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Georgia Natural Wonder #169 - Pine Mountain - Meriwether County (Part 1).
November 04, 2020 01:16AM

Georgia Natural Wonder #169 - Pine Mountain - Meriwether County (Part 1).

We came to Pine Mountain Ridge with GNW #167. We learned the Pine Mountain Range is a long ridge in Meriwether County, Georgia, Harris County, Georgia, and Talbot County, Georgia. We covered Mulberry Falls and the town of Pine Mountain and Harris County with GNW#168. We now turn to Pine Mountain Ridge in Merriwether County for Georgia Natural Wonder #169.



It turns out the Wolf Pen Trail to Cascades Falls is technically in Merriwether County and we covered that with the Pine Mountain Trail in GNW #167. Warm Springs is in Merriwether County and we covered the Warm Springs Institute along with the history of FDR there with GNW #4.



Today we feature the Natural Wonder of Pine Mountain Ridge in Meriwether County. It runs all along Georgia Highway 190 back east to Manchester.


Now I have driven this Hwy. 190 before and it is not all that exciting.


But you can tell you are on a ridge and the vistas are pretty good on both sides of the road.


It is mostly private property along this eastern edge and a lot of it runs there on the peak of the ridge in Talbot County.



Georgia Highway 85 separates the FDR State Park from the eastern edge of Pine Mountain, but it is still quite a ridge for this part of the state. And, it goes 13 miles to Manchester..



Lot of homes up here on Pine Mountain Ridge near Manchester.



Our Natural Wonder for the week, Pine Mountain Ridge in Merriwether County..




Beautiful views.


Pine Mountain Ridge in Meriwether County.


You can see Pine Mountain Ridge in these Manchester train images.



Well it didn't take long to cover the Natural Wonder section of today's post. Now in my google search I stumbled upon this story that became a movie starring some heroes of the HOTD.

PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - The story of John Wallace Road ends on a sparsely traveled, five-mile stretch of asphalt that winds through rural Meriwether County. The story starts with weathered scrapbooks that chronicle the life of the road's most prominent resident, a roughneck 1940s-era bootlegger named John Wallace. "Sixty-something years later, he's still respected," said Bruce O'Neal, Meriwether County public works director. Wallace was respected as a county kingpin. Historians say he controlled local politicians and financed local churches with money from illegal liquor.



The stretch of asphalt on which he lived is a modern-day memorial named for the liquor lord in a town about 75 miles southwest of Atlanta that now has about 1,300 residents and was too small in 1940 to be noted as a separate locale in census records. "Our deed when we bought the house says John Wallace Road," said Reba Crisp, who lives at the southern end of the road. And no one really knows when it was formally named. "All my life it's always been John Wallace road," O'Neal said.



Wallace still has kinfolk in the area, known in the '40s as "the kingdom." Mike Strickland, the grandson of Wallace's cousin now lives on the farm where Wallace lived. "He looked after his own," Strickland said. In 1948, things turned ugly on Wallace's farm when a man named Wilson Turner was arrested for stealing two of Wallace's cows. When Turner was released from the old jailhouse in the county seat of Greenville, Ga., he drove up U.S. 27. Wallace and two other men followed him to the Coweta County line and killed Turner. The incident became a book and 1983 TV movie called Murder in Coweta County.



Andy Griffith played the swaggering Wallace.



Johnny Cash played the man who arrested him,



Coweta County Sheriff Lamar Potts. A Coweta County jury sent Wallace to Georgia's electric chair in 1950. "He wasn't framed. He was just doing what anyone else would have done at the time," Strickland said.



Wallace's fate was sealed when the cow thief he was chasing made it out of Meriwether County, where the kingpin's influence stopped, Strickland said. "That man came back here and stole both his dairy cows. You think he needed doing away with?" Strickland asked. "It wasn't harsh in that day. Man, you're talking about 1949. Everybody wore two pistols on their hip."

The essential facts aren't in dispute:

• Wallace killed a man.

• The state of Georgia executed him for it.

• The road is named for a convicted killer.


Perhaps raising an obvious question: Has the county considered renaming the road? "No sir. Not to my knowledge," O'Neal said. Residents like Crisp seem to embrace Pine Mountain's dark history and the killer behind the road. "He was well liked. There were people that were afraid of him," said Crisp, who knows Wallace only through conversations she's had with a close friend of the killer who lived across the street. "Very intriguing."



"I would hope that it doesn't glorify him," said Arthur "Skin" Edge, grandson of the Coweta County sheriff who arrested Wallace. Edge is a former state senator and now works as a lobbyist at the state capitol. Edge is mostly untroubled by the road named for the killer. "Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it teaches people a lesson. And maybe the more they hear about it, the more they learn about it, the more they realize that everyone is accountable under the law and should be," Strickland said. In this rural community, the story ends with a curving stretch of road whose name has a certain twisted logic, honoring a man whose residents say was more than a murderer.

Author Dot Moore Weaves recounts story.

This murder story inspired a book by Margaret Anne Barnes in 1976 and a 1983 TV movie on CBS starring Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith. A wealthy landowner in Meriwether County had a sharecropper work for him by the name of Wilson Turner. Wallace caught Turner doing some bootlegging work and subsequently fired him. Turner, in turn, stole two cows and money he felt was owed to him by Wallace. Wallace had a lot of political power and even had the Coweta County sheriff under his control. Turner was soon arrested, transferred to Coweta and released according to Wallace's orders. Wallace had Turner's truck drained of gas, and kidnapped and murdered Turner. Wallace was one of the richest men to be executed in Georgia.


Andy Griffith fried.

Meriwether County

Meriwether County is a county located in the west central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is the state's seventy-first county, The county seat is Greenville, home of the Meriwether County Courthouse. The county was formed on December 14, 1827 from 503 square miles taken from Troup County.



It is named for David Meriwether, a Revolutionary War (1775-83) general remembered for his accomplishments as an interpreter for Creek Indians, a state legislator, and a U.S. congressman.



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Tangent David Meriwether

David Meriwether (April 10, 1755 – November 16, 1822) was a United States (U.S.) Congressional Representative from the state of Georgia. U.S. congressman James Meriwether was his son.

Early years

David Meriwether was born at "Clover Fields" (home of the Meriwether family), near Charlottesville in the Virginia Colony, on April 10, 1755. During his early years in Virginia, Meriwether developed a personal friendship with Thomas Jefferson who was a plantation neighbor of the family. Some time later, Jefferson hired one of Meriwether's cousins, Meriwether Lewis as his personal secretary, before eventually commissioning the young Captain to undertake the exploration of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase along with William Clark.


Meriwether Lewis.

Military service

David Meriwether joined the Continental Army in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. He fought in the Battle of Trenton (1776), Battle of Brandywine (1777), and the Battle of Monmouth (1778). Upon joining troops from his native state of Virginia, he was commissioned a lieutenant in New Jersey on May 15, 1779. Shortly thereafter, the Virginia troops marched south, to participate in the Siege of Savannah.


Battle of Trenton.

During the march from Virginia to the outskirts of Savannah, Meriwether's column passed through Wilkes County. In his diary, he remarked that the countryside in that area of Georgia was particularly pleasing. In the subsequent Siege of Savannah - GNW #106 (Part 4), Meriwether was captured by the British and was paroled shortly thereafter. Following his parole, Meriwether returned to Wilkes County, where he married Frances Wingfield. They eventually had seven sons and one daughter. Meriwether continued to serve in the Army through the end of the war in 1783.


Battle of Brandywine.

In 1785, the couple settled in Wilkes County, where Meriwether had been granted land for his service in the Continental Army. During this period, his occupation was that of "planter". On September 21, 1797, Meriwether was commissioned a brigadier general in the Georgia militia by Governor Jared Irwin. In 1804, the family moved to Clarke County, near the city of Athens, where the General resided for the rest of his life.

Political office

Meriwether was the Wilkes County Tax Collector in the year 1794, before being elected to the Georgia House of Representatives where he served as speaker from 1797 until 1800. He was then elected as a Jeffersonian to the 7th United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Benjamin Taliaferro and was reelected to the 8th and 9th Congresses. His time in federal office spanned from December 6, 1802, to March 3, 1807.


Battle of Monmouth.

He did not run for reelection in 1806 to the 10th Congress and retired to his plantation near Athens, Georgia. After his congressional service, Meriwether was appointed a commissioner to the Creek Indians in 1804 and repeatedly reappointed to treat with other tribes.



Meriwether served as a Presidential Elector from Georgia in the election cycles of 1817 and 1821.

Death and legacy

David Meriwether died near Athens, Georgia on November 16, 1822 and was buried in the private burial ground on his plantation.



He is the namesake of Meriwether County, Georgia. His son was James Meriwether, who fought in the Creek War under the command of General John Floyd. James Meriwether served as a trustee of UGA from 1816 until 1831. In 1824, he was elected as a Jacksonian Representative to the 19th United States Congress and served one term. James was the uncle of James Archibald Meriwether, also a congressman, jurist and lawyer from UGA.


James and James A. Meriwether.

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Meriwether County History

The land in Meriwether County was originally held by the Creek Indians. We documented the Creek Indian history of neighboring Harris County with GNW#168.



There are two markers in Meriwether County that discuss the Indian Trail passing through the county.



Looking east on Magnolia Road, which follows the course of the Noted Indian Trail.



Greenville, the county seat and the oldest town in the county, was laid out in 1828 on land owned by General Hugh W. Ector and first settled by Abraham B. Ragan, whose log cabin store stood on the site of the current courthouse square. Hugh was the father of Confederate General Matthew D. Ector.

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Tangent Matthew Ector

Matthew Duncan Ector (February 28, 1822 – October 29, 1879) was an American legislator, Texas jurist, and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Early life

Ector was born in Putnam County, Georgia, to Hugh and Dorothy Ector. The family moved to Greenville, Georgia, soon after. He was educated at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, before reading for law in the office of Hiram B. Warner. Ector served a single term in the Georgia state legislature in 1842 before moving to Texas in 1850.



Ector was admitted to the bar in 1851 in Henderson, Texas, and began the practice of law. That same year he married Letitia Graham, who died in 1859. In 1856 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Rusk County. In Atlanta in 1864, he wed Sarah P. "Sallie" Chew. One daughter of this marriage, Anne Ector, became the wife of Louisiana Governor Ruffin Pleasant (1916–1920).

Civil War

When the Civil War broke out, Ector enlisted as a private in the 3rd Texas Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate army. He was soon elected lieutenant. He served as adjutant to Brigadier General Joseph L. Hogg and saw action in Texas and Arkansas. He was promoted to colonel and given command of the 14th Texas Cavalry Regiment. Then in August 1862, he was promoted again to brigadier general and assigned command of a brigade. He fought at the Battle of Murfreesboro in Tennessee and Chickamauga in Georgia. He and his men were then assigned duty in Mississippi, returning in time for the Atlanta Campaign in the summer of 1864.



At the Battle of Stones River on December 31 1862, Ector commanded a brigade in John P. McCown's division, William J. Hardee corps. The brigade included dismounted cavalry regiments fighting as infantry. These were the 10th Texas, 11th Texas, 14th Texas, and 32nd Texas Cavalry Regiments, and Douglas's Texas Battery. Losses were 28 killed, 276 wounded, and 48 missing. At the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19–20, 1863, Ector's brigade was part of States Rights Gist's division, William H. T. Walker's corps. The brigade consisted of Stone's Alabama Battalion, Pound's Mississippi Battalion, the 29th North Carolina Infantry, 9th Texas Infantry, and the dismounted 10th, 14th, and 32nd Texas Cavalry Regiments. It sustained losses of 59 killed, 239 wounded, and 138 missing.



During the Atlanta campaign in the summer of 1864, Ector's brigade was in Samuel G. French's division, Leonidas Polk's corps. The brigade comprised Jaques's Battalion, the 29th and 39th North Carolina, and 9th Texas Infantry, and the dismounted 10th, 14th, and 32nd Texas Cavalry Regiments. Ector's military career essentially ended on July 27, 1864, in fighting near Atlanta, Georgia. He was severely wounded and his left leg was amputated at the knee. The war ended before his recovery was complete, although he did travel to Mobile, Alabama, to assume command of the defenses there late in early 1865.



Three brigades under Randall L. Gibson, James T. Holtzclaw, and Ector fought in the Battle of Spanish Fort on 8 April 1865 near Mobile, Alabama. The much larger Union army seized part of the defenses, forcing the Confederates to evacuate Spanish Fort with the loss of 93 killed, 395 wounded, 250 missing, and 50 cannons. On May 4, the Confederate army formally surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama.

Postbellum

Matthew returned to Texas and moved to Marshall in 1868. After serving in several local judicial roles, he was elected to the Texas Court of Appeals in 1875, serving until his death in Tyler, Texas, in 1879. His remains were returned to the Methodist church in Marshall, and he is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery there.

Honors


Ector County, Texas, is named for him.

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Tourism has been a substantial part of Meriwether County's economy since 1832, when resorts complete with inns and cabins were built around the area's mineral springs. At first, visitors came from the cities of the South, but as railroads reduced reliance on horse and carriage, people from farther away were able to enjoy the curative springs and stay for a season. By 1900 the transient nature of this income source was augmented by the arrival of wealthy families who built summer homes in the area. Another early component of Meriwether County's economy was the processing of cotton. The county continues to lean heavily on industry, and one of the largest employers is Georgia-Pacific.



The register lists twenty-two other sites in Meriwether County, among them the historic district of Greenville and many private homes, farms, and churches. A satellite campus of West Georgia Technical College is located in Meriwether County.


Park-Culpepper Law Office, Circa 1888, Greenville. This is presently home to the Meriwether Historical Society.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Meriwether County is 21,992, a decrease from the 2000 population of 22,534.

Communities

In addition to Greenville, incorporated towns in Meriwether County include Gay, Lone Oak, Luthersville, Manchester, Warm Springs, and Woodbury.

Gay

Gay, settled by William Sasser, was first called Sasserville, but the name was changed when someone discovered that there was already a town named Sasser in Georgia.



The new name honors William F. Gay, the first store owner in town and the first mayor. he was also an early postmaster.


W.F. Gay house. If you make it to the the Cotton Pickin’ Fair, you can tour this iconic home. It’s a centerpiece of the festival. It was built by the town’s namesake, William Franklin Gay. Mr. Gay became the town’s first postmaster in 1886 and later served as chairman of the Meriwether County commission and mayor of Gay.


J. R. Gay & Company, 1911, Gay. This old store is well-known to visitors to the Cotton Pickin’ Fair. The main floor originally housed the farm office, general store, and post office. Groceries were sold in the basement and the top floor was Mr. Gay’s apartment.


Downtown Gay, can see edge Pine Mountain in rear. Just north of Manchester is Gay. Not to be confused with Climax or Cumming Georgia.

A post office called Gay has been in operation since 1886. The Georgia General Assembly incorporated the Town of Gay in 1907.

Arts and culture

The town of Gay hosts a "Cotton Pickin' Fair" on the first weekend of every May and October.



The town was featured in Season 2, Episode 1 of Queer Eye.

Greenville

Greenville was incorporated twice - in 1828 and again in 1852.



The first courthouse, reportedly built in 1832, was damaged by a tornado in 1893, restored, and used until 1904, when a second courthouse replaced it. Built by Georgia’s most prolific courthouse architect, J. W. Golucke.


J. W. Golucke was born in June 1857. Working from Atlanta, he built thirty-one county courthouses in Georgia and Alabama.

The Meriwether County Courthouse burned in 1976 but the external walls remained intact and a restoration which took several years returned the structure to its prominence in the community.



Downtown Greenville.



The population was 876 at the 2010 census.



The city is the county seat of Meriwether County and is located 54.9 miles southwest of Atlanta.

History

Greenville was founded in 1828 as seat of the newly formed Meriweather County.


Bird's Eye View Southwest from courthouse tower.

It was originally spelled "Greeneville." The city was named for Major General Nathanael Greene, commander of the rebel American forces at the Battle of Guilford Court House on March 15, 1781.


Greene monument Guilford Courthouse.


Hill Bros. Store, 1890s, Greenville. William and Obadiah Hill bought this building from Albert Hill in the early 1900s. They opened a farm supply store that sold everything from clothing to hardware and was the social center of Greenville for much of the first half of the 20th century.



President Roosevelt is said to have even stopped by on one occasion, inquiring about politics. Its recent restoration is outstanding.


Greenville City Hall


The Meriwether County Jail was built in 1896 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 7, 1973.


The Greenville Presbyterian Church and Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 5, 2002.



This historic congregation was formed by Reverend Edward Lanier and Reverend Jesse Sratton on 27 March 1829. The Presbyterians of Greenville were granted a lot in town for the building of a house of worship but sold it and built this one-room church a few miles from town in 1836, preferring a rural setting. Though it never boasted a large congregation, Greenville Presbyterian was quite active in the community. Dwindling membership and a newer church in Greenville, Stacy Presbyterian, led to the closure of the church in 1963 but it reopened in 1972. A small but determined congregation still holds services here. Greenville Presbyterian is significant as one of just a few antebellum Presbyterian churches in Georgia.


The cemetery is one of the most historic in the area. Perhaps the most fascinating interment is John Gaston, who was famously known as “The Giant”, for his 7’6″, 340-pound stature at a time when the average height was about 5’7″. Gaston was born in Chester County, South Carolina in 1821 and died in Woodbury in 1866. His slab has been damaged over the years, and a smaller adjacent slab corrects previous statistics, which stated his height as 7′ and his weight at 430 pounds.


The Harman-Watson-Matthews House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 9, 1973.


The Burwell O. Hill House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1982. Built as a Victorian, the Hill House took on its present Neoclassical appearance with a 1909 remodel. The house was designed by Mrs. Hill’s brother-in-law, Newnan architect W. A. Steed. Burwell O. Hill (1856-1918) was a prominent Meriwether County farmer. His son, Obadiah W. Hill, and grandson, J. Render Hill, both served in the Georgia legislature.


The Hiram Warner Hill House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 7, 1983. Originally, this house was a small cottage built by Judge Hiram Warner (1802-1881) in 1836. Judge Warner came to Georgia from Massachusetts in 1822 and eventually became Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Around 1869 Judge Warner’s daughter, Mary Jane Warner Hill, added another structure to the extant one, creating a two-story house. The Greek Revival appearance likely dates to this time. The Louie Cleveland Clark family purchased the house in 1934. The property has long been known as Clarkland Farms and is now an event venue.


The Render Family Homestead was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 1, 1984. This house, begun on a much smaller scale in the Plantation Plain (I-House) style, is the focal point of the Render Homestead National Register property. James Render (1777-1854) came to Meriwether County in 1832 and established a large cotton plantation from this house. He served as a justice of the Inferior Court of Meriwether County. He migrated from Wilkes County, where he had served several terms in the General Assembly. By 1850, he owned 1900 acres and owned 76 slaves. One reason for his success was his diversification. Besides cotton he raised potatoes, sweet potatoes, Indian corn, wheat, rye and oats. He had eleven children and among his descendants were Governor James M. Terrell of Georgia and Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice James Render Dowdell. Render’s son, Joshua (1818-1867) inherited the house and continued the successful farming operations of his father. Forty-two of the plantation’s freedmen remained as contract laborers after the Civil War. Upon the death of Mrs. Joshua Render in 1902, James L. Render (1863-1932) became the owner of the property. It was during James L. Render’s ownership that the house was expanded to its present Neoclassical appearance, thought to have been the work of prominent Georgia architect T. F. Lockwood. There have been at least four owners since the death of Sarah McGehee Render in 1960. It is beautifully maintained to this day but not open to the public.


Twin Oaks, also known as Winsor Hall, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 26, 1980.


Ragan-Harris-Downs House, 1832 & 1910, Greenville. Built by pioneer Abraham Ragan in the Plantation Plain style, this house originally sat on the adjacent hill before being rolled to its present location in 1910 to accommodate the construction of Roswell J. Atkinson’s ‘The Terrace’. During the Civil War, it was open to wounded soldiers, serving as an impromptu convalescent hospital. The Ragans sold the home to Henry Harris. I’m unsure when the columns were added, but it was likely at the time of the move.


The Gables, Circa 1870, Greenville. Confederate veteran Samuel Monroe Davidson built this house. He served in the 31st Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry (Mountain Tigers) and was wounded at Cold Harbor in 1862. Upon his medical discharge at Macon, he settled in Greenville and built this house around 1870. He was a city councilman and was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Greenville. The Mabon family were later owners.


Peavy-Flynn House, Circa 1870, Greenville. Confederate Major and state senator George Peavy built this Gothic Revival house around 1870. He and his wife were well-known hosts of social functions and it was a center of activity in Greenville for many years. Later owners were the McLaughlin and Flynn families.

Lone Oak

The Georgia General Assembly incorporated Lone Oak as a town in 1901.



The town's name is descriptive of the original condition of the site. The town hosts the Lone Oak Arts & Crafts Festival each November.


Lone Oak Academy was built in 1870 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.This one-room schoolhouse served as the only educational resource for this tiny community in northern Meriwether County until 1944. It was built as Prospect Academy on land given by John Powledge in November 1870. With this in mind, it’s likely that the school wasn’t built until early 1871. In 1894, its name was changed to Lone Oak Academy. It became the community house in 1951 and continues to serve area citizens to this day.


Allen-Lee Memorial Methodist Church, 1939, Lone Oak.





Luthersville

Luthersville, first settled in the mid-nineteenth century and called Keith Crossroad, changed its name to honor Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Luthersville was incorporated in 1872.




Historic storefront in Luthersville


Trammell House, 1849, Luthersville

This home was built by John and Jane Trammell but is best remembered as the residence of their son, Captain John William Trammell (1829-1896).



Trammell, who was eventually elevated to Captain, served Company B, 1st Georgia Cavalry. It has been authentically restored by Trammell descendants and is now a bed and breakfast.


Plantation Plain House, Luthersville


Carpenter Gothic House, Luthersville


Queen Anne House, Luthersville


Parker Place, 1902, Luthersville

This beautifully restored home is now used as a wedding and event venue known as Parker Place. The old Luthersville Depot is also located on the property. I was unable to locate a more comprehensive history of the house.

Manchester

Manchester, incorporated in 1909 and nicknamed "The Magic City," was created at the junction of three railroad lines. OK, the official story of "Magic City' can't be found on the Internet. TRD called the Merriwether Chamber of Commerce and got this story. There was a lot on or at the base of the mountain in Manchester. Someone parked a car and put it in park. Slowly, the car rolled up hill. They have been searching for that lot of land since and story is just legend according to the Chamber of Commerce lady. She was fun to talk to for my silly question. Hey if your gonna call yourself something, there should be an explanation. My google of Magic City Georgia kept leading me here, in Atlanta.


More interesting than parked car rolling uphill.

History

Manchester was created in 1907 at the time the Atlanta, Birmingham, Atlantic Railroad partnered with the Callaway Mills from LaGrange to have their facilities located in Manchester. The Georgia General Assembly incorporated Manchester as a city in 1909.The city was named after Manchester, in England.


Originally built in 1908 by Mr. Callaway as a textile mill and known for its twin smoke stacks, this recently burned structure is sporadically being renovated for continued use as an event center.


A monument constructed from the original boiler room doors is featured in front of the Mill with the engraved names of Meriwether County Veterans and accompanied by our Eternal Flame and military flags.


The Manchester Community Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2002.

Manchester was designated a "Better Hometown" in 1997 and has restored its downtown area to the look of the 1930s. It is complete with brick storefronts, canvas awnings, and original facades.


1930's Manchester.

In 2019, CSX Transportation demolished the historic Manchester Yard Office in order to make way for a new, larger, yard facilities building.


Downtown Manchester offers a traditional Southern Main Street with shops, restaurants and a beautifully restored public arts space, the President Theatre.


Originally part of the Martin group, the President Theatre was designed by Atlanta architects McKendree Tucker and Albert Howell. It was named the President, of course, for FDR’s association with the area. After many years of serving Manchester, it closed in the 1980s. It’s being completely restored and is back in business.

Geography - Demographics

Manchester is in west central Georgia along Georgia State Route 85, which leads southwest 39 miles to Columbus and northeast 10 miles to Woodbury. Georgia 85 meets Georgia State Route 190 south of the city, which leads west 18 miles to Pine Mountain. Georgia 85 also meets Georgia State Route 41 in the city, which leads southeast 7 miles to Woodland and northwest 4 miles to Warm Springs. Manchester is in Meriwether and Talbot Counties, although primarily in Meriwether.


At the base of Pine Mountain Ridge.

Manchester is the most developed region in Meriwether County and the most populous city in the region. The population was 4,230 at the 2010 census. The beautiful city is located 65 miles southwest of Atlanta and 35 miles North of Georgia's second largest city, Columbus.

Industrial Charm

Today, Manchester still maintains its industrial roots that are carefully balanced with its small-town charm. The city is nestled in the foothills of the Pine Mountain range. Although a very progressive city, Manchester enjoys a reputation for its simplicity and quality lifestyle.



Train Fans

Many visitors to Manchester enjoy the city's location on one of the busiest rail lines in Georgia. A railfan platform in downtown allows visitors to watch passing trains while hearing the communication of train officials through a broadcast system.



Just behind the classic sleepy downtown row of shops, the city built a covered gazebo to watch trains. Manchester is where the Waycross main splits, the line north is the Atlanta Main, and the line west is the Birmingham Main. All trains that pass through Manchester will pass, or at least be seen from the gazebo. Since the viewing platform is on the south side of the tracks, lighting for pictures is good most of the day.



There is one issue that puts Manchester a bit lower of my list of favorite train-watching locations. The track closest to the viewing platform, called "the runaround", is often as a siding for trains looking to re-crew, or at times a local freight may drop their train on it. This may completely block your view of other passing trains. Don't worry, you’re not totally dead in the water...a two minute walk onto the roadway overpass will get you in a good spot to photograph the passing trains.



Trains roll slow through Manchester, so you will have enough time to re-position yourself. Another drawback from this location is the amount of trains that pass daily. Expect about 40 trains during a 24-hour period. Rail traffic is open to everything CSX moves. Some highlights include the Tropicana Juice trains, and deadhead locomotives being moved to / from the CSX shop in Waycross, located south of Manchester.



Rail Traffic: Expect about 40 trains during a 24-hour period. In my recent experience (2011), mid days have been slow. You can expect to see any type of train CSX moves. Merchandise, intermodal (including double stacks), coal, grain, automobiles, and orange juice trains. Deadhead locomotives to / from Waycross shops may also be seen on a daily bases.


Pine Mountain Ridge, least we forget why we are in Manchester, Georgia on a Natural Wonder Forum.

Site Details: Located along the parking lot behind the Main Street row of shops, its situated in a quiet area. The gazebo includes two picnic tables. It can get very hot here, if A/C is needed, you can sit in your car and wait for trains from there, you can see everything from the parking lot. A short walk onto the Broad Street (Route 85) bridge will offer good view for photography. There are pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge; automobile traffic over the bridge is active, but not too busy.

Manchester’s Railroad Days

In keeping with its history, a major annual attraction is Manchester’s Railroad Days which takes place every third weekend in October. The event includes a variety of activities, displays, and railroad memorabilia.


Railroad Days is really off the rails in Manchester.

Manchester gets credit for constructing the southeast’s first “railfan” observation deck.

OK, I am getting a message too large, so I am going to break off this post at Manchester. Today's GNW Gals are riding the train rails.





Edited 24 time(s). Last edit at 12/01/2020 04:24AM by Top Row Dawg.
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Georgia Natural Wonder #169 - Pine Mountain - Meriwether County (Part 1).

Top Row Dawg260November 04, 2020 01:16AM



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