Tag Archives: North Georgia Pottery

Stevens Pottery Ruins, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee made these photographs of the abandoned Stevens Pottery mill in August 1990. The rural community was named for the industry that was the largest employer in Baldwin County in the years following the Civil War.

Bill Boyd wrote in the 13 August 1992 edition of the Macon Telegraph: Henry Stevens, who grew up near pottery plants in England, worked his way to America aboard a merchant ship, landed a job as a railroad conductor and arrived in Middle Georgia in 1850. An ambitious and enterprising fellow, Stevens bought a sizable tract of timber land in the southwest corner of Baldwin County in 1854, and he discovered  “an extensive and valuable deposit of fire-clay” according to an 1895 book “Memories of Georgia”.

After putting a sawmill into operation in that area, he built kilns and began to produce the first sewerage pipe ever produced in the South. The plant also turned out pottery and stoneware. During the Civil War, Stevens’s plant produced “knives, shoepegs and Joe Brown pipes” for the confederacy according to the history book. And, because of that General William T. Sherman burned the plant to the ground in 1864. Stevens rebuilt the plant after the war and sold it to his sons in 1876. By the turn of the century, the Stevens plant employed some 300 people and produced only brick.

The late T. L. Wood recalled in a 1984 interview with the Associated Press that Stevens Pottery acquired a reputation as a rough-and-tumble town where shootings and stabbings were commonplace at night and on weekends. “My mother wouldn’t let me go down there when I was a kid.” he said. But when he grew up, Wood, like many residents of Stevens Pottery and Coopers worked there for at least a while, and he remembered the plant as a “dirty, dusty, crude-looking place, (where) the work was hard- hauling brick in wheelbarrows and things like that.” Wood escaped the hard labor in the plant by operating a general store; and getting the town’s post office located in his store. But others stayed with the hard work and long hours, and as late as the 1950s, a person could work all of the overtime he or she wanted as the plant turned out brick for the booming sugar refineries in Cuba.

 

3 Comments

Filed under --BALDWIN COUNTY GA--, Stevens Pottery GA

Sims Pottery Mural, Gillsville

gillsville-ga-sims-pottery-sign-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

No longer at this location, Sims Pottery has been in business in Gillsville since 1982. They began making handmade white pottery but are no longer involved in production. They now do wholesale distribution of products from around the world. As to the history of the building, Pam Perry writes: This building was once my grandfather’s general store. DC House and Son was purchased from the Meaders brothers in the early 1940’s as a store and warehouse. My uncle Bob House was the co-owner. I have memories of helping him there as a child. After grandfathers death mid-1960’s uncle Reo Frankum purchased and ran for several years. Note, Meaders brothers lived in Maysville, GA.

Gillsville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

1 Comment

Filed under --HALL COUNTY GA--, Gillsville GA

Gillsville, Georgia

gillsville-ga-historic-storefronts-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

Gillsville is located in Hall and Banks counties but the section I photographed is all in Hall. These historic storefronts are what remain of the commercial core of the town. The two-story building, that for a time houses Hall’s Pottery, may have originally been a general store or Masonic lodge.

Gillsville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

1 Comment

Filed under --HALL COUNTY GA--, Gillsville GA

Potter Allen Gee, Junction City

allan-gee-1-rolling-clay-for-pottery-making-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

Bulloch County native Allen Gee now lives and works in Meriwether County at the former home/studio of the late D. X. Gordy, one of several Gordy family members well-known for their pottery skills.  Gee’s traditional high-fired stoneware has earned him quite a following of his own and he works with a motorized washtub and electric wheel at festivals throughout the South to share the process with others. He says, “I mix the stoneware clay from a traditional recipe. After the clay is properly prepared, bowls, pitchers and mugs are turned on a pottery wheel. The glazes are made from local minerals including ground glass, hardwood ashes, and a gneiss-hornblende stone. These minerals are pulverized and milled to produce a fine powder that is mixed with clay ad water then applied to a bisque-fired pot.”

allan-gee-shaping-clay-for-pottery-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

He also notes, “The stoneware is fired in a wood-burning kiln or gas kiln where it reaches temperatures hot enough to melt the homemade mix into a permanent glaze. Hot embers and flames enhance the clay and glazes causing glaze runs, pooling, and fire flashing marks on the clay.”

allan-gee-readying-clay-for-pottery-kiln-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

I have one of Allen Gee’s pieces and the quality is great. He creates a variety of one-of-a-kind pitchers, bowls, plates, pots and even face jugs.  If you’re interested in purchasing something, you can contact him at 23825 Roosevelt Highway, Greenville, Georgia 30222. (770) 927-0394. He can also be reached via email at geepottery@gmail.com

allen-gee-pottery-junction-city-ga-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2017

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

Leave a comment

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