Vanishing Bronwood - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Vanishing Bronwood

(Source: Brian Brown, vanishingsouthgeorgia.com) (Source: Brian Brown, vanishingsouthgeorgia.com)
(Source: Brian Brown, vanishingsouthgeorgia.com) (Source: Brian Brown, vanishingsouthgeorgia.com)
Now all the buildings are rubble (Source: Steve Robinson) Now all the buildings are rubble (Source: Steve Robinson)

A block in Bronwood is being demolished this week, and it's getting a lot of attention on social media.

That's because the buildings likely built sometime in the early last century represent a time gone by that some folks want to preserve. But, the man who bought the buildings says the blighted structures have been vacant for 30 years.

Residents we spoke with agreed they needed to be taken down.

The old grocery and barber shop were once bustling places, according to Brian Brown of the 'Vanishing Georgia' website. This is the same block of Main Street in downtown Bronwood today, as crews clean up rubble from what was once a grocery, candy store and barber shop, but have sat unused for three decades.

 "It was so unsafe, the floors were rotten, the roof was falling in, and the glass in the front was all broke and hanging," said Bob Rainey, who bought the buildings a few years ago.

Rainey, whose family has operated a used car dealership across the street since the 1960's, bought the block two years ago. "I put two years of thought into this, it didn't happen overnight. There were a couple buildings where the roof was already gone."

Mr. Rainey agreed to show us the demo, and talk about the decision. "I didn't do this thinking that nobody would be mad at me, or disappointed with me.  I take full responsibility for it, but I am just asking people to give me time and get this looking better. "

"I worked there 11 years with Mr. Fred, enjoyed it," said Charles Alligood, who has fond memories of working in the old grocery, but he doesn't miss the buildings.  "They were, everyone, falling, and needed a face lift." So this doesn't bother him?  "No, no! This is gonna be a whole lot prettier."

Rainey told us his plan is to landscape the property, and make it look presentable, he sees an an improvement for his hometown. "I can tell you this, these buildings didn't define who we are. Because if they did define who we are, then we were not a very special people at all."

Rainey says, contrary to rumors online, he does not plan to make the space a used car lot. He says he might park a car there, but he wanted to clean up the blighted buildings and hopes, one day, someone will build something useful for the town with 300 residents.

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