Typical of many commercial blocks built in late-19th- and early-20th-century Georgia, this structure served a dual purpose as a general store and Masonic lodge.
Tag Archives: North Georgia General Stores
A 1994 article by Gordon Sargent in North Georgia Journal notes that as long as most people can remember, this northwest Georgia community has enjoyed a rich reputation for high crimes and high times. Such has been the reputation for the little state line community in northwest Georgia’s Polk County for decades, an image fostered by a long record of illicit activities such as moonshining, gambling, and even darker crimes like murder. And surprisingly, it seemed the stronger the criminal element became in the township, the less visible was law enforcement. Despite its infamy, Esom Hill, according to many residents, is a friendly community with caring neighbors and a bad name circulated by “outsiders”. Just like many situations, the truth lies somewhere in
A post office was established in the community, which was associated with the Shiloh Baptist Church, in 1850. It’s only about a mile from the Alabama state line. The origins of the name are unclear. In its heyday, Easom Hill had five general stores, three churches, a school, and a saloon. Two gins and a sawmill were also present.
Joseph Proctor Screven Brewster, who built this store after his first mercantile burned in 1901, was one of the pioneers of Esom Hill. It was one of the first businesses in the county to have electric power, provided by an early Delco System generator. It also served as the post office, with Brewster serving as postmaster.
This tin-sided false front store should get your attention if you’re traveling on US Highway 27, just south of Carrollton. A sign on the building notes that the store operated from 1927-1957. Like the Johnson Sweet Potato barn, another roadside icon located nearby, the Ringer Store’s Coca-Cola signs and murals have been repainted.
Montour Mill House, Circa 1857; photographed in 2014.
When I photographed these forlorn structures in 2014, I felt they had an important history but also realized they probably didn’t have a promising future. My fears were confirmed last week when James Woodall reported they had been torn down.
Montour Mill Store, Circa 1857; photographed in 2014.
Further conversation with Karen West and Sistie Hudson highlight their importance and the tragedy of their loss. The structures were apparently the last two survivors of the antebellum Montour Mill village. The mill, chartered in 1857, was anchored by a four-story brick factory building. It was likely devastated by the Civil War and attempted a return to production, but was finished by 1884. The property and village was large enough to have been considered as a location for Georgia Tech in 1883. In Houses of Hancock 1785-1865, John Rozier notes: Even in ruins, the big brick factory was a Sparta landmark until it was taken down in 1951.
Karen West: It was originally a mill store owned and operated by a Jewish immigrant. He wrote 15 articles for the Sparta Ishmaelite about life in Czarist Russia. He extended credit to whoever needed it, regardless of race or religion. So sad to see a piece of Sparta history so disregarded. Hopefully someone has pictures of earlier, happier times for that little store.
Sistie Hudson: I took pictures, too—have admired it since I was a little girl…Jacob Nagurya [also written as Nagiiryn] was a Polish Jew. He was a favorite of Editor Sidney Lewis, hence the articles in the Ishmaelite. He owned the first phonograph in the county and sold them as well. He also served as rabbi for the Jewish Community in Sparta. I remember when there was still a row of mill houses across the street from this store. I am so sad about this loss—I have admired it for over 60 years.
This iconic crossroads store was owned by Betty & Maro Callier. In trying to answer where the crossroads got its name, Norman Carter wrote in The Pobiddy Joke Book (1995): Nobody knows exactly how Pobiddy got its name. I remember when my good friends Betty and Maro Callier had a store at Pobiddy and Maro drew a little chicken on the front of the store and underneath wrote “Pobiddy”. Other people say there were some people sitting on the porch of a home in Pobiddy when a little chicken ran across the road and a car hit it and killed it. Someone on the porch said “po biddy!”.