Skip to main content

Lavonia, Georgia Walkabout


The Northeast Georgia City of Lavonia sits only a few miles from Lake Hartwell and the Savannah River.  In 1878, as the railroads continued to expand into the region, the Elberton Air Line Railroad had desired to build a new station near what was known as Aquilla.


A town was laid out; and in 1880, the town of Lavonia was incorporated.  The town is named after Lavnoia Jones, the wife of J.H. Jones who was the president of the Elberton Air Line.  The Elberton Air Line was absorbed into the Southern Railway System in 1908.


The former railroad depot serves as the town's welcome center.  The depot opened in 1912 after the local women's group successfully petitioned the town to rebuild the existing depot at a new location.


Downtown Lavonia's layout is dominated by the railroad.  The railroad runs through the center of the downtown splitting Main Street between Thomas and Burton Streets.  In the center of town, storefronts line both sides of the railroad.

Lavonia is also home to an original Carnegie Free Library.  The Women's Club asked Andrew Carnegie to help assist them in building a town library.  Carnegie donated $5,000 towards construction and in 1911 the library opened.  The library is now part of the Athens Regional Library System.

Lavonia is the birthplace of former Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver.  Vandiver was a former mayor of the town and served as Governor of Georgia from 1959 to 1963.  Vandiver was instrumental in changing the routing of Interstate 85.  During the Interstate's planning stages - I-85 was to run further north.  The original plans for the highway would have 85 roughly parallel US 23 and 123 closer to Gainesville and Toccoa and into South Carolina.  Through political maneuvering, Vandiver changed the routing of I-85 further to the south and paralleling Georgia 59 running just north of Commerce and Lavonia.


Today, Lavonia is a small town of just over 2,100 residents. Lavonia's Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual spring and fall festival in town. In 2019, they held their first Boat Expo along Main Street.
  
All photos taken by post author - March 19, 2019

Further Reading:
  • Lavonia ---Vanishing North Georgia

How To Get There:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Dummy Lights of New York

  A relic of the early days of motoring, dummy lights were traffic lights  that  were  placed  in the middle of a street intersection. In those early days, traffic shuffled through busy intersections with the help of a police officer who stood on top of a pedestal. As technology improved and electric traffic signals became commonplace, they were also  originally  positioned on a platform at the center of the intersection. Those traffic signals became known as  " dummy lights "  and were common until  traffic lights were moved  onto wires and poles that crossed above the intersection.  In New York State, only a handful of these dummy lights exist. The dummy lights  are found  in the Hudson Valley towns of Beacon and Croton-on-Hudson, plus there is an ongoing tug of war in Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, where their dummy light has been knocked down and replaced a few times. The dummy light in Canajoharie is currently out of commission, but popular demand has caused the dummy

Colorado Road (Fresno County)

Colorado Road is a rural highway located in San Joaquin Valley of western Fresno County.  Colorado Road services the city of San Joaquin in addition the unincorporated communities of Helm and Tranquility.  Colorado Road was constructed between 1910 and 1912 as a frontage road of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railway.  The roadway begins at California State Route 145 near Helm and terminates to the west at James Road in Tranquility.   Part 1; the history of Colorado Road Colorado Road was constructed as frontage road connecting the sidings of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railway.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway spanned from South Pacific Railroad West Side Line at Ingle junction southeast to the Coalinga Branch at Armona.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway broke ground during August 1910 and was complete by April 1912. The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway established numerous new sidings.  From Ingle the sidings of the line were Tranquility, Graham, San Joaquin, Caldwell, H

Madera County Road 400 and the 1882-1886 Yosemite Stage Road

Madera County Road 400 is an approximately twenty-four-mile roadway following the course of the Fresno River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Road 400 begins at California State Route 145 near Madera and terminates to the north at Road 415 near Coarsegold.  Traditionally Road 400 was known as "River Road" prior to Madera County dropping naming conventions on county highways.  Road 400 was part of the original Yosemite Stage Route by the Washburn Brothers which began in 1882.  The Yosemite Stage Route would be realigned to the west in 1886 along what is now Road 600 to a rail terminus in Raymond.  Parts of Road 400 were realigned in 1974 to make way for the Hensley Lake Reservoir.  Part 1; the history of Madera County Road 400 Road 400 is historically tied to the Wawona Road and Hotel.  The Wawona Hotel is located near the Mariposa Grove in the modern southern extent of Yosemite National Park.   The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel but it does predate th