The Urban Coroner
Photography By Sugarbomb
GEORGIA GIRL DRIVE-IN
The abandoned drive-in restaurant in rural Georgia with a suspicious secret
Georgia Girl Drive-In | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb
Just south of Woodbine, Georgia on the nearly forgotten stretch of highway known as US-17 sits the remains of the Georgia Girl Drive-In. The catchy old neon sign and rapidly crumbling building is all that remains of this once-groovy hangout from the 1960s.
The Georgia Girl was originally owned and operated by Davis and Lillian White. Little back road highways were once the only way to traverse the states and kitschy little places along these routes like the Georgia Girl Drive-In were all the rage. It provided a place for travelers to stop in and grab a bite to eat with a side of hometown hospitality as well as a hangout for locals. The large, eye-catching sign with a neon “Georgia Girl” no doubt helped to draw in passerby just as it drew our attention today even after being long-abandoned.
In the early 1970s, Interstate 95 was constructed to run through south Georgia, providing drivers with a more convenient method of travel and causing these formerly well-traversed roads to become obsolete. As traffic dwindled on US-17, many of the little mom and pop shops that thrived off the tourist traffic saw a sharp decline in business as well and fell quickly into abandonment and ruin.
Today, against all odds, the structure of the Georgia Girl still remains – but just barely. The windows of the front door have long since been broken in and the roof of the kitchen is completely missing.
The Kitchen - or what's left of it | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb
The inside of the former drive-in is littered with an odd assortment of random objects; the old, large grease hood lays forgotten and exposed to the elements on the floor of the kitchen, a sewing machine sits on a metal counter and a Guitar Hero guitar lays on the floor next to it. In one corner, an old Blue Bell ice cream cooler sits against wooden support beams, its sliding glass doors encrusted with years of dust and grime. It almost looks like a tornado hit a garage sale from 2009 and deposited its various contents throughout the inside of the building.
Mystery Meat Fridge of Horror | Photo © 2018 Sugarbomb
Through the wooden support beams that were once the wall dividing the kitchen and café areas, an old, dirty barber’s chair sits next to what is probably the strangest object in the whole place – a full-size, single door refrigerator.
At first, this rust-speckled refrigerator seems no more odd than the rest of the assortment of objects strewn around the remains of the Georgia Girl. As I carefully stepped over the eclectic debris on the floor and got closer to the fridge in question, I noticed a low humming sound coming from it – somehow, this randomly placed refrigerator in the abandoned shell of a restaurant with only half a roof in the middle of nowhere was running. I’m always low key expecting to find a dead body inside of refrigerators that I find in abandoned buildings, thanks in no small part to Wrong Turn 2, so of course I opened it.
Still not really believing that there could be power running to anything in this place, I pulled on the door handle. Sure enough, it was running. A quick survey of the contents of the refrigerator revealed a bunch of bags of unidentifiable meat and/or animals, some heavily encrusted in ice. I sighed, closed the door of the mystery meat fridge, and walked back outside to the car.
“Kaine, I need you to come in here.”
“I’m pretty sure we’re in a Wrong Turn movie.”
Kaine followed me inside to investigate the refrigerator of meaty death. Strange meats found in a mysteriously running fridge in the middle of nowhere is definitely more of his area of expertise. Even he was shocked to find that I was not exaggerating about the strange nature of this discovery. He poked around a bit, noting that some of the contents of the fridge looked to be bait, before opening a bloody bag near the front of one of the densely packed shelves. Inside of this bag was some sort of skinned animal that he eventually figured out was a raccoon based on its paws and teeth.
Kaine shifted through the bags deeper in the fridge only to reveal countless more bloody bags full of unidentifiable meat products. Apparently satisfied with his investigation of the mystery fridge, he turned and ushered me back outside and to the car because “we’re not fucking around with mutant cannibals in the woods today.”
We left the Georgia Girl Drive-In with questions – what was in all of those bloody bags? Who put all of that in the fridge in the first place? How the hell does the building still have power when it barely has walls? What sort of strange fate has befallen the Georgia Girl? I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that these are questions better left unanswered.