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LIMERICK
by scottbthompsonsr
 Pieces of Our Past
Jan 12, 2010 | 2092 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

 

 

There once was a town called Limerick.

Dreamers hoped it would prosper and quick.

Electric cars and lights,

Factories within all sights.

But soon the money died and so did Limerick.

 

Okay, after that hapless attempt at limericking, here is the story of the brief life of Limerick, Georgia. To understand how Limerick came to be, or almost came to be, we must go back to the early years of the 19th Century.

Situated at the northwestern corner of Montgomery County was the place where an old Indian trail running from Indian Springs to Savannah crossed the Oconee River. The old timers called this place "Sandbar." There was sand everywhere - primarily along the bluffs of the east bank of the river. When the river was low, there sand bars crept into the water. You can still see the sand on the banks and well inland, if you know where to look.

When Georgia seized control of the lands west of the Oconee River, she created more counties, one of which was named Laurens. The land around Sandbar and east of the river was annexed into Laurens County in 1811. Dublin, the new county seat, was situated on a high ridge opposite Sandbar.

For decades, Sandbar was nothing more than the place where travelers crossed the ferry into Dublin. But, when the railroads came in the 1880s, so did the speculators. Dr. R.H. Hightower owned the best high lands, some 341 acres between Keen's Mill Creek and the Savannah Road. When the rails of the Dublin and Wrightsville Railroad were laid to the river bank in 1886, Hightower's land became instantly and immeasurably valuable. Protracted litigation ensued over the railroads' rights and endeavors on the east side before the railroad bridge and passenger bridges were completed in 1891.

In the spring of 1896, Thomas M. Cunningham, treasurer of the Central of Georgia Railroad, led the formation of Oconee Investment Company. W.W. Mackall, Walter Charlton and several others joined in the venture to capitalize on Dublin's explosive growth.

By the end of the 19th Century, Dublin had grown into one of the state's largest metropolitan areas. With cotton related businesses as the core of the city's economy, factories of Agra-related businesses sprang up between the center of town and the river. One of these factories was the Dublin Hame Works, where J.A. Spain and his employees had a fine business supplying local farmers with hames for their horses and mules.

At the dawn of the 20th Century, Oconee Investment Company announced its plans to establish a new town, Limerick, which they named after Ireland's fourth largest city. The owners of the company hired Spain to run their new enterprise. For any businessman, property taxes and license fees are always crucial issues. Spain began to think of ways that he and the other factory owners like him could minimize their cost of doing business. The owners logically deduced that if they owned their own town, they could exempt factories from taxes and license fees as they saw fit. Cunningham, on the other hand, also knew that his company could erect warehouses, which new factories could use to store raw materials or finished goods, all of which would hopefully be shipped in and out of Dublin by his railroad.

The owners of the new company devised a scheme to build a new town on their land opposite Dublin. To survive, any town needs people. Plans were drawn to lay out streets and set aside neighborhoods where new residents could buy or rent homes. New families would require new schools and new churches.

City dwellers need infrastructures. The company promised that an artesian well would be dug to tap into the vast underground caverns of pure spring water in the area. A sufficient series of water works was designed to get water to the factories, homes, schools and churches.

Manager Spain made arrangements to establish electrical service throughout the new town. Before a single gasoline-powered automobile ever clinked and clanked in the city, the promoters of Limerick were promising prospective Limerikians that they could ride into their sister city on fancy new electric cars. To sweeten the deal, newcomers were lured with the promise of "every conceivable convenience they could imagine."

Cunningham, Spain and Mackall wanted everyone to know that they bore no animosity toward Dublin. Moreover, the opposite was true. They hoped that Limerick's industries would compliment and further accelerate Dublin's business boom. They just didn't want to pay their taxes into the Emerald City's pots of gold.

For some unknown reason, the town of Limerick never came to pass. Dublin's Prussian entrepreneur and honorary Count, H.E. Kreutz, paid $300.00 for a half dozen lots. James Brack bought the land where his house was. The bulk of the lands were sold for $2500.00 to Mrs. Fannie Brady in 1906. Brady hoped to capitalize on the idea of new a town. Jackson, Madison, and Marion Streets were extended into the new town. The old road leading east from the ferry was renamed Savannah Avenue. Five north-south avenues, numbered one through five, were laid out.

Mrs. Brady's plans also never materialized. She sold the bulk of the western part of East Dublin to Dublin attorney G.H. Williams in 1927. Williams took the plans for a new city a step further. He hired a surveyor and laid out 25' x 100' lots for small houses and larger lots for commercial enterprises. New north-south streets were Park, Maloney, Felder and Dorsey. East-west streets beginning at the railroad and going north were Bowery, Jackson, Macon, and Dudley.

The third attempt to make a city out of Limerick was somewhat successful. Twenty-five years later, the place they once called Sandbar, North Dublin and even "Booger Bottom," and hoped to call "Limerick," would officially and forever be known as East Dublin.

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