McIntosh Sugar Mill Ruins

Text from the Georgia Historical Commission Plaque:


          These are the ruins of a tabby sugar works built by John Houston McIntosh at New Canaan Plantation soon after 1825.  In his sugar house McIntosh installed what was, according to Thomas Spalding*, the first horizontal cane mill worked by cattle power.
          McIntosh, born in 1773 in what is now McIntosh County (Georgia), settled in East Florida as a young man and became the leader of a group of American citizens who, during the War of 1812, plotted the annexation of East Florida to the United States.  This plot crushed by the Spanish government, McIntosh removed to Georgia and acquired two plantations in Camden County, Marianna, where he built a home, and New Canaan, where he began the cultivation of sugar cane under the influence of Thomas Spalding, who had experimented in sugar production and seen the use of steam-propelled horizontal cane mills in Louisiana.
          After McIntosh's death in 1836, New Canaan was sold to one Col. Hallowes, who changed the name of the plantation to Bollingbrook and lived there until after the Civil War.  During the war, Hallowes planted cane and made sugar in the McIntosh sugar house.  He also used the tabby sugar works as a starch factory, producing arrowroot starch in large quantities.

*Thomas Spalding was the great-grandson of John Mohr McIntosh / John McIntosh Mohr.

Tabby is a concrete-like substance made of lime, water, powered oyster shells, and crushed (but chunky) oyster shells.  As the process of making tabby was very labor intensive is faded out of fashion once slave labor was no longer available.

McIntosh Sugar Mill Damage

McIntosh Sugar Tabby RuinsIn December, my friend and I visited the McIntosh Sugar Mill located on Spur 40.  To my shock, I found the back of the building had been spray-painted.  I had visited the site a couple of months before that and at that time, the damage was not present.

Clearly, the person or persons who did this are very ignorant.  The building was built around 1835.  It is made out of tabby, which is a compound (primarily) of oyster dust, oyster shells, lime, and water.  It is a rather strong material, but also very porous.  What that means is that substances such as spray paint are very difficult, if not impossible, to remove.  Most chemical solvents either will not work or do more damage then good.McIntosh Sugar Tabby Ruins

I have been in contact with various people who know much more about tabby then I do.  I have been asking for any information on the best way to remove this damage.  If removal is not possible, then I would like to find out what can be done to safely cover it up.  If the damage can be covered, for now, then possibly in the future a way can be found to remove the paint.  Until then, at least the damage will not be an eyesore or an encouragement to other idiots to expand the damage.  So far, the consensus has been that it probably will not be possible to remove it, but a safe cover-up may be possible.  I am waiting for the instructions to be sent to me so that I may pass on the information to those in charge of the site.  I am also waiting on some information on how to make a poultice to gradually draw the paint out of the stone.  All this, of course, would have to be done with the knowledge and consent of the owners of the property.

Someone also took down part of the wooden fence that fronts the property and drove to the rear of the building.  Tire marks were clearly visible in the grass.  They also left trash in the area.

Even though I have known of this damage for some time, I have been reluctant to publicize the problem because I feared some well-meaning individual would attempt to remove the paint with a damaging solvent.

McIntosh Sugar Tabby RuinsUntil we catch the people who are doing all this damage to our parks, the citizens of this area must been on the look out for suspicious behavior around our recreational / historical sites.  Do not assume someone else will report them!  Parents, in the case that the offenders are underage, please enforce a curfew on your children.  If your children damage public property because you allow them to roam the area after hours, you are equally responsible for the damage they cause.

I resent the people who have done this damage.  These parks do not belong to the vandals alone to happily destroy because they are bored, spoiled, or have had a bad day.  I, for one, do not caMcIntosh Sugar Tabby Ruinsre about the reasons they have done this damage.  These parks and historical sites are just as much mine to enjoy.  In the case of teens doing the damage, I feel I have more right to these areas because at the least I can appreciate them.  In addition, I pay taxes to help maintain them.

For the record, Rick and Jo, my friends and I didn't think your "art work" was cool.  In fact, when we saw it the first thing out of our mouths was, "What idiots!"  If that's what you want to be remembered for, more power to you.  But do the rest of us a favor, don't ram your crap down our throats - you don't have the right.

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