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The Building

(George M. William's Block)

Left, artistic depiction of The Building in the famous panoramic drawing of Tallapoosa in 1892

The Lithia Springs Hotel, the most famous structure erected during Tallapoosa's boom years in the late 19th century, was built by the Tallapoosa Real Estate and Industrial Company, whose five incorporators included George M. Williams of New Hampshire. This grand hotel was demolished in 1943, and today the only three-dimensional vision of it which visitors can enjoy is the splendid new scale model at the West Georgia Museum of Tallapoosa.

But Mr. Williams left behind another structure in Tallapoosa, built in 1892 and then named, reasonably enough, George M. William's Block. Later called the Elton Block, presumably because of a change of ownership, today it is simply called The Building. This recently refurbished structure is conveniently located on Tallapoosa's principal avenue, US Highway 78, between Alewine and Freeman Streets.

Above, The Building is seen at the center of this section of an enormous and famous panoramic drawing of Tallapoosa executed in 1892. It is one of only 46 features singled out for special attention in the drawing legend, and is given index number 12, as you can see. Below, an excerpt from the same 1892 work renders this landmark in much greater detail.

The storefront side of The Building once hosted a series of Tallapoosa watering holes, including Bruno's, Essie May's, Smith's Cafe, and the Crazy Horse Saloon, providing a gathering place for the town's citizens. The charm of the interior caught the attention of movie producers, who used it for location shooting of the 1988 movie Stars and Bars, starring two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis as the classic "fish out of water" in his only romantic comedy to date. (Right, a short scene from the movie - with some rough language.)

The Building in the days before the third story was lost due to fire.
But The Building has seen many establishments other than bars and cafes use its substantial 52-by-75 foot footprint. Along with prosaic employments as an office building and a rooming house, it has also served a wider public. Once upon a time, town residents knew it as the Greyhound bus station at which they bid farewell to loved ones - sometimes forever. And in another era they created lots of fun memories there, when the basement hosted a ten-pin bowling alley.

The Building suffered extensive damage from a tragic fire in the late 1950s, resulting in the loss of the original third story. Today, a picturesque garden growing herbs, fruits and vegetables decorates the new roof covering the second story, which offers visitors a fine view of the downtown area.

The current owners, James and Angela Albright, bought The Building at the turn of the century and have extensively refurbished all parts of this once-neglected historic keepsake. The upstairs story is their family residence, while the ground floor and some other portions of the structure are offered for lease to host events and meetings. Tours are available by appointment and many days the ground floor is open to the public free of charge. For more information, look here.

The Building today
(Use your mouse to manipulate this interactive photo)