C. Phillips, Otto Morgan, Roy Morgan, Ottis Poarch, O. H. “Doc” Penland, and Rodney Edwards. Mr. Edwards was instrumental in helping save the store when a four-lane highway was proposed through the community.

I had a nice visit with Dr. Michael Kisner who moved his chiropractic office into the store in 2015. His wife Deborah has roots in the area and the couple are happy to have been able to save such a landmark. They’ve done extensive work on the structure, retaining as many of its original features as possible.

National Register of Historic Places


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Filed under --WALKER COUNTY GA--, Villanow GA

Historic Commercial Architecture, Lyerly

Between Summerville and the Alabama line on Georgia Highway 114, Lyerly is located in one of the most scenic areas of Northwest Georgia.

A variety of early- to mid-20th-century structures survive in varying states of repair.

It’s not known exactly when Lyerly was established but has close ties to the nearby lost towns of Glenwood and Melville. The Chattanooga Rome & Columbus Railway built a depot in what would become Lyerly in 1888 and the town was incorporated in 1891. It’s thought to be named for Tennessee bank president Charles Abner Lyerly, who had investments in the area.

The building below appears to have been a warehouse of some kind.

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Filed under --CHATTOOGA COUNTY GA--, Lyerly GA

Armstrong’s Barbecue, Summerville

The first time I came through Summerville, on a mission to see Paradise Garden, it was lunchtime and I stopped at this place. It was packed to the rafters and like a step back in time. None of the interior has been updated since it was built, likely in 1965 when the business was established, but the place was warm and welcoming. And I loved their pepper-based sauce. A jar was purchased and guarded until the last drop was used. I wish I’d bought a dozen jars, because it was closed when I passed through a few weeks ago. And judging by comments online, it’s a real roll of the dice to find it open. Locals obviously love the place, too. I don’t known anything about their hours or why they’re so rarely open, but I do know that they have some of the best barbecue sauce I’ve ever eaten. If you’re lucky enough to be in Summerville when they’re open, make sure to stop by.

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Filed under --CHATTOOGA COUNTY GA--, Summerville GA

Historic Storefronts, Buchanan

The commercial district of Buchanan is situated around the courthouse square and features a variety of buildings which served numerous purposes. Most have been restored or updated and seem to be in use, quite an accomplishment in such a small town.

The structure pictured in the first two images was likely a general store/mercantile, as the ghost mural for Snowdrift Shortening would attest. It has been largely obscured by the more recent Coca-Cola mural advertising Merle’s Bar-B-Q and Diane’s Ice Cream Parlor.

A variety of businesses occupy these spaces today.

Los Cowboys Mexican Restaurant is among the most colorful and has added some great color to the area. The traditional tortilla maker (below) is one of my favorites.

I really enjoyed walking around this town.

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Filed under --HARALSON COUNTY GA--, Buchanan GA

St. Marks, Georgia

This general store and the nearby Methodist church are about all that remain of the crossroads community of St. Marks.

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Filed under --MERIWETHER COUNTY GA--, St. Marks GA

Royal Theatre, 1937, Hogansville

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --TROUP COUNTY GA--, Hogansville GA

Grand Hotel, 1890s, Hogansville

The hotel is still in use as a bed and breakfast.


Filed under --TROUP COUNTY GA--, Hogansville GA