Friday, December 11, 2009


This Sunday, November 1, 1998, marks the 150th anniversary of Laurens Lodge No. 75 of the Free and Associated Masons. Laurens Lodge, the oldest fraternal organization in the county, was chartered on November 1, 1848 during a session of the Grand Lodge of Georgia held in Macon. The number 75 designates that the Lodge was the 75th lodge founded in Georgia.

Freemasonry began nearly twelve hundred years ago in Europe. Any man engaged in the building crafts was known as a mason. The term Freemason was comparable to what we call an architect today. The Freemasons began to organize into a fraternity. There was no central ruler. Members followed the code of the society. Other men became interested in the activities of the freemasons. These men had no particular skill in building and were known as associated Masons. The first Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717. The creeds and doctrines of the Masonic fraternity have always included beliefs in God, family, and country.

While the Masons use secret codes, their existence is anything but secret. The Masons, while seeking to do deeds for the public good, do not seek public acknowledgment of those deeds. The locations of their lodges is not a secret. Their members are known to the public. There is a saying that “Freemasonry is largely invisible.” It cannot be found totally in one place or any one time. It is found within the heart and soul of each individual member. One can not demand membership into the Masons. He must petition the lodge members for their approval to become a Mason.

The Laurens Lodge was temporarily organized on August 17, 1848. The officers of the Lodge were Phillip Ketterer, Worshipful Master; W.R. Steely, Senior Warden; and Jacob Cohen, Junior Warden. One day after the Lodge was chartered,  Charles B. Guyton was elected as Senior Warden Pro Tem. Jacob Cohen remained as Junior Warden. T.N. Guyton was elected Secretary of the Lodge. The first regular election was held in December and the following officers were added: Francis Thomas, Treasurer; Freeman H. Rowe, S.D.; John W. Yopp, J.D.; and John M. Dasher, Tyler. Other charter members of the lodge were William R. Steely, B.H. Horn, James M. Shepherd, Thomas G. Westfall, C.J. Horn, T.G. Hudson, J.M. Hall, J.J. Salmons, J.C. Ray, James A. Thomas, C.L. Holmes, and Edward Sheftall. The Lodge was incorporated on March 5, 1856.

The members of the Lodge were among the elite in the government and business community in Dublin. The first Worshipful Master, Phillip Ketterer, came to America from Alsace, France. He fought in the Black Hawk war in Illinois and was educated as a physician. Dr. Ketterer moved to Appling County, became the first postmaster of Baxley, Georgia and had the honor of naming the town. Charles Brutus Guyton, the second Worshipful Master, served in the state legislature for seven years and a term as postmaster of Dublin. The next Worshipful Master, Freeman H. Rowe, was Dublin’s most prominent merchant. Rowe represented the Bank of Savannah and operated a freight boat on the Oconee River. Rowe served as the first Judge of the Court of Ordinary, now known as the Probate Court. In May of 1865, Judge Rowe invited Confederate President Jefferson Davis to dine in his home on Academy Avenue. The next day Rowe misdirected Union cavalry troops who were in pursuit of Davis and his band. Rowe’s home still stands on the lower end of Rowe Street. The home, Dublin’s oldest, was built about the same time the Lodge was established. Ironically, the home stood near the southwest corner of Academy Avenue and Rowe Street, the current location of Laurens Lodge which was established nearly fifty years ago.

In the mid-1850s, the members of the Lodge constructed their first permanent lodge hall. It was a two-story wooden structure and was located in what today is the front parking lot of the Dublin City Hall. The Lodge allowed the children of Dublin to attend school in their lodge. Eventually the lodge building became the City Hall of Dublin. The building was leased to the city in 1892. It remained on the site for ten years until the city built a school on the site. That school still stands but was remodeled to become the City Hall in 1959. It was moved across Church Street to the site of the Dublin-Laurens Museum. The building was moved again in 1904 to the northeast corner of Roosevelt Street and West Gaines Street, where it was used by J.M. Reinhardt as a residence and furniture storage warehouse. The building was demolished, probably in the 1940s. The columns from the home were kept by John C. Pitts and his sons and used to adorn their car

Rowe was succeeded by William B. Moorman, a Methodist Minister and founder of Boiling Springs Methodist Church. Dr. Jacob T. Linder, the owner of a large plantation on the east side of the Oconee River, followed his neighbor, Rev. Moorman. By the beginning of the Civil War, membership had nearly tripled. As one might expect, the activities of Lodge were limited to routine matters, and no substantial activity took place since the lodge members thoughts were hundreds of miles away. Judge John B. Wolfe, one of Dublin’s most respected and admired citizens of the period, served as Worshipful Master during the difficult years following the Civil War. Wolfe was succeeded by a series of former Confederate soldiers like B.B. Linder, J.T. Chappell, and W.E. Duncan.

During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Rev. Whiteford S. Ramsay, a former Confederate colonel, the pastor of First Baptist Church, and founder of the Dublin and Laurens County school systems, served as Worshipful Master. Rev. Ramsay served for eight years, longer than anyone else in the one hundred fifty-year history of the lodge. During this period, new lodges were being formed in the county. The Reedy Springs Lodge was established in 1885. It was followed by the Dexter Lodge in 1890. Eventually, nearly every small town in Laurens County would have its own lodge. It was also during this period when the members of the lodge voted to build a new lodge above the main floor of the Lanier Building on the northeast corner of South Jefferson Street and East Madison Street. Today the site is occupied by Dublin Appliance Company. As Dublin and Laurens County were beginning to grow, so was the membership of the lodge, which reached one hundred in 1902.

By 1919, the membership totaled two hundred thirty two. Membership peeked in 1927 at two hundred ninety three. Around the turn of the century, the Lodge was led by W.A. Wood, W.W. Bush, J.H. Witherington, E.J. Fuller, Capt. W.C. Davis, Ira S. Chappell, W.B. Rogers, and J.Y. Keen, all influential “movers and shakers” of Dublin and Laurens County.

In 1904, the Lodge agreed to accept an offer by C.W. Brantley to furnish the Lodge with a meeting room on the third floor of his new building on the northwest corner of West Jackson and North Lawrence Streets. The Lodge was located on the front right corner of the building which is today known as the “Lovett and Tharpe Building.” At the time, it was Dublin’s tallest building. Despite the fact that the room hasn’t been used as a lodge hall for many years, the Masonic symbols inlaid in gold still remain in the pressed metal ceiling of the hall. During those years, the lodge consisted of J.J. Flanders, Carl Hilbun, W.W. Ward, W.B. Adkins, J.G. Patton, A.H. Grier, C.C. Crockett, M.A. Chapman, Coke Brown, Farrell Chapman, A.T. Duncan, C.I. Hilburn, C.E. Baggett, W.B. Bryans, George Currell, Brigham White, W.W. Walke, R.L. Webb, D.Z. Lindsey, J.W. Long, W.W. Brinson, J.L. Bracewell, E.E. Hansen, R.L. Powell, and T.C. Garner. More details on the history of the Lodge can be found in a book written by George Currell in 1948 and in the two volumes of Laurens County’s History.

The ancient traditions of Masons are still followed. You don’t see it. There is no need to see the actions of the Masons. Masons have served in professional, business, religious, and military capacities. You only need to know that they are there - working toward the betterment of our community - just as they have for the
last one hundred fifty years.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Anyone over the age of forty remembers the old brick courthouse that stood in the center of downtown. How could they have torn that beautiful building down and replace it with a dull “boxlike” courthouse? For sixty seven years, the old building served the county well. It was the scene of political speeches, concerts, weddings, and meetings which shaped the history of our county - not to mention the adjudication of scores of thousands of lawsuits and criminal trials.

It has always been the nature of counties to build new courthouses. Growth in a community invariably brings about changes. The first courthouse on the downtown square was built about 1812. A more substantial one was built just fourteen years later in 1826. Just twenty two years after that, a two-story building, which lasted for forty seven years, was built by the Justices of the Inferior Court, who managed the business affairs of the county. Near the end of the 1880s, county officials, in an effort to find more space, hired an architect to  make design changes to add more room to the Clerk’s office on the rear and to raise the height of the building. These plans were scrapped in a favor of brand new brick building.In 1895, Laurens County erected a new courthouse, which was designed by the architectural firm of Bruce and Morgan of Atlanta. The building was funded by an additional tax on property owners.

The courthouse bell rang, hailing the aging heroes of the Confederate Army.  It signaled the end of the war to end all wars, World War I. The iron bell, three feet in diameter, had been installed when Laurens County's first brick courthouse was built in 1895. During the gubernatorial campaign of 1934, candidate Claude Pittman was scheduled to speak at the courthouse. The janitor climbed to the clock tower to alert the townspeople. The bell was designed to be rung by pulling a rope attached to a big wheel. The rope grew frayed and worn and would no longer work.

The janitor climbed a ladder and struck the bell, presumably with a hammer or a metal object. As he struck the bell, it cracked upward from the base. County officials knew they would need to acquire a new bell since the crack could not be repaired. The cost of a new bell could run as high as two thousand dollars. They turned to scrap metal dealer P.M. Watson. Watson agreed to sell a slightly smaller bronze bell to the county for one hundred dollars. Despite its smaller size, the new bronze bell's vibrations would carry further than the iron one's. That bell, which probably dated back to the 19th century, came from neighboring Dodge County.  Watson purchased the bell in 1939 after the courthouse fire thinking it might be of further use. Until Howard Edward came along with an idea on how to put the bell up in the tower, the old Dodge County bell sat out in front of the courthouse waiting to be hoisted up to its perch. When the courthouse was torn down in 1963, Dubliner W.W. Walke purchased the bell and donated it to Christ Episcopal Church, where it is still in use today. There were plans to build an elaborate bell tower beside the Church, but they never materialized. For some time the bell was turned upside down and used as a planter. One man in charge of ringing the bell drilled a hole in it so that he could ring the bell from the inside of the Church using a long thin wire attached to the hole. You may have wondered what happened to the old original Laurens County courthouse bell. Remember the year it was removed. Mr. Watson sent the old bell, which had signaled so many important events in our history, to perform one more patriotic duty. The bell was melted down and used in the war against Germany and Japan.

After forty years in the building, it became apparent to the commissioners that it was time to build another courthouse. Plans were made in 1938 to build a columned courthouse building in keeping with the old style of courthouses, but with the modern amenities. This plan was set aside with the country’s entry into World War II. In 1957, the Board of Commissioners again turned to the issue of building a new courthouse. A design was submitted in 1957 which called for a two-story brick, steel, and aluminum building, which very typical of governmental buildings of the late 1950s and 1960s. The design featured an ornamental structure resembled the top of four-sided pyramid turned up-side-down on a wedge-shaped base. The bond issue was turned down by the voters.

A large crowd gathered at the Laurens County Courthouse on September 27, 1960 to hear the testimony of a Macon man. This man had seen a lot of immorality in his business and in society as a whole. There were no lawyers in the courtroom that night - no judge, no jury. Buses were sent around town to bring folks to hear the man's testimony. He came to Dublin to speak about what Jesus meant to him and that he would rather have Jesus than all the fame of being a movie star or rock and roll singer. As the man rose to speak, the crowd must have gone into a frenzy. The man was not in his usual attire or putting on his public personality. He was Richard Penniman, Christian. You know him by his other name, "Little Richard." There were a lot of amens that night, but alas, no "Tutti Frutti" or "Good Golly Miss Molly."

It wasn't an easy thing to do. The county courthouse of 1895 had outlived its usefulness as a courthouse. The bricks weren't the best in the world. The clerk's office was out of room. The justice of the peace was crammed in an office under the stairs. The courtroom's temperature ranged from freezing to boiling. The wiring was dangerously overloaded. The clock didn't work. There seemed to be thousands of pigeons on the weather vane. The downtown merchants didn't want the courthouse moved. Remember in those days, there was no mall, and the courthouse was open on Saturdays. Several possibilities were proposed. Maybe the Federal government would abandon its building and construct a new post office. Perhaps a new courthouse could be built on the county's property on Telfair Street. Other downtown sites were considered. A bond issue to fund a new courthouse was voted down by Laurens Countians. The only remaining solution was to contact Cong. Carl Vinson.

Cong. Vinson had always come through for Laurens County. The powerful Milledgeville congressman was able to obtain federal funds for one half the cost of the new building. Construction began in the winter of 1963 on the first federally funded courthouse in the United States. The new three-story building was opened on July 21, 1964. Speaking at the dedication ceremonies were Cong. Carl Vinson, Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges, and Gov. Carl Sanders. The new building isn't as beautiful as the old one, but that's always the case. If the old lady had lived another thirty years, maybe our citizens wouldn't have let her die. One silver lining was the rescue of the Carnegie Library building. It was slated for demolition in 1966 and was saved by many concerned citizens, who eventually formed the Laurens County Historical Society. Other pieces of the old building were sold at public auction. Dale Thompson bought the weather vane for his new house. Barbara and Wiley Shepard bought many of the bricks for their new home. Willis Sapp bought one of the safes for his jewelry business. One piece, and perhaps the most important piece, was the cornerstone. The marble stone on which inscribed with the names of J.F. Fuller, M.S. Jones, J.M. Finn, J.R. McDaniel, and T.J. Blackshear, county commissioners in 1895, was salvaged by the Laurens County Historical Society, but was evidently damaged or lost while sent for repair.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Dublin's  Catholic Church will soon be relocating to Highway 441 North.  This small but magnificent church was built in 1910.  It features beautiful interiors, exquisite stained glass windows, and ornate scupltures on the front of the building. 

I hope you enjoy my photographs of the church.






Tuesday, September 22, 2009



The members of the First Christian Church of Dublin begin their celebration of the 100th anniversary of their church this month. One hundred years ago, Dublin and Laurens County’s churches were almost exclusively Baptist and Methodist. With the rapid influx of new citizens, new denominations of churches began to appear. Among those new churches were the Disciples of Christ, who called their church the Christian Church.

The Christian Church originated in Pennsylvania in the first decade of the Nineteenth Century. Rev. Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian minister, founded the church, which was based on more acceptance of other denominations of the Christian faith. Rev. Thomas M. Harris, who left the Methodist Church, led the
formation of several Christian churches in our area.

On August 1, 1898, a little more than one hundred years ago, those subscribing to the doctrines of the Christian Church met for a revival on the grounds of the old City Hall and old Masonic Lodge, the present site of Dublin’s City Hall.

Another written history of the church states that the revival was held in a tent in the area where the main office of the Farmers and Merchants Bank is now located. The revival was led by Rev. E.W. Pease. What followed was the organization of the First Christian Church of Dublin, which was led by Rev. E.L. Shellnut, who organized more Christian churches in Georgia than any other man. E.J. Holland was chosen as the first Elder of the Church. The founding deacons were N.B. Rawls and H.T. Jordan. The charter members of the Church were Mr. and Mrs. E.F. Bailey, Mr. and Mrs. James B. Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Holland, Mr. and Mrs. H.T. Jordan, Mrs. A.M. Prince, Lyda and Sherman Price, Mr. and Mrs. N.B. Rawls, Mrs. J.T. Smith, Mrs. M.A. Smith, and Mrs. A.T. Summerlin. James B. Hicks was elected clerk, and T.B. Hicks was chosen as the first church treasurer.
The first meetings were held in the then new Masonic Lodge, which was located in the second story of the building now occupied by Dublin Appliance Company (Dublin Courier Herald, 2009). Rev. S.P. Spigel served as a temporary minister. Meetings were later held in the meeting halls on the second floor of the Henry Building at 101 W. Jackson Street and in Christ Episcopal Church.

The members of the church began to look around for sites on which to build their new church. They chose a prime site on North Jefferson Street at its intersection with Gaines Street on the very edge of the commercial downtown area.

Today the site is occupied by Knight State Bank. In 1908, a new church building was completed. The new church (see picture) was constructed out of hydraulic stone. While small in stature, it was a handsome structure. Rev. Allen Wilson preached the first revival in the church. Fifty seven-new members joined the
Christian Church that day.

The secret to the success of any church is dedication and hard work by its members. Among the early members of the church, in addition to those mentioned above, were E.F. Bailey, H.T. Jordan, G.W. Johnson, B.F. Shepard, Grat Holt, J.J. Jordan, H.E. Williams, Dr. H.T. Hodges, Claude H. Jones, Otis Rawls, Jeff Proctor, T.H. Black, Dr. J.M. Page, J.F. Mullis, Doyle C. Knight, Joe Underwood, Dr. E.H.
Maynard, L.O. Beacham, George L. Hughes, B.L. Collins, S.F. Coffin, J.D. Tharpe,  J.A. Rachels, Mary Smith, Mrs. John Williams, Mrs. J.A. Rachels, Winnie McPherson, Mrs. E.F. Bailey, Mrs. Tom Smith, Mrs. J.D. Tharpe, Mrs. Doyle Knight, Mrs. L.L. Porter, Mrs. M.A. Shewmake, Mrs. H.W. Jordan, Mrs. B.L. Tingle, Mrs. B.W. Johnson, Mrs. I.G. Prim, Mrs. C.H. Jones, Mrs. Gratt Holt, and Mrs. T.K. Tharpe.

The church was blessed early and for many years with faithful and hard-working women. Mrs. Margaret Rowe Hicks, wife of T.B. Hicks, was the first deaconess of the church. Mrs. James J. Jordan, the former Miss Mary Will Rachels, was the second deaconess of the church and the first woman in Laurens County to
exercise her right to vote when women were first allowed to vote in the 1920s. Other women serving on the board of deacons during the early years of the church were Mrs. T.K. Tharpe, Mrs. H.T. Hodges, Miss Florie Mae Hodges, Mrs. H.H. Ervin, Sr., Mrs. H.B. Wimberly, Mrs. I.G. Primm, and Mrs. M.A. Shewmake. In 1909, Mrs. H.M. Kirke and Mrs. J.J. Jordan were the first women from the church to serve as delegates to the Georgia state convention. Dorothy Hicks Ross, granddaughter of two of the church’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. T.B. Hicks, has been a member of the church for nearly eight decades.

The first permanent pastor of the church was Dr. Thomas L. Harris of Wrightsville. Dr. Harris, son of pioneer minister Thomas M. Harris, was a remarkable man. He practiced law and medicine and served as a minister, all at the same time. Following Dr. Tom Harris, the pastors of the Christian Church have been
P.H. Mears (1901-3), B.H. Morris (1903-5), George W. Mullins (1905-6), Virgil W. Wallace (1906-8; the first full time pastor), W.A. Cossaboom (1908-11), Charles S. Jackson (1911-12), W.F. Mott (1913-7), John W. Tyndall (1918-21), W.E. Abernathy, E.W. Sears, James A. Moore (1922-1925), Dr. E.L. Tiffany (1925-26), W.F. Mott (1926-29), James Lawson (1930), E.E. Sharpe (1931), Robert Bennett (1932-43),
Olin E. Fox (1946-49), Edward S. Reese (1949-51), Barney L. Stephens (1951-53), J. Gordon Hooten (1953-57), Robert A. Ferguson (1957-62), O.G. Gilbert (1962), Maurice Byers (1962-63), James Sitton (1964-69), William I. Jordan (1969-1983), Carl J. Brame, Jr. (1983-89), Mark Poindexter (1989-91), Emmett T. Carroll (1993-94), and William W. Glasson, Sr. (1994- to the present.) O.G. Gilbert, a native of
Dublin preached for fifty years before coming to Dublin to serve as an interim pastor in 1962. Rev. William I. Jordan, a former chaplain in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, served as pastor for fourteen years, the longest service in the history of the church.

During the pastorate of Rev. Mears, the Ladies Aid Society and the Christian Women’s Board of Missions was organized. During the pastorate of Dr. John W. Tyndall, membership soared to eight hundred and twelve. It had only been one hundred and fifty at the beginning of the decade. The little church was packed
nearly every Sunday.

In the late 1950s, the church building became outdated and too small. The first service at new church on the corner of Mimosa and Woodrow Streets was held on November 27, 1960. Rev. Charles L. Newby of Columbus was in charge of the services. One part of the beauty of the old church was the stained glass windows.

Two of the old windows were saved and installed in the new church building at the back of the sanctuary, facing the pulpit.

Saturday, September 5, 2009



One might call Dublin the "Presidential City." When the town began naming its streets, it first honored the presidents. Other patriots such as Benjamin Franklin, Francis Marion, and Col. John Laurens (changed to Lawrence) were honored. There were generic names like Columbia, Union, and River. The remaining streets were named for military heroes of the early 19th century. Gaines St. may have been named for George Gaines, an early ferry owner. However, it is most likely that it was named for Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines who served in the War of 1812 and was one of the leaders in the defense of Georgia during the Indian Wars of 1818. The tradition continued during the early years of the 20th century.

Streets in Dublin have been named for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, U.S. Grant, James Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt. There was a Cleveland St. which was later rerouted and became Mary St. Academy Ave. had its name changed to Wilson Ave. for a few days following World War I. Hester Dr. was formerly known as Roosevelt St., which was named in honor of Theodoore Roosevelt. ( There are Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton Streets, but none of them are named for the presidents. )

Truxton, Bainbridge, Rodgers, and Decatur are not really household names. These Dublin streets were named for naval heroes of the early 19th century. Commodore Thomas Truxton brought the American navy on a par with the French and the British navies during the naval battles with the French in the Caribbean around the turn of the 19th century. Truxton, commanding the "Constellation," captured the French frigates "Insurgente" and "La Vengance" and won the hearts of the American people. William Bainbridge was a one time commander of the frigate "Constitution." Bainbridge gained fame for his bravery and gallantry in the war with Tripoli. Commodore John Rodgers served as executive officer of the "Constellation" under Truxton. He captained a ship in the War of 1812. Rodgers served as President of the Navy Board of Commissioners from 1815 to 1824 and 1827 to 1838. Stephen Decatur, a commodore in the navy, was a hero of the War of 1812 and became even more famous after his death in a duel with a fellow officer. Schley St., which runs into West Moore St., was named for Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, hero of the Spanish-American War. Dewey St., was named in honor of Adm. George Dewey, another hero of Spanish-American War.

In the Scottsville neighborhood of northeastern Dublin, Streets were named after late 19th century presidents and several of the United States. State streets which lined the old grounds of the Dublin Furniture Manufacturing Company are Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Many Dublin streets are named after well known Dublin residents or national figures. Akerman St. was named for Alex Akerman, former Dublin lawyer and federal prosecutor. Arnau St. was named in honor of Dublin banker, Albert R. Arnau. Brantley St. was the street which ran by the home of banker and businessman, C.W. Brantley. Calhoun St. was named in memory of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, who served in Congress and as Vice President of the United States in 1820s. Joel T. Coney, planter and state representative was honored with a street bearing his name. Dudley St. is probably named for H.H. Dudley, the leading businessman of the Black community in the 20th century.

Fred's Lane is named for Fred Bell, the developer of the subdivision. Garner Street is probably named for John Garner, Vice President in the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Geffcken St. is named for area resident W.F. Geffcken. Mary St. is named after Mary Wolfe, the wife of John B. Wolfe and the woman who developed the land in the area. Moore Street is named after the family of Freeman and Mary Moore, who owned the land in that area. Outler Street was named for one or both Outler Brothers, J.M. and W.B.. Prince and Mincey Streets are named after J.D. Prince and James Mincey, members of the family who developed that area of town.

The Rev. W.S. Ramsay was honored with the naming of the street (the street sign is wrong) which adjoined his home. Rev. Ramsay was a former Confederate officer, founding Laurens County School Superintendent, and long time Baptist minister. Rice Ave. is named for Capt. W.B. Rice, renowned planter, banker, and businessman, who owned the farm where the V.A. Hospital now stands. Rowe St. was named for planter, merchant, legislator, and Confederate Captain T.H. Rowe. Rutland St. is named after the Rutland family who lived in the area.

Saxon St. was named by T. H. Rowe in honor of his wife's middle name. J.D. Smith named a street in his own honor when he developed his "Quality Hill" Subdivision in southern Dublin. Stonewall St., which was originally known as Stanley Ave., was named for the beloved Southern general, T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Thompson St., the narrowest street in Dublin, was named for Rev. George C. Thompson, long time Methodist minister and the building architect of the Golden Era of Dublin. Tucker St. was named by the children of Ella Tucker Stubbs in honor of their mother. Wheeler St. is probably named after another Confederate general, Joseph Wheeler. Wolfe Street is named after the Wolfe family who developed the area in northeastern Dublin.
Some street names were chosen from books or just from the developer's fancy.

Some like Brookwood and Hillcrest are named for the topography of their area. Bellevue is a contraction of a phrase meaning "beautiful view." Over the years, street names have changed. In the celebration following man's landing on the moon, the City came close to renaming Shamrock Drive to Armstrong Drive in honor of Neil Armstrong. Future streets were going to be named for crew mates, Aldrin and Collins. There will be more articles on our street names and roads to come.

Sunday, August 30, 2009



June 25, 1997 marks the 86th anniversary of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Dublin. But the history of the Catholic Church in Dublin actually goes back to the latter years of the last century, when Catholic services were held in the homes of Dublin's Catholic families. Sideboards and buffet tables served as altars. Those families included the Schaufeles, Mahoneys, Ludwigs, Kreutzes, and Thomases. Fathers Kennedy, Shadewell, and Winkelreid conducted services on a random basis. With such a small number of members hopes, for a permanent building seemed slim.

Father Richard Hamilton, of the Sacred Heart Church of Milledgeville, decided in 1905 that a church should be built in Dublin. About the year 1908, a Dublin woman came forth to support the building of a Catholic Church. A lot had been purchased on the northeast corner of Elm and Stonewall Streets, but that plan was abandoned when a generous offer came from Mrs. Victoire Lowe Stubbs. Mrs. Stubbs, widow of railroad baron and local attorney, Col. John M. Stubbs, offered land along the eastern end of her husband's estate. Mrs. Stubbs gave the land and generously contributed to the building fund. Mrs. Stubbs was a daughter of Gov. Louis Lowe of Maryland. Mrs. Stubbs's influence led to Mosignor George Duval's funding of the church. The Monsignor requested that the church be named: The Church of the Immaculate Conception.

The lot given by Mrs. Stubbs was located on a small ridge at the corner of North Church Street and Tucker Street. Mrs. Stubbs and her step children's generosity also extended to the area north of the church which they gave to the city of Dublin in honor of Col. Stubbs. The old Stubbs mill pond was drained and landscaped into Stubbs Park beginning in 1910.

The church hired Frank Seeburg, a noted architect from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Seeburg, who donated the plans, designed the church in the shape of a cross. The forty foot by eighty foot church was built of red brick with a tile roof. The sanctuary was designed to accommodate up to two hundred parishioners. In the rear of the church were the quarters of the priest with a living room, bed room, and kitchen. John A. Kelley, who had built the Carnegie Library, the Baptist Church, and who was then working on the expansion of the Methodist Church, was hired as the contractor. T.C. Fountain, the foreman, began construction in November of 1910. The estimated cost was $5,000.00 with a good deal of the funds coming from outside the parish. The first brick was laid on February 2, 1911, and the work was finished in six months.

The first mass celebrated in the church was held on June 25, 1911 under the direction of Bishop Benjamin Keiley of Savannah. Catholic clergy and laymen from all over Georgia were in attendance. The dedication of the new building must have been a spectacular and moving event. All the hard work of railroad agent M.V. Mahoney and his fellow Catholics had paid off.

Soon many new members joined the church. They were members of what was known as the Lebanese Colony. The Jepeways, Shehans, and Nashes, who engaged in the mercantile business, brought many new families into to the church. Even with the new members, the church remained as a mission church with services being held only twice a month. It wasn't until Mosignor McNamara began weekly masses that the church became an independent church.

The first priest to serve the church was Father Richard Hamiliton. He was followed by Father Dan McCarthy and Father T.J. Morrow, who continued to serve on a part time basis. Father L.L. Toups was the first permanent priest. He was followed by Father Nicholas Frizelle, and Father Walter Donovan. After many years, the church rose above its status as a mission church.

During the World War II years the Church experienced a new growth. Sailors and soldiers stationed at the Naval Hospital and the German/Italian P.O.W. camp attended services. The prisoners were seen nearly every Sunday marching down Academy then up Church Street to morning mass. Some of the more creative ones built a Christmas creche which has been displayed on many Christmases since then. As Dublin and Laurens County shifted to a balance mix of agricultural and industrial economies, more Catholic families joined the Church. During the Cuban crises of the early 60s, the Church became a haven for refugees.

Among the early lay leaders of the church were William F. Schaufele, Victoire Stubbs, M.V. Mahoney, H.E. Kreutz, C.F. Ludwig, Louis Thomas, Mose Jepeway, Gus Jepeway, George Jepeway, Louis Shehan, George Shehan, John Shehan, F.M. Nash, Louis Benchina, Mark Pournelle, W.E. Page, John Duff, B.D. Lafferty, W.P.Roche, W.P. Roche, and Charles Maloney.

The white Italian marble statues which stand in niches on the front of the church today were originally located in the interior until the 1961 renovation. The statue of the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph holding the baby Jesus were given by Martin Marquis Malone of Philadelphia and the artist, respectively.

Saturday, August 22, 2009



The educated people of Dublin began calling for the establishment of a library as early as 1885. No one stepped forward until Dr. J. B. Duggan, a former Confederate Surgeon, offered the first one hundred dollars for a public library on January 1, 1903. The City Board of Education appointed a committee to contact philanthropist Andrew Carnegie seeking his help in building the library. Carnegie agreed to give ten thousand dollars for the construction of the building. His gift was predicated on the condition that the city fund the library in the minimum amount of one thousand dollars per year. Hal M. Stanley, a member of the board of education, led the effort to convince the city to accept Carnegie's offer. Over the years Carnegie donated funds to build more than 2800 libraries throughout the world.

The city selected the firm of Bruce, Morgan, and Dillon to design the library. This same firm designed the courthouse built nine years earlier. The first order of business was to remove the old school and Masonic lodge from the triangular lot at the intersection of Bellevue and Academy avenues. The building was moved to the lot when the new school was constructed in 1902. Robinson's Well, the artesian well that satisfied many thirsts, was capped with layers of cement. The city hired John A. Kelley to construct the building. Kelley was a leading contractor of the period. Among his other projects were the Catholic Church, the Chautaugua Auditorium and the major renovations of the First Methodist Church. Kelley's bid, whether by accident or design, matched Carnegie's gift of $10,000.

Construction on the building began in the latter part of 1903. By May, the thirty two-hundred pound columns were hoisted into place. Annie Wallace, a professional librarian from Atlanta, advised the architect on the interior design of the building. The building was accepted in mid September of 1904. The opening was delayed several times until November 7, 1904. School and library board president Frank G. Corker, Annie Wallace, and three visiting Presbyterian ministers spoke to a capacity crowd. Mrs. E.J. Blackshear played the violin accompanied by Mrs. J.A. Peacock on the piano.

Strict regulations were placed on patrons of the new library. Anyone wishing to check out books had to make a written application attested to by two prominent citizens of Dublin. There were no fees to city residents but non residents were charged three dollars per year. The library began by opening six days per week from nine a.m. to nine p.m. with hour breaks for lunch and supper.

The initial collection of 300 books came from private donations. Judge Peyton Wade donated several hundred of his three thousand books. The contractor John Kelley joined Dr. Duggan in contributing two hundred dollars for new books. The city appointed Frank G. Corker (President), James S. Simons, Jr. (Vice President), J.E. Smith, Jr., H.M. Stanley (Secretary), A.R. Arnau (Treasurer), G.H. Williams, Peyton L. Wade, H.G. Stevens, and A.T. Summerlin to the Library Board of Directors. Emma Manning, the first librarian, resigned shortly after she was hired. Miss Lily Hightower was then elected and served for seventeen years.

One of the first fund raising events for the new Carnegie Library was held at the high school auditorium. Professor William Irving Fayssoux displayed his talents as a clairvoyant and physcic. The proceeds from the event went to the book fund of the new library. At three o'clock, Fayssoux blindfolded himself. He then drove madly and daringly over the main streets of Dublin. He promised the crowd that he could find a letter which had been hidden by a prominent Dublinite. Whether he actually found the letter remains a mystery, mainly due to the fact that half of the newspapers of the period are missing.

In March of 1905, the library set aside a section for the establishment of a war museum. The museum featured artifacts of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars along with some Indian relics. In 1912, a monument to the soldiers of the Confederacy was unveiled on the grounds. In the mid 1920's a holly tree was planted on the grounds. Today the tree, which has split into two trunks, serves as the community Christmas Tree which is lit annually to raise funds for the Pilot's Club Life Line project.

Everyone in Dublin was proud of their new library. One morning in June of 1912, Miss Lily Hightower was working in her office in the Carnegie Library when she decided to leave her chair for a few moments. All of a sudden a hundred-pound chunk of ceiling plaster fell directly on the chair recently vacated by Miss Hightower. The result was the pressed metal ceiling you see today in the library, now home of the Dublin- Laurens Museum.

The library continued to grow despite very few funding increases. In twenty years, the circulation had grown from three thousand books per quarter to eight thousand books per quarter. The first Laurens County Library was established in 1938. The ladies of the Parnassus Club sponsored a library for county residents. The library was located in the county office building on East Madison Street, which served formerly as the post office from 1912 until 1936. Virginia Graves served as the first and only librarian. After a few months of operation, the Laurens County Library merged with the Carnegie Library. County-wide service began with the help of the W.P.A. which funded a traveling librarian. The new service was made also made possible by funds from the Laurens County Commissioners and the County School Board.


Johnson Street Elementary School

Saxon Heights Elementary School

The Early History of Saxon Heights and Johnson Street Schools

For most of the 19th century, the schools of Dublin and Laurens County were relatively small and usually only one story tall. The first substantial school in Dublin was located near the front of the current day City Hall. It was a simplistic two-story structure which also doubled as the lodge hall for the Laurens Lodge No. 75F. and A.M.. The first true school house was constructed in the late 1880s on Academy Avenue. "The Academy" was located to the rear of and between the current office and home of Dr. Fred Moorman. When the janitor allegedly burned the school in January of 1901, Dublin was without a school house. City fathers quickly got together and constructed a modern day two-story brick school which today is home to the city government of Dublin. The new school handled all grades from first to eleventh - they only had eleven in those days.

During the middle of the first decade of the 20th century the northeastern section of Dublin was the most rapidly growing section of city. School board members realized that the High School could not serve all of the new children. John M. Williams, Frank G. Corker, and W.A. Wood were appointed to supervise the building of the new grammar school. The committee, having had no bids submitted on the project, turned to local architect, Rev. George C. Thompson. Rev. Thompson, who designed over a twenty buildings and homes in the city, served as Supernumerary of the Dublin District of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

The city chose a site comprising a half-block lying between North Franklin, Johnson, and North Washington Streets. The building was erected in a short period of time at a cost of $10,000.00. The two-story wooden building faced Johnson Street but had arched entrances on all four sides. The building, which was opened in January of 1906, contained eight large classrooms equipped with the most modern equipment. At the apex of the roof was a widow's walk. One interesting feature of the school was the black paint on the exterior of the second floor. This building was used for almost forty five years before being replaced by a modern brick structure. The brick building still stands but is no longer used as an elementary school.

One interesting feature of the original school was the fire escape. At the front corner of the building the contractors placed a slide leading from the second floor to the ground below. Oh what fun fire drills must have been in those days. After school, kids tirelessly climbed the slide from the bottom to the top and slid back down again.

W.M. McLauren, J.W. Mosley, Ruth Kinard, Mrs. W.W. Ward along with others served as principals during the early years. Among the early teachers were Ruth Smith, Hope Chavous, Sara Howard, Nellie Foster, May Robinson, Alma Carrere, Roberta Smith, Ann Braddy, Ethel Shelor, Mala Stanley, Elma Maxwell and Mildred Bishop.

Near the end of the first decade of the 20th Century, Dublin's growth shifted to the southwest along Smith Street in an area known as "Quality Hill". The citizens in the area demanded a school on their side of town. In 1908, the school board voted to build a school on a hill at the western end of Smith Street just west of Saxon Street. The land was purchased from Thomas H. Rowe, whose second wife was named Emma Saxon Guyton Rowe. Saxon Heights School had eight large classrooms and a small auditorium upstairs. The Saxon Heights School building, which opened in 1909, was striking similar to Johnson Street with only minor facial changes. The building, like its sister Johnson Street School, was occupied about forty five years, before giving way to a modern brick school building, which is still in use today.

Mrs. E.C. Campbell was one of the first principals and served a number of years. Among the early teachers were Ida Belle Williams, Minnie May Green, Zoe Hightower, Carrie Shropshire, Hope Chavous, Ethel Hall, Gertrude Pierce, Dora Belle Shewmake, Mrs. R.Y. Beckham, and Josephine Harrison.

Today, school fund raisers realize thousands of dollars with parents selling stuff to their friends and relatives. Eight decades ago the students of Saxon Heights School were trying to raise money for a Victrola. They sold lunches and candy, realizing a nice profit. For fun they put on a "tacky party", minstrel show, and races. The students staged a show featuring impersonations of the faculty. The admission charge was ten cents.

Both schools had a parallel history for over 80 years. They were nearly identical in design. They were the last of the wooden school houses in Dublin. Both schools were replaced with the help of the State of Georgia in the years following World War II. Neither school truly faced the streets for which they were named. Johnson Street School always seemed to face North Franklin Street and Saxon Heights Elementary, which was also known as Saxon Street School, faces Smith Street and originally faced Grady Street and overlooked Telfair Street. Johnson Street School is no more, while Saxon Heights Elementary is completing its 88th year of educating our children. While Dublin High School is well over a century old and has been located on four sites, Saxon Heights Elementary, is the oldest school in Laurens County still on its original site.