In 1872, the town of Eastman was incorporated. In
1876, Mr. William Dodge built the Uplands Hotel, a large three-story frame structure. Used as a winter resort, the
Uplands Hotel attracted many travelers from northern climates due to its close proximity to the Macon &
In 1873, Mr. William
Pitt Eastman built Eastman’s first schoolhouse as a gift to the town. Mr.
Eastman hired Col. Luther A. Hall as the school’s first teacher, and paid his salary of forty dollars per month.
For three years, the school depended on private donations.
As the population grew,
the citizens pushed for a newer, more adequate schoolhouse. In 1877, the Superior Court of Dodge County
incorporated the new school as The Eastman Academy, and granted it a twenty year charter.
As the population
exploded, the need for a public school system grew, and a bill was introduced to the state legislature. In 1898,
the bill passed, and a new schoolhouse was constructed.
Built in 1897, Eastman’s two-story
jail included a hanging room, which remains completely intact today.
The Candy Capitol of the
A History of Stuckey’s
In Depression-era America, Georgia
felt the vast depth and encompassing sweep of poverty. Georgia’s agricultural economy had collapsed, and her
industrial base consisted of poorly paid labor in millwork, lumber, and cotton. With little access to capital, the
state’s population was saddled with mud-puddle roads, poor health and nutrition, and very little hope that life
would be any better for their children.
That’s the world into which W. Sylvester Stuckey launched his
business in rural South Georgia. In 1930, Stuckey asked a family friend, Fred E. Bennett, Sr., an Eastman feed and
fertilizer dealer, for employment. Bennett suggested he ride around the countryside buying up pecans, which Bennett
would try to market.
Borrowing thirty-five dollars from his
grandmother, Stuckey set out down the road, driving from farm to farm. Two years later, he started buying pecans for
himself, selling them to a processor, and enlarging the business by borrowing from a local
In 1936, Stuckey shifted to a Macon
bank, which financed his increasing pecan sales, and in 1937, he opened his first roadside stand in Eastman to sell
pecans to tourists.
Stuckey decided to add a candy line to
his business, which his wife, Ethel, cooked on their kitchen stove, using her own recipe. Stuckey’s famous candy, including Ethel’s pecan
logs and divinity, was born.
In 1948, Stuckey constructed the first
Stuckey’s candy plant in Eastman.
Stuckey was a marketing genius, and
used family appeal, broad advertising to motorists, one-stop shopping, and mail order candy to promote
At the time of the sale of Stuckey’s to
Pet Milk in the 1967, the company had more than 300 stores, over 1,000 employees, ten million dollars in candy
sales, and 15,000 acres of farm and timber property.
By the end of the 1970’s, Stuckey’s
empire had diminished, and in 1985, Mr. James Spradley purchased Stuckey’s, and by the name Standard Candy Company,
became the world’s largest purchaser of nuts.
Stuckey’s candy is currently available
for purchase online.
More Eastman Facts
- Once, as many as twelve passenger trains passed
through Eastman, including “Old Joe Brown,” a passenger train named after a popular Georgian
- Eastman was once known as the “Paris of the
Wiregrass,” due to its citizenry’s high degree of culture.
- Eastman is proud
to be home to Linda Giddens and her dynamic water ski school. Giddens has competed in water skiing events
for over 29 years, and holds every national and world jump records for women water
- In 1948, Eastman became the first city in the
state of Georgia to switch to dial telephones.
- Nationally known burlesque queen, Tempest Storm,
was born in Eastman.
- McCranie Lumber Company of Eastman supplied the
lumber for Atlantic City’s original boardwalk.