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Aug 02

Dime Stores around the Courthouse Square

Posted on August 2, 2018 at 12:43 PM by Jamesan Stuckey

It was brought to our attention there was discussion of the various Dime Stores around the square. Historical photographs of the courthouse square show the following stores.

South Side of the Square:

The Dime Stores Inc. (ca. 1920’s), Moore’s (ca. 1930’s-1960’s), and Clary’s (ca.1960’s) all occupied the same building. It Is unclear if The Dime Store (as seen in the postcard below) was owned by the same people of Moore’s. Clary’s opened in this location March, 1963. Thank you to our Archivist, Bonnie Smith, for finding the information on Clary’s.

East Side of the Square:

Paulk’s 5 & 10 was located right next door to Maxwell’s Dime Store in this photo from ca. 1930’s. By the time this next photo was taken in the 1940’s, Maxwell’s remained but Paulk’s was now Gladin’s Ladies Shoppe.

North Side of the Square:

According to this photo found in the Gordon Holstun Collection, dated 1954, McConnell’s Dime Store once stood where Day Realty currently is.
Courthouse Square South01-1930s

South Side of Square, ca. 1920's

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South Side of Square, 1948. Shed Carswell Photo

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(South Side of Square) Thomaston Times, March 21, 1963

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East Side of Square, ca. 1930's

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East Side of Square, ca. 1940's

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North Side of Square, 1954, Gordon Holstun Collection

Jul 26

Thomaston's Post Office

Posted on July 26, 2018 at 4:09 PM by Jamesan Stuckey

On this day in 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the U.S. Postal System. Benjamin Franklin was named the very first postmaster general.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-postal-system-established

Not counting the county’s many smaller post offices, going back in Thomaston’s history reveals the post office once stood at the corner of Gibson (now Gordon St) and S. Church Street. http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/sanborn/CityCounty/Thomaston1885/Sheet1.html  (The former location of Stephens Auto, later occupied by the Thomaston-Upson Arts Council) By 1900, this building was vacant.

The current Thomaston post office on E. Thompson officially opened in 1934, according to the Thomaston Times, March 23, 1934. “Friday of last week the post office was moved from the Nottingham Building on N. Church Street to the new federal building just completed at (the) corner of Thompson and Center Streets by the Barge-Thompson Company of Atlanta, contractors, at an approximate cost of $63,000 for the building, vaults, and electric fixtures… Purchase of the lot from C.M. Pasley Sr., and Mrs. L.P. Davis was confirmed by the government Aug. 13, 1931, price $12,800.”

(Post Office, Lateral Files: History. Thomaston-Upson Archives)

The postcard featured is dated 1936, contributed by Jimmy McKinley for the Upson Pictorial History.

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Jul 19

R.E. Lee Institute: Building

Posted on July 19, 2018 at 12:02 PM by Jamesan Stuckey

The old R. E. Lee Institute school building has a remarkable history of ups and downs. After multiple fires, today it stands as a home for the Thomaston-Upson Government Complex.

Originally chartered as Thomaston High School in 1875, the first buildings to house students were the old Female Academy adjoined with the Male Academy, also known as the Little Red Schoolhouse. The student population quickly outgrew this space and in 1884 a new structure was built. By 1897, enrollment kept expanding and several calls to enlarge the building were inserted in the Thomaston Times. By January, 1900, a new auditorium was completed with Mayor James R. Atwater commended for this achievement. (Thomaston Times, January 19, 1900)

In October, 1907, a special election was held to approve the selling of bonds, which would pay for a 1908 addition to the 1884 building. Only one photo of the addition survives. Then, on February 27, 1909 (a Saturday night) a horrible fire began. Ed Cliburn writes in his book, Proud to be From R.E. Lee, “As the night darkness settled in, Councilman J.B. Barron, standing in the door of the Zorn Co. on the square, looked up and saw light in the belfry of the Institute Building… Unfortunately, by the time enough people had gathered to do anything about the blaze, the inferno had burst through the roof and burned beyond any possible control.” After this event, the 1884 building was completely gone.

Quickly bouncing back, a new building was finished by March 7, 1910. This new building was bigger and better than before, as it was constructed in brick. For the next 11 years, the school went through a period of growth. Students contributed to the war effort in 1917-1918, becoming an official Red Cross School. They couldn’t celebrate the end of the war with the rest of Thomaston, however, as school was closed in November, due to the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918.

On October 4, 1921, another great fire erupted. This time, students were in the middle of class. Though much of the school was irreparably damaged, the foundations from the 1909/1910 building remained intact. This is the same foundation supporting the current Government Complex. The current building opened September 4, 1922, and even though another fire broke out in 1929, thankfully the building still stands.

For more photos of R.E. Lee throughout the years, come see our lateral files, or if you have Proud to be… by Ed Cliburn, read it! It is an incredible resource.

(Proud to be From R.E. Lee: A History of R.E. Lee Institute, Thomaston, Georgia, 1875-1992, by Dr. Edwin L. Cliburn, 2000)

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Credit: Proud to be From R.E. Lee, Dr. Edwin L. Cliburn, 2000
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Credit: Proud to be From R.E. Lee, Dr. Edwin L. Cliburn, 2000
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Thomaston Times, November 18, 1921