Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shiloh Cemetery and Road

Remember when Sandhill Lake was so accessible? One time it was a State Public Fishing Area. Fifty years ago the dam and wooden bridge were passable. Many roads branched out from both sides of the dam.

If your computer is fairly high speed go to Google Maps, type in 30457 on the search strip, use the satellite version, and use the tools to move and enlarge to study the Sandhill Lake area.

Slide around on the sector between I-16, US 221, Crooked Run Road, and GA 86 to see all the scenic dirt roads that the public used to enjoy that are now closed. You won't find it on published maps, but it's still on Google.

The construction of I-16 cut many dirt roads. A few frontage roads were built to connect some of the old dirt roads, but some became dead-end roads. As time went on, farms were sold and consolidated, and tilled land turned into planted trees. The satellite maps clearly show planted pines at various stages and scattered large pines indicating old forests.  As single owners acquired property on each side of a dirt road, the county commissioners closed roads. One justification was that it benefited the land owner who acquired the road at no charge, and the county which had one road less to maintain; no harm except for those who love to travel dirt roads.  One might question what the county did with the money saved by the reduced maintenance.

Although it is not shown on the new county map, Shiloh Cemetery Road is still open all the way to the Cemetery, but a bank of dirt stops travel just beyond the Cemetery. The pictures show a few scenes typical of what one would see on the many dirt roads of the past.

Shiloh Cemetery overlooking Sand Hill Lake

An old gravestone Laura Martin Youngblood

"As the twig is bent, so the tree grows." 

Although the road dead ends, vehicles still meet.

Approved by Marlee


Chuck Hutcheson said...

Growing up "on the hill", we walked this dirt road many times. One night we put out a fire by someone who had carelessly thrown out a cigarette, and saved Mr. Gillis a lot of timber on his side of the road. Today, our family still has most of the land between the cemetery dirt road and the lake to the right.

I remember when fishing season came in during the late 70's & early 80's and the lake 'opened', the road would be crowded with dozens of vehicles lining the back side of the lake. I remember my late Papa, W.T. Hutcheson, catching big slab bream off the concrete bridge. It was always a treat to walk down to the bridge and fish, especially when the weather was good.

My granny, the late Pauline Hutcheson (wife of W.T.), used to talk of swimming in the lake, even water skiing when the lake was first opened. They even had baptisms on numerous occasions. My daddy used to dive off the old platform there in the swimming hole on the south side of the old bridge. Papa's old place had two big fields, where he would farm about half and keep cows on the other half. Now those fields are planted pines. Some of the timber on the old place has been cut & thinned.

When the state built I-16, it split papa's land. When living on the south side of I-16 (before it was built) my dad and his best friend Andy Hooks used to run or bicycle down to the lake as kids, and they would shower under the spillway after working in the tobacco fields. At the time it was an excellent way to wash off the tar. Andy Hooks, along with his oldest sister and parents, still live in that location on the dirt road that I-16 split.

Back before all the planted pines grew up on the far side of the lake, we could look out our front door and see the vehicles traveling on I-16, and we could even see lights from the Hooks' residences at night across I-16. But then the trees grew, and you could only hear the faint traffic noise of all the vehicles on I-16.

Growing up on the lake, we fished there dozens of times, fishing off the Crooked Run Road concrete bridge, fishing from where our land bordered the lake, fishing from the old wooden bridge, fishing with rooster-tails below the spillway in the snake-infested black-water Pendleton Creek, and even swimming with the moccasins on occasion. I remember helping Papa (W.T.) and driving his old green Dodge pickup over that old wooden bridge loaded down with firewood. That was in the late 70's, early 80's. It used to be a superb bridge for fishing, rather sturdy, with wooden guard rails along the side.

There used to be a "store / house" that was on the back side of the lake, the kind where the tenants lived upstairs and ran the bait & general store downstairs. I talked with a woman recently here in Telfair County whose grandmother used to be married to the man who ran that store, and they were related to Hutchesons, though I forget how she described their relation. Of course, the store was a few decades ago since its use. I remember some folks living there by the name of Keene, and after they left the building was torn down.

One final story... My dad's grandpa was crossing the old wooden bridge off Crooked Run Road (not the bridge on the backside of the lake), pulling a mule & trailer loaded down with grain, and something spooked that mule and ended up dumping all that grain in the lake. You can see where the land juts out where the old road used to cross the water just off the bridge that is there now.

It was always beautiful on the hill, and still is. My Aunt Brenda (Hutcheson) Lamb and Uncle Henry live in the house daddy built, and have since renovated it a couple of times. You never forget and long for the place where you grew up. Maybe one day I'll live there again.

Tony Clark said...

Chuck i read your post and it brougt back memories. i was the last to live in the 2 story house on the lake along with my family. the house waas burnt down by some body years after we moved.