Vanishing South Georgia

On December 20, 2008 · 2 Comments

Recently I found myself pondering maps of the Savannah River south of Augusta, wandering among the oxbow lakes perched amid the GeorgiaSouth Carolina border. Don’t bother asking why. By now you surely know that’s this is what passes for “fun” here on the Twelve Mile Circle. A strange object arose as I consulted each map, a feature so strikingly different from surrounding terrain that it practically jumped from the screen to demand my attention. A giant fossilized trilobite in southern Georgia?



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I’ll save you a lot of time by letting you know that this is Mobley Swamp in the northeast corner of Screven County. I had to consulted a USGS topographic map to finally figure that out since none of my typical sources bothered to label it. The leaf-veined design as well as the satellite photos seem to confirm that the swamp has been drained for agricultural purposes. That would explain the unusual configuration I saw from above.

"Big Deal," you scoff, and I don’t blame you. A drained swamp hardly rises to the level of what should be covered in the Twelve Mile Circle[1] so why bother discussing it? However, it’s not the swamp that’s exciting here, but the interesting tangent my curiosity took me. I dropped the name of a nearby track through a search engine to try to identify the feature. That lead me to an odd suggestion for "Car Graveyard, Mobley Pond Road." Car graveyard? Now we’re talkin’. I love that kind of stuff. That looked promising, and indeed it was, for it delivered me to a website I’d never seen before:

Vanishing South Georgia

I’ve spent a lot of time wandering and enjoying this blog the last few days. As the author, Brian Brown, explains in his introduction,

Each day, modernization threatens the very fabric of life that has persisted in South Georgia for the better part of two centuries. Tobacco barns, country stores and farmhouses are disappearing at an alarming rate. As there is no real effort to preserve these structures and the culture they represent, especially by government agencies, I feel the only way to make them relevant is to share these photographs.

.. and that’s exactly what he does. There are pages upon pages of photographs from all over South Georgia, neatly sorted, stacked and categorized. If you have an interest in shotgun shacks, BBQ joints, vintage signs, or roadside curiosities, you won’t be able to control yourself here. You’ll always feel compelled to view just "one more."

It’s also an easy read — there’s no text other than the photo tags so your mind can freely from one topic to another. If I had one small suggestion, bringing out my geo-weirdness tendencies, I sure would enjoy seeing longitude/latitude coordinates with each page. It would be a bonus to be able to enjoy them them vicariously through maps or perhaps see them for real someday before they’re gone.



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I spent way too much time searching virtually for that Car Graveyard on Mobley Pond Road and I never did find an image on Street View, darn it, but I still uncovered a lot of greatness here. It reminded me of the many roads I’ve traveled in rural Virginia except at Mobely Pond they’ve stripped every pretext of gravel. It’s pure dirt. The hot southern sun baked viciously into a fine, dry powder. I can almost taste the grit from billowing clouds kicked-up by the rooster tail of each passing car. How did the Street View car find itself so far off the beaten path?



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I also like poking around abandoned buildings too, and Vanishing South Georgia has them in abundance including a whole section just on Tar Paper Shacks! I was able to find one of the featured sites, outside of the town of Ocilla in Irwin County (above) after some diligent searching, but I think you’ll enjoy Mr. Brown’s photo better.



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I was curious about whether I could find the exact locations of additional sites and I succeeded with one other, the Red Chimneys Inn in Irwinville, also located in Irwin County. I couldn’t find any other information about this circa 1850’s inn, which one again demonstrates the value of this website’s mission to record a vanishing culture.

Vanishing South Georgia hits on so many of the things I enjoy, and with great artistry. Definitely check it out!


[1]umm… actually it does, but it has to be a very special drained swamp.

On December 20, 2008 · 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Vanishing South Georgia”

  1. Margaret Puente says:

    This is a wonderful article. I particularly enjoyed the 360 panoramas.

Comments are closed.

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