Longtime Hall County residents are familiar with the names of unincorporated crossroads communities such as Blackshear Place, Price, Brookton, Quillians, The Glades and Chestnut Mountain, which once was known as Chestnut Hill.
The earliest maps of the county, however, listed dozens of other place names or landmarks that have since vanished with time.
For instance, as late as 1915 a place called Time was listed on a map between The Glades, which still exists between Lula and Brookton, and Dewberry at the intersection of Clark’s Bridge Road and Glade Farm Road. There’s a War Hill in Dawson County, but the same name was between Gainesville and Maysville on an 1865 map. Trust was on an 1899 map between Dip, which is now Clermont, and The Glades.
Absalom in 1915 was a place in South Hall between Gainesville and the Chattahoochee River. Arcadia was east of Gainesville, and Argo was in North Hall. In 1865, Big Wahoo was a community south of Murrayville, which, by the way, was formerly called Murray’s Ville. Bushville was in east Hall County.
There apparently were post offices, most likely in country stores, in Cobell, Galleys, Gowan, Smitum, Rives and New Peru, among others.
Some places carried unusual names, and one wonders where they came from: Dandy near Clermont; Duane Street on Mud Creek near the Chattahoochee River; Ethel between the Chattahoochee and Chestatee rivers in northwest Hall; Falls on the Chattahoochee in northeast Hall; Land near the White County line; Lomonville; Luck off Clark’s Bridge Road; and Motan between Sugar Hill and Candler. Incidentally, Sugar Hill in Hall County is on U.S. 129 south of Gainesville, while the incorporated Sugar Hill is in Gwinnett County.
Rancher was on the Middle Oconee River near Chestnut Mountain, Seven Islands was on the Chattahoochee River in North Hall, Sloans was near Flowery Branch, Stoboland was in northwest Hall.
Odell’s is where Oakwood is today, named after the family that remains prominent in that area. There also used to be an Oakland in Hall County. Other places that have disappeared from modern maps include Garland, Gower Springs, Mauldin Mills southwest of Flowery Branch, Porters, Red Lane, Shallow Ford, Strickland, Winns Ferry, Wooley’s Ford on the Forsyth-Dawson-Hall line, Youngs, Grove Level, Jarrett, Johnstown, Hudgins, Davie and Federal Crossing.
Limestone Springs became New Holland. New Bridge is the name of a Baptist Church on Cleveland Road, but there once was a New Bridge community on the Chestatee River. Oconee Mills was on the Oconee River in southeast Hall.
Some communities became the names of militia districts or voting precincts: Polksville, Clinchem, Whelchel, Glades, Bark Camp and Candler. Klondike appears on some maps between Candler and Belmont. There also is a Klondike in DeKalb County.
Some of the stops of the old Gainesville & Northwestern Railroad included the Hall County communities of New Holland, Autry, Dewberry, Brookton, Clermont, County Line and Campground, referring to Mossy Creek Campground near the Hall-White counties line. The train stopped in White County at Leo, Cleveland, Asbestos, Yonah and Nacoochee before ending at Helen and Robertstown.
The Gainesville and Northwestern Railroad formed 100 years ago, primarily to haul timber from the saw mill in Helen to Gainesville, where it could be connected to other trains to other destinations.
Passenger cars were added, boosting Helen as a tourist attraction. It was a new and convenient way to get to the mountains. The railroad actually ran to Helen in 1913, but was extended to Robertstown in 1915.
When the timber business dwindled, it drastically reduced revenue for the railroad. It couldn’t sustain passenger service, and part of the line was abandoned in 1927, the remainder in 1934.
Warren Jones grew up along railroad tracks at New Holland. He developed a keen interest about railroads, especially the steam engine era. He has researched history of the various area railroads and recently wrote a ballad about the old Gainesville and Northwestern to mark the 100th anniversary of its founding. It takes the listener on a stop-by-stop ride along the route from Gainesville through Cleveland into the mountains at Helen.
Only trouble is he needs somebody to put the music to the words. Jones, professor emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times and can be reached at 2183 Pinetree Circle NE, Gainesville, GA 30501. His column appears Sundays and at gainesvilletimes.com/johnny.