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Decatur County, Georgia

AMSTERDAM, GEORGIA

AMSTERDAM, GEORGIA

Location: Decatur County, Georgia. Near Amsterdam on US 27/Georgia 1, Southeast of Bainbridge
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: May 11, 1987
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, Decatur County Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society, 1986.

SIDE 1:
In 1891, A. Cohn & Company purchased 14,000 acres for tobacco cultivation and named it Amsterdam. At that time, the property was the largest tobacco plantation in the world, under one ownership. In 1907, seven of the larger growers and packers in the area merged to form the American Sumatra Tobacco Company, with a division in Amsterdam. This was a company town with offices, railroad, commissaries, post office, packing houses and employee houses. At its peak, the town boasted a population of 450. The Imperial Tobacco Company bought the American Sumatra Tobacco Company in 1955 and operated it until 1965 when they discontinued growing tobacco. In 1967 the land was sold to the Coastal Lumber Company.

SIDE 2:
SHADE GROWN TOBACCO
Cigar wrapper tobacco was grown only in a small area of Georgia, Florida and the Connecticut River Valley from the 1840s to 1975. During the 1890s, wooden arbors began to be used to make the leaves lighter and thinner. Later, cheese cloth tents were used to filter sunlight and keep insects out. After World War II, production was mechanized, but the cultivation of tobacco still remained on of the most labor intensive crops grow. With the extension of wage and hour to farm labor, costs rose to $7,000 per acre making the growing of tobacco economically prohibitive.

ATTAPULGUS HIGH SCHOOL

ATTAPULGUS HIGH SCHOOL

Marker Dedication or Erection Date: January 1, 2005
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission Alumni of Attapulgus School and the Decatur County Historical Society, 2005.

SIDE 1:
A male academy was established in Attapulgus in 1836 and a female academy in 1852. A four-room frame building was built on the site after establishment of public education in Georgia in 1872. In 1921 Mariola School joined Attapulgus and a frame stucco building of eight rooms was built. It burned in 1922. In 1925 Amsterdam School merged with Attapulgus and an eight room brick building was built. In 1933 the locals provided materials and the WPA provided labor to build THE SHELL, a gymnasium. Later an AG building, classrooms and a lunch room were added.
 

SIDE 2:
ATTAPULGUS HIGH SCHOOL
With county consolidation, the High School was moved to Bainbridge in 1966 and the elementary grades in 1971. In 1972 a tornado badly damaged the main building and destroyed the gymnasium and AG building. The County Board declared the property surplus and sold it to Attapulgus Baptist Church in 1973. With dedicated teachers, an excellent curriculumwas taught. When the Attapulgus School closed, all teachers held masters degrees or better. Many of the schools graduates went on to higher education, performing as well or better than those from larger schools.

BAINBRIDGE ARMY AIR FIELD

BAINBRIDGE ARMY AIR FIELD

Location: U. S. Highway 27 North, 8 miles from Bainbridge, Georgia, at the Bainbridge Industrial Park.
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 1980
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society, 1980.

In August, 1942, on this 2,053 acre tract, the U. S. Army constructed a basic flight training field. It remained open until 1945. At its peak 9,600 men, trainees and WACS were stationed here; there were 700 civilian employees. Several hundred WW II German P. O. W.s were imprisoned here in 1951. Southern Airways School, a private company, contracted with the U. S. A. F. to train its pilots. The base closed in 1961 and became industrial park.

BATTLE OF 1702

BATTLE OF 1702

Location: GA 97, just south of GA 311 intersection at Bainbridge
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: May 11, 1987
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and The City of Bainbridge, 1985.

In this vicinity was fought the Flint Battle of 1702 between the English under Captain Antonio with Creek allies from Achito (near Columbus) and the Spaniards under Captain Francisco Romo Uriz with 800 Indians from Bacuqua (north of Tallahassee). In a battle at daybreak the English defeated the Spaniards, killing or capturing 600. This battle was a prelude to Queen Annes War and first blow for control for the Mississippi valley by the English. It ended the advance of the Spaniards up the Chattahoochee and Flint valleys and Frances ambition in Alabama.

BRINSON

BRINSON

Location: Georgia Highway 310, just north of US 84 in Brinson, Georgia. (In Cemetery) West of Bainbridge.
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: May 11, 1987
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Commission, 1986.

SIDE 1:
First settled in the 1850s present day Brinson was originally known as Spring Creek. The name was changed in 1889 when the town was laid out and established by Simeon Brinson. In that same year the Alabama Midland Railroad completed a line through the town. Brinson soon became a shipping point for agricultural products, lumber and naval stores which were the major industries in the area. By an act of the Georgia General Assembly on August 22, 1907, the village was incorporated at the Town of Brinson. Brinson began to decline because of the closing of sawmill operations between 1910-1920.

SIDE 2:
SIMEON BRINSON 1847-1918
The town of Brinson was named in honor of Simeon Brinson, a prominent farmer and businessman. Brinson, a native of Dougherty County, saw action during the War Between the Sates as a private in Company E, Fifth Georgia Cavalry. After the war he moved to Decatur County. Brinson served as the first postmaster of the Spring Creek Post Office which was established in 1874. He was still postmaster when the name of the post office was changed to Brinson on August 24, 1889. Brinson served as mayor of the town in 1907 and 1913-1914 and two terms (1909-1912) in the Georgia General Assembly. He is interred in the Brinson Cemetery.

CAMP RECOVERY

CAMP RECOVERY

Location: Booster Club Road,West of Georgia Highway 310, 3 miles north of Georgia Highway 97
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 1995
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and Decatur Historical Society, 1995.

The medical camp was established on September 15, 1820 by the Southeastern Army of the United States headquartered at Fort Scott. It was used as a recuperation area for soldiers who had contracted malaria and dysentery in the swampy environs of the fort. Soldiers considered the fort to be the deadliest military assignment in the country because of numerous illnesses and deaths there. The camp was located on a high ridge three miles southeast of Fort Scott. A 34-pound cannon marks the site of the camp and the nearby cemetery for the soldiers who perished here.

CHARLES JAMES MUNNERLYN

CHARLES JAMES MUNNERLYN

Location: South of Bainbridge, Georgia on Georgia Highway 97.
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: May 11, 1987
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, 1985.

SIDE 1:
As a delegate to the Georgia Convention at Milledgeville, he voted for secession. After the start of the Civil War, he volunteered as a private. When his health failed he returned home and was elected to the Confederate Congress where he served from 1862-1864. His re-election bid was defeated because he voted for the Conscript Law. He then re-entered the Confederate army as a private but was soon promoted to major through the influence of Jefferson Davis. When surrender came he was a lieutenant colonel.

SIDE 2:
REFUGE
Charles James Munnerlyn lived in an elegant residence called Refuge. This beautiful house boasted an extensive library and an organ. The pipe organ was installed for the pleasure of Munnerlyns wife, Harriet Eugenia Shackelford Munnerlyn. The family cemetery is situated near this marker. It is located about 800 feet north of the site of Refuge. The house burned in 1883. The Munnerlyn plantation contained over 3,000 acres and had a landing on the Flint River. It was worked by over 200 slaves.

CLIMAX, GEORGIA

CLIMAX, GEORGIA

Location: Located at Climax, Georgia on Georgia Highway 262, just North of US Highway 84
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: May 11, 1987
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, The City of Climax and the Decatur County Commission, 1986

Climax is the highest point on the railroad between Savannah, Georgia, and the Chattahoochee River. The town was laid out and named in 1883 after a branch rail line was built to Chattahoochee, Florida. Later, a second branch line was built to Amsterdam, Georgia. The town served as a rail junction and an agricultural community for many years, but was not incorporated until August 11, 1905. It flourished, with businesses, churches, a school, hotels, and services needed to sustain the community. With the coming of paved highways and the cutback of rail services, the towns economic strength declined.

CYRENE INSTITUTE

CYRENE INSTITUTE


Location: Located 1.6 miles south of Cyrene, Georgia
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: May 11, 1987
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, 1986.

SIDE 1:
This school was founded in 1909 by C. S. Hodges and W. G. Powell, at the Village of Cyrene, to provide preparatory education for boys. Later that year the curricula was expanded to provide co-educational teaching and the facilities were enlarged to accommodate boarding students. At that time the school was deeded to the Bowen Baptist Association. Cyrene Institute offered primary and secondary education with some college preparatory courses. The school facilities included a girls and boys dormitory, dining hall and general administration building. Accommodations were available for approximately 100 students. After only a few years in operation the school closed about 1916.

SIDE 2:
CYRENE
Approximately 1.6 miles north of this location is the village of Cyrene. Founded about 1890 by C. S. Hodges and W. G. Powell, Cyrene was typical of the many mill towns established along the railroad to utilize the vast forests of Southern Pine. Naval stores and lumber were the primary products taken from these forests. At one time, the village had a post office, sawmill, turpentine still, cotton gin, commissaries and about 500 inhabitants. After the loss of the Hodges Sawmill to fire in 1927 and the lean Depression years that followed, the naval stores industry began to decline. Today only a few people live in the town of Cyrene.

FIRST FLINT RIVER BAPTIST NORMAL INSTITUTE/UNION NORMAL SCHOOL

FIRST FLINT RIVER BAPTIST NORMAL INSTITUTE/UNION NORMAL SCHOOL

Location: 1201 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Bainbridge, Georgia
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 2008
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and Decatur County Historical Society 2008

SIDE 1:
FIRST FLINT RIVER BAPTIST NORMAL INSTITUTE
In 1876, the First Flint River Missionary Baptist Association was formed to help "lift the veil of ignorance from its people" using land purchased in 1896 and 1915. The Association established First Flint River Baptist Normal Institute in 1918 with the Reverend H.F. Taylor as its head. The work of the school was entrusted to the care of Reverend James Graves, Mrs. L. Jackson and Mrs. Josie King Williams. This facility gave black children an opportunity for an education beyond the elementary schooling provided by Decatur County. Children from the county lived with Bainbridge area families until a dormitory could be built.

SIDE 2:
UNION NORMAL SCHOOL
In 1927, Professor H.S. Dixon, Mrs. Marie H. Dixon and Mrs. Aurie Bell Flowers assumed duties at what was now Union Normal High School. After school closure on 31 May 1952, the Decatur County Board of Education bought the property on 13 November 1954 for $8,000. Mr. Dixon was paid with a 100 x 300 ft. lot on the east. In January 1955, the proceeds were divided equally among Association member churches and a Scholarship Aid Program was established a few months later. With forty years of success, it was reorganized and chartered as First Flint River Missionary Baptist Association Scholarship Foundation, Inc. in 1990.

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Location: At the Church, 300 West Shotwell Street, Bainbridge, Georgia.
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 1980
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society, 1980.

Founded in 1823, title to this property was conveyed to the church in 1830 by the Inferior Court, Bainbridge. An initial building was erected about 1840 and was also used during the 1850s for services by Baptists and Presbyterians. In 1854 an enlarged wooden structure was completed and served the congregation until 1899, when a brick facility was fabricated. Fire destroyed the church in 1906, but the building was replaced by the present structure and hosted the 1911 South Georgia Annual Conference.

GRAGG LUMBER COMPANY

GRAGG LUMBER COMPANY

Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 2007
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society 2007

SIDE 1:
GRAGG LUMBER COMPANY
In 1926, brothers John, Ear, Wayne, and Gilbert Gragg came from North Carolina to establish a sawmill six tenths of a mile north of here on the east side of Amsterdam Road. As the Gragg Lumber Co., they leased cutting rights on 16,000 acres owned by American Sumatra Tobacco Co. They harvested timber with portable sawmills and hauled lumber to their dry kiln and plane mill for five years. They built their "dream mill", incorporating modern band saws, in 1930. Their company became one of the largest hardwood lumber producers in the State of Georgia, employing about 200 people at peak production. The timber depleted, the mill closed in 1944.

SIDE 2:
GRAGG LUMBER COMPANY
From Virginia in the north, stretching south to Texas and bounded by the Piedmont and by mountians to the west, there was once a carpet of Green Gold. This fabulous carpet was long-leaf and slash pine, including oaks here. It attracted sawmill and turpentine industries to Decatur County. These industries yielded economic stability in this region during the frist half of the twentieth century. The longleaf pine once covered 130 million acres. Its area is now reduced to about 3 million acres. The cathedral like beauty of longleaf stands and wide use of the gave it the crown of "one of the greatest trees ever known."

HUTTO SCHOOL

HUTTO SCHOOL

Location: In front of the Hutto Middle School on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Bainbridge, Georgia
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: March 18, 2004
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society, 2004.

SIDE 1:
HUTTO SCHOOL
The first school for former slaves in this county was established in 1869 and was known as the Whittier School and Tabernacle for Colored Children. It was on Shotwell Street and had grades 1-7. The name soon changed to Whittier Normal School since graduates were permitted to take state teacher's exams. In 1895 George Hutto became Principal. The following year, after the Plessy v Ferguson "separate but equal' court decision the Shotwell Street building was torn down and Mr. Hutto was authorized to erect a new school at this site. At that time the name was changed to Bainbridge Colored Grade School. Mr. Hutto served as principal until his death in 1922.

SIDE 2:
HUTTO SCHOOL
The school was re-named in honor of Mr. Hutto and his widow Addie became principal. By her efforts a matching grant from the Rosenwald Fund was obtained to build a high school on the site. Grade 11 was added in 1928. Accreditation came in 1929 with the name Hutto High School. After 52 years of service Addie Hutto retired in 1942 and William Mann succeeded her. Grade 12 was added in 1953. Hutto High graduated its last class in 1970. Later that year Hutto High combined with Bainbridge High and this facility became Hutto Junior High. In 1990 it became Hutto Middle School.

IRA SANBORN

IRA SANBORN

Location: Faceville, Georgia. Along Georgia Highway 97-Grounds of the Masonic Lodge.
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: April 12, 2001
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society, 2001.

Decatur Countys first industrialist was Ira Sanborn, a native of Concord, New Hampshire. Born in 1799, Sanborn came to Apalachicola, Florida about 1830 and later resettled in Quincy, Florida where he married Susan Woodson. In 1833 they moved to Decatur County and settled on Attapulgus Creek. Using waterpower he operated a gristmill, sawmill, tanning, cigar and shoe factories. In 1856 he opened Estahatchee Mills which made a cotton and wool fabric called kersey. Sanborn died on a business trip to Boston in 1865 and was buried in Concord. The Estahatchee Mills buildings were razed in 1870. Today only the mill races and the outline of the pond levee remain.

STEAMBOATS

STEAMBOATS

Location: Bainbridge, Georgia. Off Water Street in Cheney Griffin Park about 40 yards from the water.
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: July 18, 2002
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society, 2002

SIDE 1:
In 1827 the Fanny was the first of more than 220 steamboats to visit Bainbridge and ply the waters of the Apalachicola Chattahoochee-Flint river system. These boats docked at the city's landings below the high bluff on the Flint River. Boatyards on both sides of the river built craft for individuals and the U. S. Government. Several steamboat lines operated here including the Oak City Navigation Co. (later known as the Bainbridge Navigation Co.),which was organized in 1901 and the Callahan Line, which was formed in 1906. The last working steamboat on the Flint River was the Elberta, which went out of service in the late 1930's.

SIDE 2:
STEAMBOATS
Between Columbus, Georgia and Apalachicola, Florida many steamboat landings dotted the riverbanks. Smaller boats navigated Spring Creek, the Chipola River and the Flint River to Newton and Albany. In addition to passengers, the boats hauled cotton, rosin, turpentine, fertilizer, lumber, oysters, catfish, honey, bricks and shingles. The river system was one of the most dangerous in the United States and many boats met misfortune by hitting rocks, snags and ferry cables. Other boats ran aground on sandbars or sank due to boiler explosions. It is said that there are more sunken boats per mile on this river system than any other system in the country.

THE VILLAGE, THE PITS, AND THE DUMPS

THE VILLAGE, THE PITS, AND THE DUMPS

Location: 3 1/2 miles southwest of Attapulgus on US Highway 27, in the old Amsterdam Community
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: January 1, 2012
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and Decatur Co. Historical & Genealogical Society, 2012

SIDE 1:
THE VILLAGE, THE PITS, AND THE DUMPS
"The village," located one mile south, was a community for workers of the Attapulgus Clay Co. featuring 20 houses, a telephone, and a company store. It stood from 1930-1955. Those who lived there worked 12 hrs. daily mining a type of fuller's earth called Attapulgite, occurring only in this area. The site had an electric dragline, the largest in the U.S. in 1933, and a 3,000 sq. ft. control house. A 9 cubic yd. bucket removed the 100 ft. overburden. Small steam engines dug and loaded ore into cars on a narrow gauge railroad which moved it to the plant in Attapulgus, Georgia.

SIDE 2:
THE VILLAGE, THE PITS, AND THE DUMPS
The rail engine made a quaint musical sound. "The dumps," overburden piles as high as 100 ft. stood sentinel over the excavations, rambling open "pits," 150 ft. wide and 100 ft. deep, and 2 1/2 miles long. Sadly, in 1955, all houses were removed to access the last profitable vein of valuable clay in this area, and mining was moved on to other locations. Fuller's earth has been used for ages to filter impurities from oil and in fulling, a process to remove oil in wood.

VILLAGE OF FOWLTOWN

VILLAGE OF FOWLTOWN

Location: Decatur County, Georgia. Green Shade Road, Highway 309 in Fowlstown, Georgia
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 1994
Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, Decatur County Historical Society and Friends, 1994 

In this vicinity stood the Seminole village of Fowltown, scene of battle, November 21, 1817, which marked the beginning of the First Seminole Indian War. The engagement resulted when Major Twiggs with 250 soldiers from Fort Scott attempted to arrest its warriors for depredations against the white frontier. A second conflict occurred at the village and nearby swamp November 23, 1817, U.S. Soldiers being led by Lt. Col. Arbuckle. On January 4, 1818, the village was found deserted and destroyed.

WORLD WAR II HANGAR—BAINBRIDGE ARMY AIRFIELD

WORLD WAR II HANGAR—BAINBRIDGE ARMY AIRFIELD

Location: Located at Decatur County Industrial Air Park, 615 6th Ramp, Bainbridge, GA
Marker Dedication or Erection Date: 2014

Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, Decatur County Commission and Mr. Alec Poitevint

This hangar was constructed during WWII as part of Bainbridge Army Airfield. The facility occupied an area that had once been part of the small community of Lynn Station. During the war the Army Air Corps conducted pilot training at the Airfield, primarily utilizing the Vultee BT-13 “Valiant” aircraft. The U.S. Air Force reactivated the base during the Korean War (1950-53) as Bainbridge Air Base. It was closed and placed in civilian control in 1961. The hangar is one of very few from the WWII era to still be used for aircraft storage.