A recent trip down memory lane

As a child I remember visiting with family members all over Southwest Georgia. Some lived a little closer by than others, so you would see them a little more often.

Recently I decided to visit the little town of Richland, GA. Granted, I do pass through the town on occasion, but that’s just it… passing through. But this time I just took the time to ride around and take a few pictures, all the while telling a little story to my youngest daughter. I would say… this is where “somebody” lived, or ask did she remember some of the family or friends that lived there? Good memories flooded my mind as we drove by the old housing projects. I pointed out where my Aunt Clara and her daughter Frances had lived. Across the way was where her son and his family had lived. Behind them was the Wilder family and around the corner were the Cobb’s. All were very dear to me! Some are gone now, but other family members still live in the area.

Just up the road the old Stewart Webster hospital still sits. It holds a ton of memories. One of which is of my cousins, Sybil and Betty. Their mother was a nurse there for years. It’s the only time I ever heard of taking your children to work with you when they got sick! Of course there are the sad memories there too… that’s where my mother was when she passed away.

Not too far away is a house that Bob Wooley built. Actually he built another right next door. Now if walls could talk, the old house could tell some stories. Mr. Bob was a real character, a good Christian man, and loved by many.

But that’s not the house that I always remember when I think of Richland. When we would go to visit my Aunt Clara, we had to pass by this little house that at the time was built just for this elderly couple whose kids were grown and gone from home. The man was a friend of my Dad’s. The house was located at the railroad tracks, so you couldn’t miss it, because you had to stop before crossing the tracks. I’m guessing that this little house stuck in my head all my life and I still love little houses today.

Jim Walter home

Jim Walter home in Richland

The house belonged to Mr. & Mrs. Bryant. Apparently, he got so many people’s attention that he painted a little sign and put in his front yard… “Suits Us!”. I never forgot that sign. Now as I said, there were only two people who lived there, so why would you have NEED of a huge house and along with it… the upkeep and utilities! Made sense to me… even as a child.

I guess that was the first Jim Walter house that I remember and it still stands today! The second one that I remember was just south of Lumpkin. It didn’t get the same TLC and last time I looked it was falling in.

A little about Jim Walter homes… Jim Walter Homes started out as shell homes, specifically designed so that the house structure itself is secure and water tight, but the inside is just framework left unfinished for the owners to complete the work themselves. The home-building company was started in 1946 by James W. Walter Sr. of Tampa, Florida. Jim Walter conceptualized the idea of building unfinished, affordable homes for families who owned some land but were unable to raise enough cash or down payment for a home mortgage. The scheme was a success, and the company expanded rapidly to take in other business, including building material companies and mortgage financing.

In 2009 however, Walter Industries, now the parent company of Jim Walter Homes, announced the closure of the home-building subsidiary, putting an end to more than 6 decades of inexpensive home construction. Despite being “America’s largest builder of single-family, on-your-lot homes” for several years, the company had not been turning up a profit for some time, prompting Walter Industries to concentrate on its other businesses.

So sad… with the “tiny homes” becoming so popular now, seems to me, these homes would have been perfect for this economy!

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