Outside Dahlonega, Ga the roads twist through rugged mountains, roll through pasture land and cross numerous streams and rivers. Old cabins, derelict store fronts and worn out barns occasionally punctuate the area and stand ,for a little while longer anyway, as testament to a hardscrabble way of life that slips further into the past everyday. At times, however, it’s possible to come across a preserved, relic of this past.
You could drive by the place a hundred times and never realize that a time capsule sits inside what appears to be a plain ol’ house. If it weren’t for the sign outside that said “Historic Beasley’s Grocery Store” you certainly wouldn’t think to stop, but the fresh produce, fried pies and boiled peanuts likely will tempt you to stop. The friendly Jimmy Snyder sits comfortably on the porch waiting to greet visitors to the humble place. Though he doesn’t own the place he does help keep it open for curious visitors through his presence. The old grocery store (which is no longer a business) waits behind an old wooden door decorated with Dental Snuff advertisements. The old store is all wood, from floor to walls to ceiling and is no bigger than a typical living room. Though a few modern objects are stored in the room, it feels as though you are stepping back into the 1940’s. An old chart depicting the value of various processed foods is dated back to October, 1943. Beneath a shelf, a calender for the years 1943 and 1944 still clings to the wall.
When the store first opened in 1938, it was Bonnell Beasley who ran the place. According to an article written in the Gainesville Times by Leo Flynn in 1995, Mrs. Beasley and her husband would drive to Gainesville, Ga and back to their store up until wholesalers finally began delivering to them. This was a round trip total of 50 miles in an old pickup on rough dirt roads. Mrs. Beasley ran the store until 1998 when she passed away. The calendar by the front door still hangs open to the very last month Mrs. Beasley flipped it to, April 1998.
Thanks to Mr. Snyder for his kindness and for showing me around the place.
For more pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/98328820@N03/sets/72157634987735271/