History of Dacre

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You might be wondering about this place called Dacre, Georgia. Before we go any farther, let me just clarify: Dacre ain’t sounding like anything but what it is, Day Creek, but without the k. You see, back in the day, when Phineas Shaw started this here town, it was because of Day Creek. It was a small creek, just enough water from the Toccoa to run a few dozen stills, which is exactly what Phineas did, with the help of his friends, Callum Criddle and Archibald Douglas. In order to hide their enterprise, Phineas built fishing cabins and then created a small town around the creek, in the hopes it would distract the law from finding their stills. It didn’t. And over the course of seventy years and three generations later, the Shaw family continuously fought for the right to moonshine in their small town. It was only when Prohibition was repealed that the town saw some peace. But it wasn’t for long.

During the Great Depression, the town saw some unfortunate turns, but it was the Shaw Shine which kept Dacre afloat. Many of the stores and farms around Dacre where bailed out by the Shaws, in order to keep the town in place and the shine business hidden. Now Josiah Shaw never expected a cent back, but some people in the town felt he had too much control over Dacre. People like Nolan Bradley, a relative newcomer to the town, who vehemently opposed the handouts the Shaw family was giving. He called it a shame against humanity, forcing good people to become indebted to the family, all while he sold his illegally manufactured laudanum, as well as many other unsanctioned goods. Nolan’s medicinal snake oil business had brought him to Dacre; a bad winter and pneumonia kept him here. He remained in town long enough to take a wife, start a family, and bring over his only brother to start a chemist store in downtown Dacre, where they could sell their wares, but his snake oil wasn’t able to save him in the end, putting to rest any financial wealth the family might have had and leaving the Bradleys stranded in Dacre. Most in the town were glad to see the store shut down, as the spike in laudanum addiction and the decline in general health were all seen as a result of the Bradley Chemist Store.

The town saw a small resurgence during the fifties, when more people were getting behind the wheel and traveling. The Twisted Pines Fishing Camp saw a large boom in interest, and Asa Beecher Shaw increased the number of cabins from four to twenty. He had plans for more, but after the death of his daughter, he fell on difficult times. The death of his son in Korea didn’t help, and the cabins were destined to close if it weren’t for his eldest son, Marion Shaw. He took over the family business and helped it grow into the tourist destination it is today. It was Marion and his eventual wife, Margery Douglas-Shaw, who had the foresight to tap into the wider sporting community, seeing the cabins as a respite for hunters and fishermen who might want to take advantage of the healthy game in the area, as well as those weary businessmen in downtown Atlanta, looking for a small amount of peace from their hectic, fast-paced life.

After 2001, interest in Dacre had waned. Many of the townsfolk had moved farther out into the county, along their farms, and didn’t come into town for much anymore. With the new superstore being built in nearby Westley, the only thing left in town is the church and Ruby’s Diner, and despite Wilson’s Meat Packing and Smith’s General Store’s popularity within the county, there wasn’t much left to Dacre. The Twisted Pines Fishing Camp, now run by sixth generation Dacrean Lily Shaw, pulls in a small number of people annually, adding to the popularity of local businesses.

In 2018, Dacre became the location site of a new cable series called The Bootlegger’s Boy, starring  Dutch Sturgess and Nathaniel Madison. With its quaint charm, Dacre is becoming one of Georgia’s fastest growing film and television location sites.



Find out more about Dacre, Georgia in my book, The Mess We’re In. Available at AmazonAmazon KindleBarnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

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