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Sometimes when you’re on a road trip somewhere, you come across something that’s not really part of your road trip itinerary, but you still have to stop and check it out. Such a thing happened to us recently while we were on a road trip that took us through Cuthbert, Georgia.

Andrew College


Cuthbert has always been first and foremost a college town ever since Andrew Female College was founded there in 1854. As its name suggests, it was an all-female school – the second U.S. college in the U.S. to award women with degrees, as a matter of fact. During the Civil War, the college was used as a Confederate hospital. Though most classes were halted during this period, there were still some classes held with many of the young women helping treat the wounded. Tragedy struck again in 1892 when the college burnt to the ground; however, that same year, the tenacious people of Cuthbert raised the necessary funds and built the college’s landmark building known as “Old Main”. In 1956 the school became coeducational.  Today, it remains a private liberal arts college simply known as Andrews College.

Lena Baker

However, even as a college town Cuthbert remains, like other American small towns, a sleepy little town with the exception of the events of 1944 and 1945. That was the time when Lena Baker, an African American maid working for a white man named Ernest Knight, was wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and subsequently executed by the state of Georgia in 1945.  Baker was the only woman in Georgia to be executed by electrocution. In 2005, sixty years after her execution, the state of Georgia granted Baker a full and unconditional pardon. She lies buried just outside of Cuthbert in the cemetery behind the Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

The Famous Water Tower

Cuthbert is also famous for its water tower – the only water tower in America to stand in the center of a federal highway. It was built 1895 by Walsh and Weidner of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Fourteen years later, however a tornado tore off the top of the unusually tall looking tank, and it ended up in the middle of nearby Rosedale Cemetery, but was eventually repaired in 1909. (Other reports claim it was a cyclone that tore off the bottom of the tower and flooded the cemetery.) Nevertheless it was later repaired.

 Years later, the government decided to build a federal highway – US 82 – through Cuthbert in the 1940s. The planned route meant that Cuthbert had to move its water tower.  Cuthbert notified the government that they had no funds to do so. As a result, the government simply decided to build the highway around the city’s now famous tower.

Rumor has it that if you drink water from the tower, you’ll either stay in Cuthbert or come back to visit. However, if you do come back for a visit, you likely won’t be staying at the Water Wheel Motel.

The Water Wheel Motel

After seeing its gorgeous retro neon sign and kitschy cute little water wheel out front, we couldn’t pass Cuthbert’s Water Wheel Motel without taking a few photos.

The Water Wheel Motel was built sometime in the late 1950s by the Settles Brothers, Inc., a real estate development business who also owned other properties/businesses throughout the Cuthbert area as well. (Interestingly, one of those businesses was a “rolling store” – a box truck full of groceries that would drive out into the rural parts of Randolph County and deliver groceries to farmers and other people who didn’t make it into town on a regular basis.)

The one-story Water Wheel Motel is located just north of town on Court Street (State Route 216) and contains about a dozen rooms, some overlooking nearby Mirror Lake.  According to a postcard from 1960, amenities at the motel included air-conditioning, electric heat, tile showers, and – free fishing! (How many motels could say that they offered that as one of the perks of staying at their establishment for the night?)

Today, what was once one of the premier roadside motels in Cuthbert now sits abandoned. Though they did have an online presence suggesting they remained opened into the 2010s, their last social media post was in early 2017. Other crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp! and Tripadvisor have listed it as permanently closed.

Let’s hope it’s not too permanent and somebody comes along to bring the once charming motel back to life. We’ll keep our fishing poles ready in the meantime.

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You know, while researching some of these motels, we are often surprised at some of the great things we find tucked away inside their stories. It’s a lot like the surprise someone feels before they unwrap their presents at Christmas. They’re not sure what’s inside, but they know it’s going to be something good.

With that in mind, why not give your loved ones the gift of a Stuckey’s gift box or holiday tin this Christmas? With so many to choose from, you sure to find a gift from Stuckey’s that will satisfy just about every member of the family.

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Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!

Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.

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Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!