A warm January Saturday in south Georgia, and a far cry from the freezing weather of my beach trip to Carrabelle, Florida a couple weeks ago, I drove north to visit the charming town of Dawson, Georgia. A friend of mine once spent summers there at her grandmother’s house. Her grandmother passed away in 1997 and my friend said she would love to see the house once more but, now living in the northeastern United States, it’s unlikely she will ever visit again so I offered to do a recon mission to locate the house and photograph it for her. It’s a large old southern house with a screened-in front porch and a large “witch’s cauldron” looking pot hanging from trees out front. It couldn’t be that hard right? Uuuuuuh…..yeah, it could.
Arriving in Dawson and turning downtown toward the historic district the red brick of old store fronts was lovely but I quickly realized the enormity of my search. Before I tell that story let me say this. I decided to find lunch first. If you find yourself hungry in Dawson, Georgia let me recommend Carter’s Fried Chicken at 288 N Main St, Dawson, GA 39842. The place is a simple concrete building with a porch but every time I passed by during the day they were always busy with at least a couple of cars in the drive-through. The prices were typical for a carry out chicken dinner and the fried chicken is good and fresh from the frying pan. And the hot sauce? It’s not kidding. I don’t usually eat hot sauce on my chicken but at Carter’s it comes with the meal and I dipped every morsel into the small cup. Delish!
Driving through downtown I began to search for the type of houses my friend described and found one that matched what I envisioned and another and another. Honestly, I way over estimated what type of house I was looking for to begin with but Holy cow! Practically the entire east side of Dawson is filled with old style southern mansions for Pete’s sake! I parked near the courthouse and set out on foot exploring Church Street and enjoying the day amazed by the houses and buildings.
Some of the houses on Church Street appeared as though they were five thousand square feet or more! Huge! It was like all of the antebellum southern mansions of Georgia retired and moved to Dawson.
Some were more “normal” size like only maybe three thousand square feet. Whew! Glad I don’t have to clean it and never mind the heating and cooling. Wow! Houses like this are so charming and beautiful though. It was a pleasure to see some of them undergoing restorations.
I was surprised what good shape most of the houses appeared to be in and many were occupied, while others were empty, falling into disrepair and still others were undergoing renovation. Just amazing, beautiful and a most pleasant surprise to see so many beautiful houses there and I think surely every style of 1800’s southern architecture must be represented and not only in the houses. The local churches and the courthouse left me in awe as well. They have a beauty and charm that modern buildings can only try to replicate.
In passing through Dawson, Georgia over the years I never turned off the main highway and only passed by though the clock tower of a brick building downtown always caught my attention and I swore to stop to check it out one day. I was not disappointed. It turns out that clock tower is part of a beautiful building that is the Terrell County Courthouse which I think was built around 1907.
Constructed in 1891 the tower, red brick and arched windows of First Baptist Church make it one of the most beautiful buildings in Dawson, Georgia. I bet it’s just as beautiful on the inside. It’s on Church Street and across from some beautiful old southern homes.
The Methodist Church is also a pretty building and the tower held my attention with it’s lines and textures leading up into a beautiful blue sky. I would have liked a full view of the church but there were too many power lines which I try to keep out of the picture if I can, not always possible but I try, so I just photographed the tower.
Ultimately, I was unable to find the house I was searching for but found a treasure trove of southern heritage and beautiful architecture, not to mention good food, as I wandered the Historic District of Dawson, Georgia. My friend has since found an address for the house in question and I’ll make a second visit to Dawson hoping to photograph it. Thanks for reading and check back for the next post or subscribe and receive email notifications when there is a new post!
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Carter’s Fried Chicken Dawson, Georgia