Photographing the Charming Southern Architecture of Dawson, Georgia

A four column antebellum southern mansion viewed between two trees in a front yard and a walk leading to the h ouse.

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!

A four columned southern mansion stands majestically beneath a blue sky and surrounded by a white picket fence

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.

A southern mansion surrounded by scaffolding undergoes renovation in Dawson, Georgia

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.

A victorian style southern home in Dawson, Georgia

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.

A southern mansion undergoes renovation in Dawson, Georgia.

An abandoned southern home falls into disrepair.

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.

The charming downtown southern architecture of Dawson, Georgia

Towers and spires of red brick make the charm of Terrell County Courthouse in the small town of Dawson, Georgia.

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.

A corner view of First Baptist Church of Dawson, Georgia  highlighting the red brick of the church and tower

The First Baptist Church of Dawson, Georgia with red brick construction and arch shaped windows backlit by the sun.

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.

Orange red brick of the Methodist Church tower against a blue sky

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.

The historic and beautiful architecture of charming downtown Dawson, Georgia.

A street view of downtown Dawson, Georgia showing the beautiful architecture and red brick of century old buildings.

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

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  1. It’s good of you to go in search of the house of your friend’s childhood memories. I hope the next visit, you’re able to get some pictures of it for her. Thank you for sharing the pics of the architecture there. It’s fascinating to me how much things have evolved from then to now. Of course, I don’t think any new construction is built to sustain the elements like the older homes.
    I read somewhere a few years ago, when I was studying architecture, that the bricks in cities matched because they used brick from local brickyards. Which in turn led to towns having their own hues of brick. I cannot remember where I read it, but I found it interesting. So now communities that are trying to maintain the earlier appearance try to match the brick coloring when restoring the downtown areas.

    1. Thank you Renda and thanks so much for your comment. I had never heard that about the bricks before. Isn’t it amazing what you learn about things once you start studying them? Now I’ll be paying more attention to the different colors of brick when I visit these towns!

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