Welcome to Eatonton, Georgia
Walking Tour of the
Historic Commercial Buildings
North side of Marion Street facing the Courthouse Square, c. 1905
Information compiled by Eatonton Main Street
Putnam County was created by legislative action on Dec 10, 1807
and named for General Israel Putnam of Connecticut (1718-1790),
the Revolutionary War hero of Bunker's Hill - famous for the quote,
"Don't one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes."
In 1808, the town of Eatonton was created by Act of the Georgia
Legislature. The State Surveyor General, John McBride, of
Eatonton, laid out the streets and lots which were auctioned off to
the public on April 14, 1808 by the Eatonton Town Commissioners.
In December 1808, Eatonton became the official county seat.
Eatonton was named for William Eaton, hero of the Tripolitan war,
who secured a place in history in the U.S. Marine Corp Hymn: "...
to the shores of Tripoli ..."
Prior to the War Between the States, Eatonton boomed with the
cotton trade and as the seat of both city and county local
government. On his “March to the Sea”, Gen. W.T. Sherman
spared residences in Eatonton and the county but factories, mills,
cotton gins, warehouses and the Eatonton Railroad Depot were
burned by his troops.
Until the boll weevil struck in September 1916, cotton was king in
Putnam County. The picture on the left, looking west on Marion
Street, shows the cotton coming into town in 1884. The picture on
the right shows cotton bales overflowing the warehouses and filling
Looking west on Marion Street, 1884
Cotton bales overflowing into the
street, c. 1910-1915
In 1915 Putnam farmers produced 12,065 bales of cotton. By
1921, production was down to 217 bales. The remaining farmers
became dairy farmers. The county population dropped by over
55% between 1920 and 1930 as many moved away to find
employment elsewhere. The 1920 population was 15,151 and by
1930 had dropped to 8,367.
Starting at the NE corner of Jefferson Avenue and Sumter
Street and walking north…
125 S. Jefferson - On this site was the “Michael Dennis
Mansion House” house, built before the Civil War. It became a
hotel, then a boarding house and was razed in 1960 to make room
for the new McConnell 5 & 10 store.
“Michael Dennis Mansion House”, photo c. 1952
123 S. Jefferson – The Pex Theater was built in 1941
and was closed in the 1970’s. In 1948 the regional premiere of
“Song of the South” was held here. Eatonton is the birthplace of
Joel Chandler Harris, who wrote the Uncle Remus stories.
Pex Theatre, c. 1940’s
Alice Walker, 2nd from right at the gala
showing of “The Color Purple”, 1986
In 1986, it reopened for a special gala showing of “The Color
Purple” which was attended by Eatonton native Alice Walker, the
author of the novel. Prior to the theater, c. 1921, there was a
grocery on this site and, c. 1909, there was a wood-framed
115-119 S. Jefferson - By 1884, these buildings were
used as one large space for a general store and the first Masonic
Hall. It became a Southern Express office c. 1901, a grocery c.
1909 and the Farmers’ Hardware in the 1920’s.
By the 1940s, 119 S. Jefferson became a separate store.
Thompson’s Grocery store was located here in the 1940s. It
became a florist shop in 1981.
109-113 S. Jefferson - c. 1884 the sites included a woodframed harness shop and a wood-framed wood working shop. By
1895, the harness shop became a boots & shoes store, but was a
grocery by 1901. The wood working shop became a clothing store
c. 1895. In 1920 a masonry building was built on the site and it
became a market. In the 1940’s, 109 S. Jefferson was Bell &
Jones Grocery and Chandler’s 5 & 10 store was at 113 S.
In 1951 the new Colonial
Store held its grand opening
and was located here until it
opened its new location at
301 S., Jefferson on Nov 6,
1963, behind Popeye’s, as
Big Star Foods.
Colonial Store opened in 1951 at 113 S. Jefferson
107 S. Jefferson - A barber shop was here in 1895,
followed by a grocery store in, 1909 and a real estate business in
1921. In 1945 the name was changed from Hearn Feed & Seed to
Bates Seed and Supply. Bates also had a nursery which provided
the first bedding plants in Eatonton. In 1979, it became the Athletic
Outlet store and today is a lawyer’s office.
On the opposite side of
Jefferson Avenue on the
courthouse square, Eatonton’s
first fire house was built. It
was located half way between
Marion and Sumter streets,
right at the sidewalk. It was
later moved to the lot between
today’s Police Department and
the rear of Blackwell’s
Furniture. It was torn down in
the late 1970s.
Old Eatonton Fire House
105 S. Jefferson - In 1884, 105 S. Jefferson was a dry
goods and grocery. By 1895 it was a general store which, within 5
years, also began selling furniture. It became a clothing store
before 1921. Bootsy Walker opened Walker Drug Store here in
the late 1920s.
T. H. “Red” Connally purchased Walker Drug Store in 1949 and
renamed it Connally’s Drug Store. It closed in the 1980’s.
Connally’s Drug Store “soda fountain”, photo c. 1959
101-103 S. Jefferson - In 1849 the “Sons of Temperance”
built the first two story brick building in Eatonton named
“Temperance Hall”. It was constructed by James Morrison
Broadfield and Tunis Tunison. The Temperance Society of
Georgia was chartered in 1828 after holding its first meeting in
Eatonton in 1827. The downstairs was a grocery by 1884. By
1901 it was used as a general store. In 1903 the Spivey
Telephone Company brought telephone service to Eatonton and
the first office was upstairs in Temperance Hall. There were 25
phones in Eatonton and one “in the country”, with the number “13”
refused. The Bell System purchased the Eatonton phone
company in 1909 with 175 customers. In 1903, The Eatonton
Messenger newspaper moved upstairs. The Eatonton Messenger
had formed in 1871 out of The Press and Messenger which began
in 1867. The Independent Press was begun by J.A. Turner in
Eatonton in 1854 and ran two years. It became The Press and
By 1921, the first floor of 101 S. Jefferson sold clothing and the
second floor had a barber shop.
In the 1940’s H.H. Parks
Grocery was at 1010 S.
Jefferson and J.L. Paschal &
son Grocery was at 103.
Upstairs was Edna’s Beauty
View of South Jefferson c. 1940s
101 S. Jefferson was the Uncle
Remus Restaurant in the
1950s-1970s. On the right side
was Dr. M.E. Rosen’s
optometrist office. This later
became Dr. Godin’s optometrist
office. Upstairs, in the 1950’s,
was Julian’s Beauty Shoppe.
Maggie Lane, a women’s clothing store, is located here.
Crossing Marion Street to continue north on Jefferson
100 N. Jefferson – In 1884 a wood-framed building was
used as a general store on this site. In 1890 the building was used
as a general store and by 1895 it was the Middle Georgia Bank. In
1908, a masonry building was built on the site and it continued as
the Middle Georgia Bank. In 1909, the telegraph office moved
upstairs to the front room from the Hotel Putnam. From 1920 until
1947, the John L. Adams Insurance and Real Estate Co. was
located on the second floor. In the 1940’s, Dick’s Barber shop (later
Wooten’s Barber Shop) was downstairs. In 2005, The Eatonton
Messenger purchased and relocated to this historic building.
Looking east on North Jefferson Avenue in 2012
D -9 102 N. Jefferson – A wood-framed building was on this
location since the 1840s. From 1884-1890, the site contained the
Eatonton Post Office.
Photo of post office 1840-1890
By 1901, coffins were sold there. A masonry building was erected
and in 1909 it was used as a grocery. By 1921, dry goods, boots &
shoes were sold in this building. M.S. Rainey & Co., (a “general
store”) was located there in the 1940s though the 1960s. Later, it
became a Sears Catalog Order Store and then a series of
104 N. Jefferson - This was used as part of the post
office, c. 1884. By 1901, it was a grocery and meat market.
When the masonry building was erected in 1910, it became a drug
store and remained one into the 1920’s. Later, it became
Deraney’s Department Store. A 1952 advertisement for Deraney
stated “Sell ‘em cheap…sell a heap”. In the late 1990s it became
the Green Dragon Chinese restaurant.
106 N. Jefferson – The Eatonton Theater was here in
1904. It became the Dixie Theatre from the 1920s into the 1930s.
In the 1940’s, the Peck Old Theatre was located in this building.
108 N. Jefferson – In 1901, there was a grocery store
here, c. 1909, a clothing store and by 1921 a dry goods and boots
& shoes store. In the 1930’s the building contained the REA (Rural
Electric Association), providing electricity to Putnam’s rural
communities. The New G&G Grill was located in this building, c.
110 N. Jefferson - In 1884, there was a wood framed
confectionery on the site, followed by a cobbler shop (shoe repair)
c. 1890. The two story masonry building, built in 1901-1902,
became the new Post Office which remained there until 1931.
Doctor and Dentist offices were located upstairs. In 1970 the
locally-owned 1st Federal Savings & Loan operated in the first floor
through the early 1980s when it was purchased by Decatur
Federal, which closed the Eatonton branch several years later.
Segars Cleaners was
located at 110 N. Jefferson
for a few years in the late
1950s. After Segars
Cleaners closed, an auto
supply store was located
here in the early 1960s.
Photo of Segars Cleaners, c. 1958
112-114 N. Jefferson – This was an empty lot until c.
1921, when a masonry building was built on the site containing the
J.C. Thompson Grocery. Mammy’s Good Foods restaurant was
located here in the 1950’s.
Interior of Mammy’s restaurant, c.
In 2009, Adam Smith opened Hannah’s Restaurant. In 2013, the
name was changed to Smith’s Coastal Grill.
116-118 N. Jefferson – A wood framed dwelling was on
this site, c.1884. By 1909, there was a wood-framed office in the
front, with a warehouse behind it. A masonry building was built on
the site, c. 1921 and contained Eatonton Board of Trade, which
organized in 1916. Another office was located in the front, with the
J.R. Griffin’s cotton warehouse in the rear of the building. It
became the H.B. Hearn warehouse from the 1940s until purchased
by Stuart Aaron in 2006 from the Henry B. Hearn heirs. It is
currently the Eatonton Auction House.
122 N. Jefferson – An office was built on this site in 1920.
It was purchased by John L. Adams and his son Hammond Adams,
CPA and was their insurance and accounting office from 1947 to
1953 and Hammond Adams, CPA until 1997. It has been several
“boutique” shops since 1998.
Crossing the street (carefully), the tour continues south on
Farther north, on the west
side of Jefferson Avenue, at
201 N. Jefferson is
Eatonton’s City Hall. The
building was erected in 1931
and was dedicated in 1932
as the Eatonton Post Office.
When the post office moved
to its current location, the
building was renovated and
became the new Eatonton
City Hall was the U.S.Post Office
121 N. Jefferson - In the 1850s, this was the site of the
small wooden cottage provided rent-free by Andrew Reid to Joel
Chandler Harris and his mother, Mary Harris. The cottage was
razed in 1921 to make way for Eatonton’s first national chain gas
station, the Standard Oil Company’s “Crown Gasoline” station
which opened in 1922.
119 N. Jefferson - In 1905 and into the 1920s, a cotton
office was here, with the Putnam Union cotton warehouse behind
and to the right of it.
D-19 113-117 N. Jefferson – The building was built in 1905. In
1909, the downstairs was vacant with offices upstairs.
People’s Bank opened at
113 N. Jefferson in 1944.
They moved to their current
location on S. Jefferson Ave
The People’s Bank, 1945
In the window, you can see
the reflection of a house that
was a doctor’s office for
many years and then the
first location of the Putnam
County Welfare Dept.
111 N. Jefferson – A wood framed dwelling was on this
site in 1884 but was demolished before 1895. It was an empty lot
until a building was erected c. 1900. A grocery was in the building
in 1921. In the 1940’s the Gene Meadows Rubber Co. was located
here. In 1952, The Eatonton Messenger newspaper moved to this
building, where it remained until relocating to its present location in
109 N. Jefferson contained a wood framed house on the
site in 1884. A masonry building was built in 1900 and was a
furniture store. A new brick showroom was completed in June
1916 by W.H Hearn & T.G. Greene. They were the local agents for
Ford and Hupmobile automobiles and opened Eatonton’s first fullservice gas station at the rear in August 1916. Horton’s Ford
Dealership bought the dealership and sold out of this building. The
building later became the Walker-Knight Hardware Company. In
1997 it began its use as an antique store as “Fox Hunt Antiques”
and then an antique mall.
107 N. Jefferson – c 1884, a wood framed millinery shop
was on this site. By 1890 it was a furniture store. A masonry
building was built in 1900. In 1909 it was a grocery store. By 1921
the store sold furniture and musical instruments.
Turning the corner onto Marion Street, there is a view of the
courthouse square across the street.
In 1809-1810 the first frame courthouse was built in the center of
“the Public Square”. In 1824, plans and specs for a new
courthouse to be built of stuccoed brick in the Federal Style were
accepted and it was completed in 1825. The original 1809 Putnam
County Jail was located on the SW corner of the courthouse
Marion Street with the 1825
courthouse on the right - The
gazebo is now in Turner Park
near the Uncle Remus
Intersection of Marion and Madison
The 1825 courthouse is on the right
In 1905 the Federal style
courthouse was demolished
and a new one was begun.
Postcard dated 1911. The Michael
Dennis Mansion House is visible in the
J.W. Golucke designed the
new courthouse in the
Neoclassical Revival style. The
courthouse was completed in
the fall of 1906.
In 2004, wings were added to
the east and west sides of the
original 1906 courthouse.
Remodeled courthouse, 2004
On the courthouse lawn is a
small statute of Brer Rabbit,
which was erected in 1950. It
was created as part of the GA
Power sponsored Better
Hometown Program. Eatonton
is the birthplace of Joel
Chandler Harris who wrote the
Uncle Remus stories.
In November 1871, a fire from the east end of Marion, in the rear of
a tin shop, destroyed half of the buildings. A shift in the wind saved
the rest. As they were wooden structures, they were uninsured.
The community came together to help move the goods out of the
100 W. Marion – This masonry building started out as a
dry goods store c. 1884 and included the store now entered at 105
N. Jefferson. By 1909, it became a grocery and crockery store,
which it continued to be into the 1920s.
Rossee’s Drug Store, which organized as a stock company in 1906,
operated in this location into the early 1960’s.
Rossee’s Drug Store
In the mid-1960s, Rossee’s closed and Tucker Drug Store
relocated to this building. It was a popular "hang-out" for high
school students after school.
Interior photo of Tucker’s Drug Store, 1963
D -24 102 W. Marion – This masonry building was a hardware
and harness store c. 1884. By 1895, it was a hardware store and
remained one until 1921 when it became a dry goods store. In the
1940s through 1960 it was Walker Dry Goods. It was sold and
became Holloway’s, an up-scale clothing store.
D-25 104 to 110 W. Marion Street - This masonry building was
one large general store in 1884 and remained one until c. 1901. At
that time, 104 W. Marion became a shoe store and c. 1921
became Mosley’s Ready to Wear, a “gent’s furnishings” store. By
1921, 106 W. Marion became Ballard’s Jewelry Store. 108 was a
hardware store and 110 W. Marion was a dry goods, boots & shoes
shop. In the 1940’s, 104 W. Marion was Maddox Dry Goods, 106
W. Marion was still Ballard’s Jewelry, 108 was J. L. Ashurst
Grocery store and 110 W. Marion was Solomon “Solly” Paul’s
D-26 112 W. Marion Street was a drug store in 1884. In 1900,
the Rosa Jarmulowsky Co. opened a clothing store and was still in
business in the late 1960’s. They advertised as the “Store that
Sells for Less” and sold clothing for the entire family. The store
closed when Mrs. Florence Jarmulowsky Scheer retired in the late
D-27 114 W. Marion Street – In 1884, there was a masonry
building used as a dry goods store. In the 1940’s the Rogers
Grocery Store, forerunner of the Colonial Store was located here.
In 1951, the Colonial Store moved to 111 S. Jefferson.
D-28 116 W. Marion – A general store in a masonry building
was on this site in 1884. By 1901 it became a dry goods, boots &
shoes store. By 1909 the store was selling furniture and hardware
and c. 1921 became a bank. McConnell’s 5 & 10 store was here in
the 1940’s until they moved in 1960 to 125 S. Jefferson.
118 W. Marion – A masonry building c. 1884 contained a
dry goods, boots & shoes store. By 1895 it was a drug store and
remained one into the 1920’s. Tucker Drug Store was located here
c. 1940s. They later moved to 100 W. Marion. In the 1950’s 118
W. Marion was a Western Auto store.
120 W. Marion - In 1884, this was a wood-framed
general store. It became a butcher shop c. 1895, a grocery c. 1901
by Frank Dennis, and then back to a butcher shop, c. 1909. By
1921, it was a masonry building and was the Cunningham’s
Grocery 1937-1939 and C.W. Dennis Grocery Store c. 1940s.
Cunningham Grocery – 1937-1939
122 W. Marion – In 1884 this was a wood-framed jewelry
store, until c. 1895 when it became a grocery. It became a
masonry building c. 1909 and was a jewelry store again. With the
increased availability of automobiles, by 1921 it had become an
automobile service center. From 1937-1939 it was the “HomeOwn
Store”, Eatonton’s first retail home furnishings franchise. In the
1950s an auto parts store was located here.
View of Marion Street in the 1950s looking east
124 W. Marion in 1884 was part of the Daniel Slade
Mercantile store. By 1890, it was a grocery and, within five years,
became a clothing store. Less than 5 years after that, c 1901, it
was a grocery and restaurant. By 1909 it had become a masonry
building providing dry goods. It became a restaurant again,
c. 1921. In the 1940s it was Califf’s Department Store. BriarPatch
Office Supply is located here.
N. Madison Ave – In 1840, Daniel Slade’s two story
frame mercantile building was located on a lot including this corner
and the lots at 122-124 West Marion Street. On the corner of W.
Marion and N. Madison was a wood framed building used as a
drug store in 1884. In 1901, it became a grocery store. In 1904
the current building, designed in the Beaux Arts style, was erected
to house the Bank of Eatonton. In 1922, Farmers & Merchants
bank purchased the building when it started business. They
remained at this location until 1962.
Old Bank building at corner of Marion and Madison, 2012
“The Alley” – In 1818 it was platted as a pedestrian
walkway to Daniel Booth Hempstead’s Silver Smith Shoppe. He
also made jewelry and clocks. Hempstead was a native of
Litchfield, CT, as were many of Eatonton’s early merchants and
102 N. Madison – This was an empty lot until c. 1895
when a dry goods store occupied the building. By 1909 it was a
furniture store. In the late 1950s it became the Eatonton Auto
Parts and then the NAPA store which then relocated to S. Oak
104 N. Madison – A billiards hall c. 1884 was in the
masonry building on this site. By 1890 it was a general store and
within five years was a grocery, which it remained until c. 1909
when it was a lunch and pool room. By 1921, it was Rainey’s
Funeral Parlor. Walls Funeral Home was here in the 1940s,
followed by Vining’s Funeral Home until the late 1950s. It then
became Miss Bessie’s Flower Shop.
106 N. Madison – This building was a dry goods store, c.
1890. The building was used as a warehouse, c. 1895 and c. 1909
as a meat market. By 1921, a tailor had his business here. In the
1940s and 1950s it was Knight’s Western Auto store. It was
restored in the 1980s as an aerobics exercise business, “Fit and
Fancy”, and then became the Farm Bureau office.
108 N. Madison – c. 1895, this was first used as a bank
office. In 1909 and into the 1920s it was a millinery store. In the
1940s and early 1950s there was a doctor’s office on the first floor.
In 1953, Whitman & Whitman, attorneys, remodeled the building
into a law office and practiced there until 1991 when the business
closed. It remained unoccupied until recently acquired for
Old Whitman & Whitman law office
Crossing Madison Avenue…
Blackwell’s Furniture Store on N. Madison Avenue
Blackwell’s Furniture encapsulates multiple buildings, including the
old Adele Theater. The original stage and balcony can still be seen
113 N. Madison - The Adele Theater opened on
November 6, 1914 and closed in 1923. Silent movies and traveling
shows were among the most common entertainments shown here.
In the 1940s it was the Eatonton Furniture store.
Formerly the Adele Theater
111 N. Madison - This was a grocery and restaurant in
1909 and also was later used by a cobbler. In the 1940s-1950s, it
became Fuller’s General Store.
109 N. Madison - This was a butcher shop in c. 18901900. In 1909, a NuGrape bottling plant started in the early 1900s.
The name of the drink was later changed to Nehi. In the 1940s1950s, it was the City Hall and also housed the jail and the fire
107 N. Madison – The 1818 Barnes Tavern was located
on these three lots and was the birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris
in 1845. Harris’ mother was the seamstress for the large Barnes
family. The old tavern was torn down in 1864. The Hunt-Rainey
building was built on this site and was initially used as a buggy
assembly facility. The building still has its original elevator.
105 N. Madison – There was a general store here, from
1884-1900. In 1909 there was a clothing store and a barber in the
103 N. Madison – A general store was located here, c.
1884. By 1901 there was a grocery store and in 1921 millinery
shop. In the 1940s-1950s, it was Ashurst Cleaners.
101 N. Madison - On the corner of Madison and Marion,
in 1893, the Rising Star Lodge was built as its second
headquarters and occupied the second floor only. It was
established in 1818. The lodge relocated to a new building on
Highway 16 West in 2011. In 1901, Belvin and Shiver’s drug store
was in the downstairs portion of the building. Deas Furniture Co.
was located here in the mid 1940’s .
c. 1918. The "Morning Social Hour" at Belvin and Shivers Drugstore
Turning the corner onto NW Marion…
113 NW Marion – This building, dating from 1840 is one
of the oldest in Eatonton. It is currently part of Blackwell’s. The
site was a Southern Express office (stage-coach ticket office) as
early as 1813 and remained one into the 1920s. The second floor
was used as the meeting room of the Eatonton’s chapter of the
“Oddfellows Lodge” a national fraternity society.
Crossing Marion Street…
Where the Farmers and Merchants Bank’s parking lot is now
located, was the beautiful wood-framed Hotel Putnam, built in the
elaborate Queen Anne Victorian style. The hotel was begun in
April 1886 and burned down on May 2, 1917.
Postcard of Hotel Putnam was commissioned by the
Dixie Chapter Unite Daughters of the Confederacy in 1908.
The Confederate monument, shown in the picture above, was
unveiled on July 22, 1908 by the Dixie Chapter UDC and originally
sat in the intersection of N. Madison Ave and Marion St. It was
relocated about 50 feet to the east in 1926-27 when the streets
were paved. The monument was manufactured by the famous
McNeel Monument Co. of Marietta Georgia. The base is Georgia
granite and the soldier is carved from Italian Carrara marble.
108 S. Madison - The “new” Eatonton Hotel, designed in
a Classic Revival style, opened on September 20, 1920. They
touted their steam heat and private baths. It went bankrupt in July
1922 and there was a Sheriff’s sale of the contents. New owners
took over in 1923. The hotel sits on the site of the William Williams
House, the first clerk of the Putnam Superior court. The second
term of the Putnam Superior Court was held in the Williams home
in August of 1808. The hotel was later used as the Putnam County
Courthouse Annex until 2012.
The “new” Eatonton Hotel
Sanborn insurance maps (1884, 1890, 1895, 1901, 1909 and 1921)
The Putnam Co. GA – Bicentennial Scrapbook 1807-2007,
The timeline and dates of the development of Putnam County written by James P.
and assembled by the Putnam County Bicentennial Committee
(Located in the Plaza Arts Center museum)
‘Vintage Putnam –The Past in Photographs’
(published by The Eatonton Messenger)
Vanishing Georgia photos from the Digital Archives of Georgia, originally collected
by the Eatonton-Putnam Historical Society, in 1975
With a special thank you to
James P. Marshall, Jr., Putnam County Historian
and Sandra Rosseter