Saturday, October 3, 2015

Saving History One Piece At A Time by Tori Bailey

Drive along any main street in Georgia and there is a guarantee that stately homes of a time when cotton fueled the economy can be admired. These master pieces are as beautiful as a Southern Belle in her finest crinoline and layers of ruffles. But for each of these preserved dwellings, there are those that stand abandoned and often destined to be destroyed through deterioration or demolition.
The demand for antique architecture is making these homes a needed resource.  “I started working on restoring old homes and couldn’t find period pieces.  That is when I began taking down old houses and stock piling them.” Jimmy Poss has been salvaging old houses for thirty-years.  He has helped restore and relocate several houses, including log cabins. 
   He and his wife, Peggy Sue, own Neat Pieces in Carlton, Georgia.  The two met when Peggy Sue came to Neat Pieces looking for heart of pine lumber for a restoration project.  That first meeting was thirteen years ago. Together, they continue their pursuit in preserving the architectural history of older homes and structures. “We have a church built in the 1850’s in a trailer. In another trailer we have a complete house.”  Most of our finds come from word of mouth. Peggy Sue continued to share how they have collected the majority of their inventory. “Someone will contact us after a death. The family doesn’t know what to do with the estate.  We will go, look at it, and make an offer for the entire estate. A lot of times, we only have a few days to go in and get everything.”
 Neat Pieces occupies a row of turn of the century brick buildings that was the location for two banks, hardware store, a grocery store and a druggist.  A covered walkway that once allowed locals to window shop is a glimpse to what is inside each section.  “Just blur your eyes.”  Peggy Sue will advise with her South Georgia accent. “It can be overwhelming.”  While each section is filled with treasures waiting to be discovered, there is a sense of organization.  The space that was once the drugstore is where booklovers can peruse old titles.  Another section is dedicated to vintage clothing.
Venture to the side yard where a wooden railroad car built in the 1870’s is located.  “We found it in Washington, Georgia.  It used to be part of the line that ran between Washington, Elberton and Lincolnton.  We’ve salvaged a third of the car that once consisted of a passenger and mail/baggage section.  The interior is mahogany and the exterior is cypress. I have the original green stained glass that goes in the upper section.”  Jimmy has received a lot of interest in the train car, including a possible use of turning it into a tiny house on wheels.
“I’m not sure where the antique bug came from.  But, I love antiques.”  Jimmy confessed.  If it is a need for heart of pine lumber, period hardware for a dresser, door knob, or a stroll down memory lane, Jimmy and Peggy Sure will probably have it.  “A man visiting from France once told us buy no more, you need to sell.”  Peggy Sue paused and smiled.  “How can we say no to salvaging history one piece at a time.”
Jimmy and Peggy Sue Poss. The met over some Heart of Pine and have been sharing their passion for architectural salvage and antiques for the past fourteen years.
1850 Cypress and Mahogany Railroad Car that was found in Washington, Georgia.
The walkway provides a preview to the treasures located inside. Each section has its own theme ranging from architectural, hardware, vintage clothing, books, and antiques.
Neat Pieces is located at 5769 Highway 72 E, Carlton, Georgia 30627
Hours: Thursday - Sunday 10 to 5 pm
About The Author
Tori Bailey is a regular contributor to Georgia Home and Life and a contributing writer for the Georgia Connector magazine.  She has published two novels, Coming Home – A Second Chance at Goodbye and Ethel’sSong.  Her third book, Love Made from Scratch, is set for release in May, 2016.  She lives in the Athens area with her two rescue cats.  Follow Tori’s Facebook page Tori Bailey Ink or visit her website. Learn more about the author on her Amazon Author Page.
Meet Tori this Saturday, October 3rd, at the Braselton Gallery October Local Writer's Showcase from 1 - 3 pm.