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

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

Former US Route 101 and California State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo

Originally US Route 101 upon descending Cuesta Pass southbound entered the City of San Luis Obispo via Monterey Street.  From Monterey Street US Route 101 utilized Santa Rosa Street and Higuera Street southbound through downtown San Luis Obispo.  Upon departing downtown San Luis Obispo US Route 101 would have stayed on Higuera Street southward towards Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande.  Notably; beginning in 1934 US Route 101 picked up California State Route 1 at the intersection of Monterey Street/Santa Rosa Street where the two would multiplex to Pismo Beach.  Pictured below is the 1 935 Division of Highways Map of San Luis Obispo County depicting the original alignments of US Route 101 and California State Route 1 in the City of San Luis Obispo.   Part 1; the history of US Route 1 and California State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo lies at the bottom of the Cuesta Pass (also known as the Cuesta Grade) which has made it favored corridor of travel for centuries.  Cuesta Pass

Former California State Route 1 over Old Pedro Mountain Road

California State Route 1 in western San Mateo County traverses the Montara Mountain spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  In modern times California State Route 1 passes through Montara Mountain via the Tom Lantos Tunnels and the highway is traditionally associated with Devils Slide.  Although Devils Slide carries an infamous legacy due it being prone landslides it pales in comparison to the alignment California State Route 1 carried prior to November 1937 over Old Pedro Mountain Road.   Old Pedro Mountain Road opened to traffic in 1915 and is considered one of the first major asphalted highways in California.  Old Pedro Mountain Road clambers over a grade from Montara towards Pacifica via the 922 foot high Saddle Pass.  Pictured above an overlook of Old Pedro Mountain Road facing southward towards Montara as it appears today.  Pictured below it the same view during June 1937 when it was part of the original alignment of California State Route 1.  Today Old Pedro Mountain sits abandoned a