Tag Archives: North Georgia Ghost Towns

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

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

E. W. Johnson’s Store, Lineville

I had a nice conversation and a tour of this old grocery/general store with the gentleman who farms the adjacent property.

He noted that it was formally known as E. W. Johnson’s Store, but that he never knew Mr. Johnson. He says his wife, Lucy, ran the store and was well-known in the community.

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Filed under --TALIAFERRO COUNTY GA--, Lineville GA

General Store, Garland

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Filed under --LUMPKIN COUNTY GA--, Garland GA

General Store, Nimblewill

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Filed under --LUMPKIN COUNTY GA--, Nimblewill GA

Auraria, Georgia

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As the Georgia Historical Commission marker notes: Auraria, (Gold), in 1832 the scene of Georgia’s first gold rush, was named by John C. Calhoun, owner of a nearby mine worked by Calhoun slaves. Auraria and Dahlonega were the two real gold towns in the U.S. before 1849. Between 1829 and 1839 about $20,000,000 in gold was mined in Georgia’s Cherokee country. From Auraria in 1858 the “Russel boys”, led by Green Russell, went west and established another Auraria near the mouth of Cherry Creek that later became Denver Colo. Green Russell uncovered a fabulous lode called Russell Gulch near which was built Central City, Colo., “richest square mile on earth.”

As to the Calhoun Mine, it was indeed owned by the John C. Calhoun, seventh Vice President of the United States.

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Filed under --LUMPKIN COUNTY GA--, Auraria GA

Woody’s Store, Auraria

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The iconic Woody’s Store, closed since the 1980s, is one of the most photographed landmarks in North Georgia. Please do not park in the driveways of the property, however, as a private residence shares the property.

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Filed under --LUMPKIN COUNTY GA--, Auraria GA