Industrial Sites Complex

The Industrial Complex on the west end of Main Street showcases businesses that played vital roles in the daily lives of those individuals in a mill town within the Wiregrass Region.

Train Depot


The Montezuma Railroad Depot was built most likely between 1895 and 1905, and was a “prefab” building- a common means of constructing the depots used by the early railroads to keep up with the rapid pace of railroad expansion. The Depot was donated to the museum by the Seaboard Coast Line. The Depot was restored on site and includes artifact-populated freight warehouse space, waiting rooms, ticket offices, telegraph office. The exhibit includes a loading train platform and a fully operational water tower outside.

Saw Mill

The sawmill is typical of the small mill operations throughout the wiregrass region that, during the 1890s, cleared large tracts of virgin yellow pine in Georgia and then moved on into Florida and Alabama, following the timber supply. Small “portable” mills like this one made it easy for the lumbermen to move with the timber supply. The use of the tram steam engines made it possible to get the inland timber to sawmills and then to market.
After the loggers felled a tree in the woods, it was picked up with a high-wheel log cart and the whole tree was taken to the sawmill yard, where it was cut into saw lengths. This was called the Georgia System of logging. In other places, the logs were cut – or bucked – into the correct lengths in the woods. The Museum’s sawmill is powered by an 1892 Atlas 25 horsepower steam engine which uses a boiler to heat water into steam and is then sent to the steam engine to move a piston. The piston then turns a flywheel. A belt is connected from the flywheel to the saw, which cuts the timber into lumber. A sawmill like the one at the Museum had a maximum daily output of about 10,000 board feet.
The 1892 Deloach No. 1 ½ circular sawmill powered by an 1892 Atlas twenty-five horsepower steam engine was originally used in Appling County and was donated to the Museum by Gene Collins of Thompson, Georgia.
Note: The sawmill cuts the wood for their barrels.
The Museum’s sawmill represents a typical 1890s small mill operation after the steam engine was invented. This new invention allowed mills to move from a location with running water to a location within the woods, closer to their raw material. Small ‘portable’ mills like this one made it easy for lumbermen to move with the timber supply. The Museum’s sawmill runs during special events.

Guest Experiences May Include

Sawmill operation demonstrations; Timber prep/ wood finishing demonstrations

Turpentine Still

The turpentining, or naval stores, industry came to the wiregrass region of Georgia in the early 1870s. This industry moved to the region (known for its longleaf pines) from the piney woods area of North Carolina, where the best timber had been worked out (meaning that the trees were no longer useful for turpentining). The work of turpentining started in the woods, where crews of men, usually black laborers, worked year-round under the supervision of a foreman, called a woodsrider, to collect the gum (or sap) used to make turpentine and rosin.
The still components located at the GMA were donated by Beverly and Lonnie H. Pope, while other pieces of equipment and still parts were donated by a great many people throughout Georgia, Florida, and Virginia.
Note: I have a bunch of stats about how much turpentine they produce if you want them.
This still is typical of the stills in the 1890s. The resin or ‘gum’, collected from pine trees, was processed through stills to create turpentine (the oil) and rosin (the amber colored solid). Both products were sold at market in Savannah or Brunswick, Georgia. Visit the Museum during April’s Folk Life Festival to see the turpentine still fired up and try some rosin baked potatoes!

Guest Experiences May Include

Turpentine processing demonstrations; Production of turpentine-based products

Cooper Shed

Located within close proximity to the turpentine still area of operation, the Cooper’s Shed, housed a skilled artisan specializing in making wooden barrels, casks, buckets, tubs, troughs and other staved containers from timber. The cooper also produced wooden implements, such as rakes and shovels.

Guest Experiences May Include

The art of coopering; Production demonstrations of utensils, casks, drums, and barrels

Knight Cabin

Named after the family who built the cabin in the 1870s, the Knight Cabin represents living quarters for two single (unmarried) turpentine still workers, complete with furnishings. It features wood foundation piers, a cantilever roof/porch on front and back, a chimney made of mud and sticks, wooden shingles, shutters and doors, and wood chinking.
Ben Crum of Nashville, Georgia located the cabin in the Teeterville Community of Lanier County and donated both the cabin and the funds necessary to begin the restoration process. With the help of fellow contributors Jean Iris Street, Tasha Looney, Jane Alice Markum, and Walt Turner, the Knight Cabin was purchased, disassembled log by log, and then reassembled and restored at its new location at the Museum site.

Guest Experiences May Include

Leisure, art and cultural demonstrations; Cooking demonstrations

Blacksmith Shop

A blacksmith’s shop was a necessity in most towns and villages, along with mills and logging operations. Blacksmithing was a trade specializing in fabricating objects out of iron by hot and cold forging. The diverse tasks of a blacksmith required more than one skill set and often included farrier work and carpentry. In the Blacksmith Shop an immense variety of common objects for everyday life were made: nails, screws, bolts, agricultural implements, tools, and horse shoes.
Many of the larger sawmills and some towns in the wiregrass area had woodworking shops commonly called variety works. The function of these small establishments was simply to manufacture a variety of wood products for the community. The variety works usually did not mass produce items, but instead produced only what was ordered by members of the community.
Note: Variety works is simply the woodworking area with an actual one bedroom woodworkers apartment in the back. They actually make things here like bowls that they sell at the country store.

Guest Experiences May Include

Handcrafted metalwork; Farm and animal implement and tool making demonstrations

Variety Works

Many of the larger sawmills and some towns in the wiregrass area had woodworking shops commonly called variety works. The function of these small establishments was simply to manufacture a variety of wood products for the community. The variety works was capable of producing anything made of wood, the only limit being the creativity of the craftsmen who worked there. The variety works usually did not mass-produce items, but instead produced only what was ordered by members of the community. Building materials such as doors, sashes, blinds, and molding were the most commonly produced items.

Guest Experiences May Include

Handcrafted wooden products; Steam power and its effect on labor and industry; Woodworking demonstrations