Tuesday, March 14, 2006

greystones tumblin down

As long as I can remember, the group of stone buildings have occupied the corner of highways 5 and 108 in Jasper. The main route north from Atlanta was old highway 5 (before the 4-lane arrived). Family and friends would come up highway 5 and turn right at the stone motel on their way to the mountain cabin. Not long ago, one of the cousins was trying to remember how to get here and said, "Do you still go up to Jasper and turn right at the old stone motel?"

The Archer Hotel stood on this site until it burned in 1947. People would get off the train at the depot and cross Burnt Mountain Road to stay at the hotel. There was a large dining room, and the boarders were treated to Mrs. Archer's famous fried chicken. Mrs. Roxie Archer, a young widow with two children, had purchased the hotel in the 1920s. After the hotel burned, she decided to rebuild, this time a motor court. Motor courts were becoming popular since the war and usually amounted to a group of small tourist cabins. Possibly because of the memory of the recent fire, Archer Court was solidly constructed, two-story buildings faced with flagstone, Jasper's first motel. Mrs. Archer ran Archer Court until the 1970s. For a while after that, it was called Greystone Village, shops and apartments. It has been empty for some time now, windows shattered, running down.

Now the sign says a new Walgreen's drug store is coming soon. Right across the street from the new Eckerd's drug store, a block up from CVS drug store, and a couple blocks from Jasper Drugs. Who knew there was such a need for drug stores in this little town!

"The old Archer Court just waits now. A wrecking crew will come and level the place and make way for something new. Cleared down to red dirt, the old, old land will again give a place for dreams to rise. Decades after a new drugstore is steeled and mortared and its broad lot paved, wreckers will come again. Their leveling work will make way another time for something new. And scratching the earth, they will turn over shards of flagstone, never guessing they are touching pieces of a dream that belonged to a woman they never knew." - Jeff Warren, from the newspaper article in Pickens Progress - "A History of Greystone Village, Archer Court"


Motherkitty said...

Time marches on. One day, a century or two from now, some archeologist might dig in the area and find all sorts of artifacts. He will wonder about who lived and died there and what sort of people would devour lots of chicken then take lots of drugs.

jellyhead said...


Soon I will know more about the history of your locale than of mine! Great to read, as usual.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Thanks for telling us the history of that stone building. I often wonder about old buildings still standing as I pass them...but you take the time to find their history and pass it on to us. Thank you.

Pretty soon that area will be unrecognisable and new generations will inhabit the area...a renewal of the land.
I, like MK above, often wonder what archeologists will dig up in centuries to come and what they will think of their findings.

Finn said...

Really neat post Susan, a looking forward, looking back. I know so many who have absolutely no desire or respect for the past. I believe understanding where we came from is pivotpoint for where we are going.

Seeing Anew said...

Gee, that stone motel looked like it could have been a great place for shops and a quaint tea house or coffee shop. I wonder if anyone has ever studied this proliferation of drug stores as a sociological trend. Drugs are just a small part of what they sell -- beverages, ready-to-eat food, and household items are bigger sections. And any more in the grocery store, I see more and more ready-to-eat foods. I wonder if the supermarkets won't be ultimately replaced by so many smaller "drug" stores, that sell our meals ready-to-nuke in the microvave.

doubleknot said...

It seems a shame that another piece of history is to be leveled. That was an interesting story about it.
We have the same thing down here with the drugstores - seems they want to put one on every corner. The Wal Greens I have used for years is small and they are getting ready to build a bigger one on a corner across from it. With the CVS and the new Wal Mart opening soon and the drugstores just down the street oh yes Winn Dixie our grocery store has a drugstore in it too - are we all taking that many drugs? I know I have to stay on my medication but sometimes I wonder if I really need it all.

Judith said...

How sad. I love the stone building photo & history. Nice post to read. I regret we will all look the same wherever we go in the future.