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.
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.
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!