Forgotten Georgia

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A recent trip to explore rural Georgia proved to be more successful than I had originally imagined. Time constraints and an itinerary that was overly-ambitious prevented us from stopping at the 783 (approximation) abandoned structures that we passed along the way. Our path led us up through the Florida panhandle and just before we crossed the border into Georgia, this little gem popped up along the roadside:

georgia_new12Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church- Out of use since the 1960s

Traveling through the rural Georgia landscape was a lesson in the rich and lengthy history of this region of the state. As we drove past Civil War site markers, it was easy to envision the surrounding fields as the one time set for battle. The nearer we got to Valdosta, the more varied the backdrop became. Farming towns turned into milling towns which turned into cotton fields. Just north of Valdosta was one of my main points of interest: Irwin County. From preliminary research, I had a feeling that I would find a lot worth photographing. Luckily, I was right.

georgia_new11Abandoned tobacco barns, like this one, spot the countryside

georgia_new10Irwin County Cotton Field

Irwin is a sleepy rural county in Central Georgia, populated mostly by cattle, cotton and tobacco farmers. This area was ceded by the state of Georgia from the Creek Indians in 1814 and was later home to many Civil War soldiers whose descendants probably still reside in the area. Local historians will attest to the capture of President Jefferson Davis in the small town of Irwinville. The guesthouse in the town center (which still stands today) is reportedly where the Confederate President rested his head before Union troops captured him for transport to Virginia where he was indicted for treason.

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Forgotten Country Road Farmhouse- Irwin County, GA. Out of use since the 1980’s

georgia_new9 Expired tag in Irwin, GA

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The window from the kitchen of this abandoned 19th century farmhouse glanced over the properties cotton fields

The counties which surround Irwin are no less impressive with more forgotten cars, churches and homes than I have previously encountered. Nearby Ben Hill County has long relied on cotton crops and this is no different today. Although it seems that whoever maintains and/or owns these crops must live somewhere else.

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VW graveyard- Ben Hill County, GA

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Worse for the wear

georgia_new3Forgotten farmhouse on a cotton field- Ben Hill County, GA

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Lost keys- Youngs Chapel– Ben Hill County, GA

Traveling through this part of Georgia was like a visit to an unscripted museum. The rural history of this region holds proudly to its place in modern day Georgia. Which, if I had to guess, doesn’t look much different than it did 150 years ago. And that’s a good thing.

 

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