Ever wonder how some of our streets got their names?
Cromartie Street is an easy one, named after the Hazlehurst state legislator who introduced legislation to create Jeff Davis County out of parts of Appling and Coffee counties. He intended to name the county Cromartie County but the law prohibited a county being named after a living person. So, he decided to name it Jeff Davis County after Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy.
Tallahassee Street was part of what was long ago known as Tallahassee Road. Tallahassee is an Apalachee Indian word meaning “old town” or “abandoned fields.” In the mid 1800s, Tallahassee Road carried travelers from Savannah to Tallahassee, Fla., running through Hazlehurst. The road crossed the Altamaha River at Nail’s Ferry and continued by way of Burrkett’s Ferry Road to Burkett’s Ferry on the Ocmulgee River.
Hazlehurst was originally designated by the railroad as Mile Post 8 1/2, marking the halfway point on the railway from Macon to Brunswick. The town was first known as Handtown as only the Hand family and relatives lived in the area until about 1896, when the J.M. Odom family moved to the area.
According to the late Arley Finley, Odom Street was named after J. Melt Odom, who came to this section after the Civil War. Odom gave the land for and helped build the first community Union school and church. He served as the city’s first Postmaster. He was in Hazlehurst when trains first began to run through here. He was here when the courthouse was built in 1906 and hauled some of the heavy timbers in the foundation with his oxen team.
Odom street in Hazlehurst’s early history extended from the Beewick Lumber Company mill to Tallahassee Road. The street was lined with homes of company officers and the large Beewick Lumber Hotel was located on the street. The hotel was used by many workers who came long distances to work in the mill, most of them spending the week at the hotel and going home on weekends.
The Beewick Mill closed down around 1900. The large hotel changed hands several times and eventually was torn down and several smaller homes were constructed with the materials. On Odum Street was a home that Mr. Finley purchased from Hall of Fame Baseball Player Ty Cobb, who had several land and building holdings in the area. The house was located across Odom Street from where the current Hazlehurst Post Office Stands.
A block was added to Odom Street on land donated for that purpose by Guy Weatherly with the stipulation that the block be named Weatherly Blvd.