Sharing a few more pictures from our southwest Georgia trip … the next couple of pics are of the Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge outside Blakely, Ga. It’s only one of about a dozen remaining covered bridges in the state of Georgia and the claim to fame for this particular “kissing” bridge is that it is not only the southernmost covered bridge in Georgia but also in the United States.
You may be wondering ‘Why make covered bridges?’ The reasons I have seen are …
- They provided temporary shelter from the sun and storms
- The covering protected the wooden bridge itself
- It kept the horses from getting skittish as they crossed the bridge … sometimes seeing the running water below makes them nervous
The four biggest threats to covered bridges (and many a mill as well) in Georgia:
- Sherman’s March to the Sea
As we later drove into the town of Blakely and around the typical courthouse square in small Georgia towns, we encountered this mural …
Murals on old building walls in small town Georgia has become very popular. They are even used to draw tourist. In Colquitt they have 13 murals city-wide and in the little town of Lakeland they claim to have 35 murals. Even close to home, Jefferson has two murals; one commemorating the first administration of anesthesia by native son Crawford Long in 1842.
Blakely has an interesting claim to fame on its square …
They have the last standing Confederate flag pole erected during the Civil War … yes, I am a sucker for roadside attractions and oddities. But imagine my surprise when I got home and found out I only took a picture of the marker … not the flag pole itself.
We had also planned to stop in Thomaston, Ga but time ran out. On their square they have a Civil War monument with a cannonball as its focus … their claim … it was the first cannonball fired at Fort Sumter to start the Civil War.
Without a doubt my most unforgettable tourist trap stop ever was in Arkansas returning from Texas … we stopped at a roadside attraction called ‘Booger Hollow … population 7 including one coon dog’. My kids don’t remember much about that trip … but they all remember Booger Hollow.
One more picture …
We spend so much time being in a hurry to get to our destinations. We travel on interstates. And even when we do travel back roads virtually every little town has a bypass (primarily so the trucks can avoid the square). But this trip we didn’t do that … we traveled the back roads and went through the midst of every little town we encountered. Above is the courthouse on the square in Blakely.
Some common yet very unique things we noticed as we traveled through the small towns of southwest Georgia…
- Beautiful courthouses and courthouse squares
- A few even had beautiful small town main streets (think It’s a Wonderful Life).
- Railroads were critical to the existence of small towns
- The courthouse square tended to be the center of government, community and commerce
- Primary industries: farming, livestock, peanuts, pecans, peaches, lumber (On a more modern note … we passed the Blue Bird school bus factory in Fort Valley … acres and acres of yellow buses ready to be delivered to school districts)
- A wide variety of churches … but they tended to be more off the squares and out in the communities/countrysides
- Historic homes … some towns more so than others
- And don’t forget cemeteries
- Poverty is rampant … in many towns you get a good understanding of the saying ‘living on the wrong side of the tracks’
- And finally … Dollar General is spreading far more faster than Wal-Mart
Beautiful, enjoyable, historical, educational … enjoyed this trip!