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Blandford: What's in a name?
0503 echoes blandford depot
Blandford Depot after it was relocated. - photo by Photo submitted

In 1908, the Brinson Real Estate Promotions began obtaining right-of-way parcels for the new Brinson Railroad. Chief Engineer R. A. Bland began determining the depot sites along the railroad through the center of Effingham County. The depot located at the intersection with the Blue Jay Road, near Rincon, was named Blandford in his honor.

A depot warehouse was constructed of creosoted weatherboard, as were most railroad structures. A long warehouse was later constructed where sometimes a potato grading machine was located.
The flooring of this building collapsed under a large order of fertilizer and was never rebuilt. The depot remained at the intersection until 1967, when Russell Nease purchased it and removed it to his property on Blue Jay Road.

Fresh vegetables and potatoes were shipped in hundred pound sacks or barrels and car loads of watermelons by Mr. “Cliff” (Clifton) Kessler and his sons Clark, Hubert, Wiley, Earl and other nearby farmers.

In 1921, Mr. Herman Dugger and his wife, Laucy, moved into their new home located on the west side of the railroad tracks. He was the section foreman for forty years for the Savannah & Atlanta Railroad, the successor to the Brinson Railroad. He maintained the tracks from Springfield to Coldbrook Station by motorcar daily, usually with four to six laborers and a push car attached to transport tools. The Duggers raised three daughters at Blandford, Matilda (Mrs. Malcolm Rahn), Clara (Mrs. Clifton M. Rahn), and Claudine (Mrs. George T. Arnsdorff).

Directly across the railroad tracks was the home of Lavan Kessler and his wife, Addie, who was sister to Herman Dugger. Their daughters, Beatrice (Mrs. LaRue R. Hinely) and Frances (Mrs. William H. Zipperer) helped “Uncle Van” in the grocery store located in front of his residence near the tracks and facing Blandford Road. A gravity gas pump operated by the turn of a handle, forced gas up into the glass cylinder, measured the quantity of gallons, and when the handle was released, gas flowed into your automobile gas tank! He also had cheese cut from a round by the pound and wrapped in brown paper and six-ounce Coca Colas for a nickel, among other delights.

Mr. Cohen Kessler and his wife, Frocene, and children Helen (Mrs. Fred Rhinehart) and James Newell lived on the east side of the tracks where he maintained a large farm. “Mr. Newell” still maintains the farm there, the only original resident still living there.

Blandford Road extends from the Rincon city limits to the Blandford railroad tracks. The three original homes are still standing. The original families have grown up, married and moved away.

The little community was nearly disappearing. Now a new Blandford Elementary School boasts of the future of the area. Blandford Crossing subdivision is being carved from the forests and others are planned. Blandford has a new future just beginning!

This article was written by Betty Ford Renfro with excerpts from “River to River, The History of Effingham County.” If you have questions or comments please contact her at 754-2170 or email