My Auction House Experience in Calvary, Georgia

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Dwight Angel in Calvary, Georgia

June 14, 2015

Because rent was so cheap, and the fact there was nothing there....

Once there was a man who decided to built a small Gun Factory. He had been a gunsmith for over 30 years working on people's gun. He knew the importance of low rent, due to the hard months of summer, when little gunsmithing work comes into a shop.

Many gunsmiths in fact close for the summer, and are only open during hunting season, and many operate from their homes because they cannot afford year long costs of business operations. This is a major reason it is so hard to find a gunsmith, together with the fact that many gunsmiths have became old and died.

The gunsmith in our story had been doing gunsmithing work in many places. The gunsith had always had the challenge of little summer income and surviving the hard summer months of little gun work.

He had his first repair shop in Tampa, Florida which was operated from his home. After moving to Tallahassee he had his first commercial gun little shop on Woodville Highway in Tallahassee, Florida. Needing more room, and a better location he moved to Gaines Street in Tallahassee.

During hard economic times when the Gaines Street Gun Shop became too slow to pay rent and bills, he moved to Capital Circle near the Tallahassee Airport. Due to his location not being well known, and slow business he then moved to an even smaller shop on Tharpe Street in Tallahassee. The Tharpe Street move had just occurred when Tharpe Street became closed for road construction making it near impossible to get into the Tharpe Street Gun Shop. 

So he was forced to move again, this time to a home based double car garage, where he worked.

After a year or so working from his home, he found an old grocery store building that was vacant in Midway, Florida. The building had been the Henry Dover Gas & Market, dating back to the late 1940's. When he found this old store, the doors were swing open, abandoned inside, empty and dirty. This became the gunsmith business home for over 18 years.

After becoming an Auctioneer and trying the auction house business for a couple of years, which did not prove very profitable, the gunsmith in our story, decided to once again, return to the life of a gunsmith.

He found an empty building that had once had a booming life as a grocery store. But those days were long gone, and the little grocery store had been delegated to housing old furniture in storage for it's family owners. After holding an auction for the family to rid the old store of furniture, he can to give the old building new life! He painted the walls and floor, installed steel security bars, and began moving into the shop. The shop sit facing the highway, and was directly beside the little town's post office.

He spent his days repairing guns, and parting out guns, and when he had no guns from customers to work on, he would busy himself putting gun parts on gunbroker.com. He refinished gun metal, gun stocks, and event built some guns from parts.

An old friend of his had operated a gun shop in Havana, Florida literally for 50 years, Mr. Hugh Moreland. The gunsmith would obtain advise, directions, and find parts for guns he was working on from Mr. Hugh. He looked up to Mr. Hugh who had a great wealth of knowledge about guns. Mr. Hugh often helped the young aspiring gunsmith with problem guns he was working on trying to repair.

When Mr. Hugh passed away, the gunsmith managed to buy all of Mr. Hugh's vast collection of gun parts, dating back to the 1800's. Because the gunsmith enjoyed Mr. Hugh's gun shop so much, and the fact he was a sentimental type person, the gunsmith even managed to buy all of Mr. High's antique pecan display cases, from the family.

As a memory of Mr. Hugh's life spent as a gunsmith, one of the display cases they he obtained from the Moreland family, was left as it had been in Mr.Hugh's gun shop, with the items that were in the case, remaining as they had been in Mr.Hugh's store.

When going through old part guns, the gunsmith found an almost finished Tennessee Feuding Rifle, with the inscription 1945, Sapp, Delacy and Moreland. This gun had never been finished. After research Mr. Hugh's family the gunsmith discovered that Mr. Sapp, was Hugh Moreland's grandfather, Dr. Sapp, who had been very valued and influenced Mr. Hugh in his early life. It was also discovered that Dr. Sapp died in 1945. Perhaps Mr. Hugh's gun work was stopped when his grandfather died, and the gun was left just were it had been, as a memory to Dr. Sapp.

There were way more gun parts than the gunsmith would ever use in local repairs, so he advertised gun parts for sale on gunbroker.com. People across the country ordered gun parts from him. He sent gun parts as far away as the State of Washington. The gunsmith did not become rich, but he did what he enjoyed most, building and repairing guns.

During the summer months his business was slow, because hunters and others that have guns were busy going to little league baseball, fishing and staying inside where it was cooler.

Since the summer months were slow, the gunsmith had built his business in a small town, where buildings had sat empty, some for as long as ten years, because rent was so reasonable for an old building. The building the gunsmith found for his business, had been empty for over ten years.

People often said that there was nothing there, and wondered why the gunsmith put his business there. The gunsmith wanted a place to work on his guns, and knew he could manage to pay rent, electricity and other bills, even during the summer slow months when little business came into the shop, because rent was so cheap, and the fact there was nothing there, in the little town of Calvary, Georgia.


Dwight Angel

June 7, 2015 ·

Slower than Mayberry RFD

Life, even today, is much simpler, slower, and an easier pace, in this very, very small, unincorporated town in Southwest Georgia. A traveler on Highway 111 through Calvary, is likely to see more goats out and about, than people.

Originally established in the late 1800's, Calvary, Georgia has always been an agricultural community. It is perhaps best known today for it's once a year event, the Mule Day Celebration. Yes, I said Mules!

This event is hosted once per year, the 1st Saturday in November. A 40 year tradition celebrating the contribution of mules to agriculture.

In the 1940's – 1970's, Calvary had many more residents that it does today. The population in 2010 was 161, not many more now, I am sure. Shade tobacco employed a lot of people, as did the one time business of Joe McNair, which processed and packed vegetables for many of the big companies.

A large Ice House was once operated by C.Y. King, which was used to ice down trucks hauling produce before the refrigerated trucks we have today. The Ice House also provided cold storage and ice to area residents, as far back as when most people still had ice boxes, not refrigerators in their homes.

Joe McNair also operated the Gas Station which is still standing today, with the coveted “Citizens 77” station sign still hanging on the pole.

Calvary is located 3 miles north of the Florida/Georgia state line on Georgia Highway 111. At one time the town had four grocery stores, now only one remains, the Thomas Mercantile Store which has been around since 1912. Mr. Gerald Thomas now in his 80's, and his son Bruce, run the store every day except Sunday. They are continuing a family tradition that has existed since Gerald Thomas's father originally operated the store around 1912.

The Calvary Post Office still operates, but only part time. The original full time post master retired years ago, and the job never got a replacement. Currently there is a post master relief manning the office. If you need to mail something, you need to get to the post office before 12 noon. On Saturday, its only open from 8 – 10 am.

The only other business in town is Gunsmith Dwight Angel's, Georgia Gun Factory. Even his business is operated part time, on Monday – Wednesday from 12 – 6 pm.

A Gun Factory? Yes, Dwight is a General Gunsmith with over 30 years of experience fixing old guns. He has a building full of gun stocks and gun parts, literally hanging from the ceiling. Although he does not sell guns, he fixes and refinishes any gun that comes through the door. The biggest challenge for Dwight is finding parts for guns that go back to the 1800's, many of which come in from all around South Georgia.

Dwight is retired from Florida, and was looking for a small town lifestyle for his business. He said that he found it, in Calvary, Georgia!

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Click this text to start editing. This block is great for showcasing a particular feature or aspect of your business. It could be a signature product, an image of your entire staff, an image or your physical location, etc. Double click the image to customize it.