This trip will take you down US 41, from the Georgia border to Lake City. It’s another one with mixed emotions for me, as this was part of the last trip I took with Mom. We went the other direction, of course. We went up US 41 all the way to Valdosta, over to Thomasville, then down to Monticello and home. It was a cold February, but the memories of those trips with her will always keep me warm.
OK, the trip. If you come down I-75, you can stop at the Welcome Center for some orange juice and information. If you come down US 41, you may pass through Valdosta. There’s some nice historic stuff in town, but I won’t go into that now. You will almost certainly go through Lake Park, and there’s an NRHP only a couple blocks south of US 41 there. It’s the Ewell Brown General Store, and it’s home to the local history museum. Hours are limited, as it’s operated by volunteers, like many such museums. Check ahead if you want to see inside.
Keep going south. There’s an NRHP farm in the area, but I couldn’t find it. It’s likely too far off the road to see. In about 5 miles you’ll cross the state line and be in Florida. Technically you’re in Jennings now, but you won’t see much for another couple of miles.
There’s not a lot to see in Jennings. I am curious about the history, but haven’t found much of anything about it. There’s a school on the NRHP, and a few spots from AGFHA. There do look to be some older houses north of US 41, so some aimless driving may not be amiss. (see Google map)
- Jennings Post Office (1221 Hamilton Ave (SR 141)) (AGFHA)
- Mercantile Stores (Hamilton Ave (SR 141)) (AGFHA)
- Jennings High School (1291 Florida Street) (NRHP)
- McCall Bates House (SR 150) (AGFHA)
- Apalahoochee Bridge (dirt road off SR 141 (NW 9th Dr, NE of Jennings)) (AGFHA)
You’ll be paralleling I-75 for the next few miles, then US 41 veers east. You’re not going to see much traffic, since most people will use the Interstate. Which means you’ll have the road to yourself, so enjoy the countryside.
I like Jasper. Maybe because it’s bigger than Jennings, so there’s more to see. And they’ve got a nice historic downtown area. Only a couple of NRHPs; the Old County Jail and the United Methodist Church. Also a few sites from AGFHA. I think the Ginning Company Warehouse is the building across from the old jail. Jasper is the county seat of Hamilton County, so I’ve included the courthouse on the itinerary. It’s not historic, though. Looks like it was built maybe 30 or 40 years ago. But if you want to see all the county courthouses in the state, knock yourself out. (see Google map)
- Hamilton County Historical Museum (Old Jail) (501 1st Ave Northeast) (NRHP)
- Jasper Ginning Co. Warehouse (501 1st Avenue Northeast?) (AGFHA)
- W.Y. Sandlin House (Southeast 1st St. and Central Ave.) (AGFHA)
- Hamilton County Courthouse (207 Northeast 1st Street)
- Commercial Bank (102 Hattey Street) (AGFHA)
- Kirby L. Sandlin House (208 1st Ave. SW) (AGFHA)
- W.R. Drury House (306 Central Ave) (AGFHA)
- United Methodist Church (Central Avenue and 5th Street) (NRHP)
You’ve got a long straight road ahead of you. It’s miles and miles of miles and miles. About 17, until you get to White Springs.
I’m really fond of White Springs. It’s just so charming. Most of the central part is a historic district. You’ll find the historic buildings near US 41, farther off are mostly mobile homes. Still, it’s got a state park information center, with an old bath house behind it from the days when the area was a resort. Check out the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, too. If you time it right, you’ll hear the carillon tower bells. (see Google map)
- Camp House (US 41 and Camp Street) (AGFHA)
- White Springs Historic District (Roughly bounded by River, First, Suwannee, and Hewitt Streets, FL 25A, US 41 and Suwannee River) (NRHP)
- Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park (US 41 and Steven Foster Drive)
- Nature and Heritage Tourism Center (corner of Bridge Street and Spring Street (US 41))
- Bath House Site (behind Tourism Center) (AGFHA)
- Johns House (CR 135 and Adams Memorial Drive) (NRHP)
There’s another state park outside the city limits, Big Shoals. Not signed at all, so it’s a dickens to find unless you have a map. Apparently it’s popular with rafters, since there are rapids along the river.
- Big Shoals State Park
- Big Shoals Public Lands State Forest
According to AGFHA, there are tobacco barns scattered around the county. If so, I haven’t seen any along US 41. If anyone knows where some of them are, could you let me know? If you jog over to US 441, you’ll find the Corinth Methodist Church. I stumbled on it accidently while in search of the Goodbread-Black Farm Historic District. Didn’t find that, but the church was a pleasant surprise. The . Ironic that later I found that the church was in AGFHA. Sometimes it’s worth zigging when you think you should be zagging.
Back to US 41, and off the road somewhat is another old church, Falling Creek. The church and cemetery are on the NRHP. Another old wooden church that’s in excellent condition. The cemetery is rather small, and covered by trees. It’s a quiet spot, so walk around and think of what the lives of the people here were like. (see Google map)
- Corinth Methodist Church (Corinth Road) (AGFHA)
- Goodbread-Black Farm Historic District (Off Corinth Road, south of Suwannee River, east of US 41, west of US 441) (NRHP)
- Falling Creek Methodist Church and Cemetery (CR 131, 6 miles northwest of Lake City (NRHP)
That’s it for now. See you on the road!
Route length: 60 miles