Ledger Inquirer: Do you remember Fortson General Store?

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 9, 2012 

This week, we travel north into greater metropolitan Fortson to have a look at what may have once been a busy little general store and post office, just off the railroad tracks.

Today, the old brick building's roof has long since caved in and the brick façade over what must have once been a wood-framed front with windows and an entrance has collapsed into a pile of rubble.

Several rows of bricks atop the boarded-up front lean and sag precariously, just waiting to topple into the pile of masonry, or onto the head of any curious kid who might want to go exploring.

A nearby historic marker mentions a general store and post office in a brick building adjacent to the rail tracks, and the one I photographed last week certainly fits the description.

According to the marker, the area was originally called Blanchard's Crossing and named for the Fortson family in 1885, when the Columbus & Rome Railroad was running through Fortson family land. Thomas W. Fortson established the Fortson General Store and Post Office that same year, then built the brick building in 1904. It remained open and operating until 1963.

Members of the Fortson family still own land across the street, where an old but stately farm house, the Fortson House, sits.

It also sits on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was built in 1858 by Thomas W. Fortson's father, Thomas D. Fortson, a prominent farmer and grist mill owner in the Civil War era.

According to city tax records, the Fortson family still owns the Fortson House, but the plot of land across the street, where the old general store sits, isn't listed on the city website.

Normally, I would call Rebecca Wiggins at the inspections and codes department of the city, and she would list such a building for demolition. But let's take a different approach this week.

I'm going to find out who owns the place, find out if it has any protected status and find out if anyone has plans or interest in doing something other than knocking it over.

If none of the above pans out, Ms. Wiggins can expect a call.

Meanwhile, if you know anything about the old building or if your name is Fortson and you'd like to fill in some gaps, or if you remember going to the store back in the day, drop me a line.

Update

Back in October, Concerned Reader Titus Payne wrote to report a water leak in the grassy right-of-way near the corner of Manchester Expressway and River Road. Not only was it creating a small swamp next to a bus stop, but it was creating a small stream flowing down the hill.

Well, thanks to our friends at the Water Works, specifically Cliff Arnett, senior vice president for water resource operations, the leak is fixed and bus passengers no longer have to keep an eye out for water moccasins.

Seen something that needs fixing? Contact me at mowen@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8570.

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