Main Street

Main Street highlights independent stores, like the Feed and Seed, which are owned by an individual and thus operated differently from company owned stores such as the Commissary in a mill town.


The commissary was a type of company store that offered basic living materials such as food, clothing, and medicine to workers at sawmills and turpentine stills (as well as at other industrial concerns like coal mines, though not in this area). Sawmills and turpentine camps were generally located in the “backwoods” away from towns or scattered at points along the rail line. This made it difficult for workers in these two industries to obtain goods from a store in town, so the company maintained a store for the workers. Generally, instead of the workers being paid in cash, they received credit in the commissary ledger (or via another means such as scrips or tokens, which they exchanged for items at the company store – somewhat like a primitive charge card system). Any supplies they obtained from the commissary – food stuffs, yard goods, or tools – were charged to their account. Periodically (usually annually), the accounts were tallied. If a worker needed money for something the commissary could not provide, he could request to be paid in cash, but normally the greater part of his business would be conducted at the commissary. Workers often “owed” more to the store than they earned, keeping them in servitude to one company.
The commissary at the GMA was built in 1889 and was run by Toombs Taylor Morgan. The commissary remained in the Morgan family and was last owned by Joseph L. Powell of Vienna, who donated the building to the Agrirama in 1974. Through a careful study of the 1884 commissary ledgers of the Kittrell and Smith Company of Jacksonville, Georgia, the furnishings of the commissary here were planned.

Guest Experiences May Include

Social interactions; Needs and Wants activity; Cash vs. credit systems

The Print Shop is located in the old Tift Commissary Building, which was built in 1886 by Mr. Tift for his sawmill operation. The print shop at the GMA has three main presses. First, the R. Hoe and Company “Washington” Press from 1872 could have been used to print all the items needed in an average small town of this region. A newspaper, simple signs, place cards, and business forms could be printed on this press. Also, in the shop is the 1888 Whitlock Flatbed press. This press was used in Dawsonville, Georgia to print the Dawson County Advertiser until 1952. It is capable of 1200 impressions per hour; however, its speed has been reduced to preserve the press, protect the operators, and reduce the noise for the visitors. It is powered by an electric motor through belt transmission. The electricity to run the press was generated by a steam engine turning a generator. The energy was then stored in batteries until it was needed. This was necessary because of the stop-and-go of the press. The third press, which is behind the Whitlock Flatbed Press, is the 1890 Chandler and Price Old Series or old-style platen job press. This press was used to print small jobs and print sayings.
The print shop here reflects a newspaper editor who got involved with that new invention called the telephone and includes a Kellog switchboard which was donated to the Museum by the Independent Telephone Association of Moultrie. Telephones spread all over the state of Georgia when the patent given to Alexander Graham Bell expired in 1894.

Guest Experiences May Include

Communication including business, industry, and social interactions; Operation and uses of printing presses on-site; Printing demonstrations; Party line telephone demonstrations

Feed & Seed

The next stage of development beyond the company-owned store or commissary was the independent store owner who specialized in the marketing of one class of goods or, perhaps, just one product. The Wiregrass Feed & Seed Store shows this transition in retailing practices that developed in Georgia’s early towns and articulates the history of merchandising operations as they became more specialized and independent of the forest industry entrepreneurs.
The Wiregrass Feed & Seed Store is a single-story, wood-frame structure. It is lighted with electricity utilizing primitive fixtures and exposed wiring. The architectural design is that of a store or commercial building of the late 19th century.

Guest Experiences May Include

Cash vs. credit systems; Advancements and uses of electricity; Seed identification and processing

Vet Infirmary

Dr. Hansel Coy Poitevint, was born in 1914 and graduated from ABAC in Tifton in the 1930’s, then continued on to UGA and to Auburn (then called Alabama Polytechnic Institute.) Dothan Animal Hospital, the oldest continuously operating animal hospital in Dothan, Alabama, was founded in 1943 by Dr. and Mrs. Poitevint.
Dr. Poitevint spend over 50 years of his life in veterinary service, and this exhibit was built in his memory and in honor of his love for ABAC, UGA, Auburn, animals, and vet medicine. The Infirmary features hundreds of veterinary artifacts organized into a vignette representing Poitevint’s office, a barnyard with animals, and his dispensary and surgery area.

Guest Experiences May Include

Veterinary advances

Drug Store

The drug store was owned by the druggist, who received his training by serving an apprenticeship with an established druggist. However, many drug stores were often owned and operated by a local physician who had studied “material medica” during his schooling. After 1881, the State of Georgia required druggists to be licensed by a Board of Examiners. A druggist had to know which drugs to dispense for any number of ailments. At this time all drugs were shipped in raw form and the druggist had to mix his own compounds. Besides selling drugs and medicines in his store, the druggist may have also sold dental preparations, hairbrushes, combs, toilet articles, perfumes, cosmetics, tobacco, cigars, schoolbooks, stationary, and even paint.
The GMA drug store is a reconstruction and not – as many buildings on site are – an original building. The drug store building is considered to be a “professional” building because the upper floor would have housed a dentist, doctor, or lawyer’s office.
The Museum’s Drug Store is the place for ice cream, lunch, or a quick snack during your visit, but don’t forget to stroll around and view the store’s artifacts. Historically, the druggist (today’s pharmacologist) would mix raw medical components to create the proper medicine and dosage. Drug stores sold dental preparations, hair brushes/combs, perfumes, cosmetics, tobacco, cigars, school books, and even paint! This recreation of a late 1800’s store has an upstairs level which includes a lawyer’s office and barber shop.

Guest Experiences May Include

Workings of a professional building, multiple businesses under one roof; Goods and services provided ; Advancements and uses of medicine, products, electricity in the operation of Drugstores; Cash vs. credit system

Lawyer's Office


For more than 40 years, Judge J.L. Sweat had a secure and substantial position as a member of the Georgia Bar. Born September 21, 1847, he lived in Ware County, Georgia for the greater part of his legal career. His career was not only one of unusual length but of a variety of experiences. His professional life and his family legacy are the subject of this two-room exhibit located in the upstairs area of the Drugstore. The exhibit was funded in full by the Sweat Family.

Guest Experiences May Include

Advancements in technology; Class and social order discussions; Government

Barber Shop


Located above the Drug Store adjacent to the Lawyer’s Office, the Barber Shop exhibit represents an early 20th Century Barber Shop and is populated with hundreds of artifacts dating back to the 1800s and stretching into the early 1900s.

Guest Experiences May Include

Barbering demos