Old Ruskin Church, Ware County, GA

Traveling across Highway 84 in Ware County, Georgia, you’ll see a worn sign with red lettering on the side of the road in Ruskin, an unincorporated community in Waycross.

Off Highway 84.

Off Highway 84.

Looking back down the dirt road (in front of the church).

Looking back down the dirt road and across the tracks (in front of the church).

The “Old Ruskin Church” intrigues a preservationist familiar with John Ruskin’s, The Seven Lamps of Architecture.  Pull over, make a u-turn and turn down the southern dirt road, Griffin Road. Cross the tracks at the curve in the road is the Old Ruskin Church. This darling white church sits quietly beneath the picturesque canopy of long leaf pines, among the fallen pine straw.  On a sunny day, it seemed to be one of the most serene spots to find.

Old Ruskin Church.

Old Ruskin Church.

Perfect southern setting.

Perfect southern setting.

The steeple among the pines.

The steeple among the pines.

Beautiful detail on this little church. And also many bees nests. It's in need of some maintenance.

Beautiful detail on this little church. And also many bees nests. It’s in need of some maintenance.

One more for good measure.

One more for good measure.

The Old Ruskin Church, ca. 1899, belonged to the Ruskin Commonwealth, a Utopian socialist community incorporated in 1899. This community was founded by 240 people who moved near Waycross in 1899 from the Ruskin Colony in Tennessee (1896-1899). As the name suggests, the community was founded on principles of the English social reformer John Ruskin.  See photographs of the community here. Unfortunately, the settlement lasted only a few years, disbanding in 1901 due to poor farming land, poor business ventures, disease and poverty.

Who owns this church? What goes on here? There was no indication. Do you know anything about it? Please share!

Preservation Pop Quiz: Buena Vista, GA edition

It’s been a while since there’s been a Preservation Pop Quiz around these parts. This one is from my travels in Georgia. A group of us attended a local art opening in Buena Vista, GA. The opening took place in a historic building, though the drop ceiling and other modifications hid the original details of the building. But, like the preservationist that I am, I walked around the perimeter of the big room and looked up, staring at a particular corner for a while. Why was this door here and how did it function? I do have the answer to this one, but tell me your impressions first!

First up: the exterior of the building in Buena Vista, GA.

First up: the exterior of the building in Buena Vista, GA.

Storefront of the building.

Storefront of the building.

Exterior of the particular corner that perplexed me.

Exterior of the particular corner that perplexed me.

Interior space for the art opening. Note the fluorescent lights and drop ceiling.

Interior space for the art opening. Note the fluorescent lights and drop ceiling. Corner in question is on the right.

The interior corner, a door.

The interior corner, a door.

Bottom of the door.

Bottom of the door.

Looking up above the door.

Looking up above the door.

Looking up in the same area.

Looking up in the same area.

You can see the door, then the transom, then the ceiling.

You can see the door, then the transom, then the ceiling.

And another interesting feature of this building. Vents beneath the sidewalk.

And another interesting feature of this building. Vents beneath the sidewalk. (Unrelated to the quiz question.)

What do you think?

Shopping Season: AmazonSmile

Did you avoid Black Friday or embrace it? How about Small Business Saturday? My Instagram and Twitter feeds were overflowing with fun images of local shopping. What will you do for Cyber Monday? In our world, many people shop online because of the wider variety available (basically everything) or the convenience or the prices (sometimes true, sometimes not). Online shopping can mean local businesses or small businesses online, websites like Etsy, or, of course, Amazon.

My confession: I shop online, sometimes at Amazon. It’s easy to find anything. Sigh. It’s conflicting. But, I’d still choose Amazon over Walmart. Does anyone else feel that way? Well, here’s something to make you feel a bit better.

If you’re shopping on Amazon on Cyber Monday (or any day, actually) consider going to www.smile.amazon.com. Why? Because if you choose a charitable organization, then 0.5% of your purchase will go to that organization. In Vermont, you can choose the Preservation Trust of Vermont. When you choose your charity, type in “preservation” and many organizations come up for your choosing. The trick is to always remember to sign into AmazonSmile. Read the FAQs here. It’s easy, and no additional cost to you, and will help your favorite organization. Happy shopping!

Happy Thanksgiving

To one and all.

To one and all. Click for original to print. 

To those traveling: drive safely. To all staying home: enjoy the coziness of your abode. To all: hug your loved ones, enjoy some delicious meals, take stock in what you have. Count your blessings. Are you watching the Macy’s Day Parade? Running a turkey trot race? Listening to Alice’s Restaurant? Baking pies? Sleeping? Watching movies? Vacationing? Big plans, quiet plans, or no plans, may you  have a lovely holiday.

I’m thankful for family, friends, flamingos, cats, coffee, fresh air, a cozy home, for all of you and for preservation. Cheers!