Essential local history materials for Lee County, Georgia now available freely online

The Digital Library of Georgia has just made the Lee County Library Local History Collection available freely online. The collection contains essential historic print items belonging to the Lee County Library in Leesburg, Georgia dating from 1784-2000. Among the materials are local and regional Baptist and Methodist church histories, histories of the historic towns of Smithville and Starkville, Lee County oral histories, and documentation of the Great Flood of 1994 caused by Tropical Storm Alberto that caused significant damage in Southwest Georgia. 

Bobbie Yandell, Director of Archives at the Thronateeska Heritage Center in Albany, Georgia notes: 

“The church histories, as well as the histories of Smithville and Starkville provide important information to early life in Lee County. These resources describe the roots of the county as well as the citizens that resided in it. The materials concerning the Flood of 1994 display how our communities came together in a time of disaster. They show what our community is capable of when a collective effort to come together is mad. It is important that future generations are able to revisit these histories in order to both honor and remember what has been achieved by those who came before us.”

Yandell continues: “Lee County has a rich local history which mostly resides in physical materials. The fear of degradation is a threatening reality for the collection. With assistance from the Digital Library of Georgia, digital preservation allows these materials to be used for generations to come, In my efforts, I have found that small towns frequently suffer from their histories disappearing or being forgotten. It gives me hope that methods such as digitization exist so that rural histories may persist and be remembered.”

Featured images:

Flood of the century: southwest Georgia, by Michael Brooks
Book about the damage Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994 brought to Albany, Georgia, and to neighboring Lee County, Georgia
The Leesburg Methodist story 1874-1974 a century of Christian witness, by Curtis C. Roberts and Rebecca V. Gibson
Book about the centennial history (1874-1974) of the Leesburg Methodist Church in Leesburg, Georgia

About the Lee County Library 

The Lee County Library is a public library serving the Lee County, Georgia area. Learn more on their website at


Flood resources in the DLG

Photograph of Street Washout at Hunter's Ridge, Byron, Peach County, Georgia, 1994 July 7. Peach County Flood Photographs, Peach Public Library.
Photograph of Street Washout at Hunter’s Ridge, Byron, Peach County, Georgia, 1994 July 7. Peach County Flood Photographs, Peach Public Library.

This past week has brought its share of severe weather and flooding to the Southeast. We just wanted to point out a few helpful resources  in Georgia Government Publications that will help you prepare for floods.

  • Quick guide: floodplain management in Georgia. Guide prepared by the Floodplain Management Office of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to help you understand more about why and how communities in the State of Georgia manage floodplains to protect people and property.
  • After the flood: rehabilitating historic resources. This publication was put together by the Georgia Historic Preservation Division after Tropical Storm Alberto raged across southwest Georgia in July and August of 1994, wreaking havoc upon fifty-five counties and devastating the communities in its path. The publication provides instructions on how to rehabilitate your historic structure to a usable condition after a flood or other water-related damage has occurred.
  • Prepare for the worst; hope for the best: how to better protect your home from disasters. Step-by-step guide prepared by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency that includes inexpensive disaster rebuilding tips, instructions on how to protect flood-damaged structures, and how to fortify the outside of structures to keep rain, wind and water from getting inside.

FEMA  has recommended that people prepare for flooding by taking the following actions:

  • Know how and where to evacuate, if told to do so.
  • If you encounter flood waters on a roadway, Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
  • Check your flood insurance policy. Know what is covered and what you need to file a claim. If you do not have a flood insurance policy, talk with your flood insurance agent about purchasing coverage for future losses – coverage usually does not become effective until 30-days after purchase.
  • Prepare your home for a flood. Move essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Check on your neighbor – make sure they’re ready too.