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Bulloch History with Roger Allen: Several stories lurk behind naming of Hopeulikit

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Bulloch History with Roger Allen: Several stories lurk behind naming of Hopeulikit

Roger Allen


Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at the founding and general history of southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.

 

Harville was named for Samuel Harville, one of two delegates sent by Bulloch County to the 1861 Georgia Secession Convention in Milledgeville. Three miles from the Bryan County line and the center of the Sink Hole community, in 1900 it had a population of 111. It also had a post office, whose first postmaster was F.P. Lee.

The community of Herschal (or Herschel or Herschell), was located 6 miles west of Jimps and 6 miles south of Parish. Herschal was short-lived, as residents moved the town 2 miles and renamed it Register.

When it was thriving, Herschel had three stores, three schools and two churches. The town's postmasters were store owner John E. Collins and then Franklin Pierce Register, who promised them that the new town of Register would become the junction of both “his” Register and Glennville and the Bruton (or Brewton) and Pineora Railroads.

Many Georgians have heard of "Hopeulikit.” This town is located 8 miles to the northwest of Statesboro near the intersection of Georgia Highways 25 and 80.

The most widely accepted story is that this name was selected during a contest to name its main dance hall. One of the suggestion forms had the word's “Hopeulikit” on the bottom. The judges decided that that would be the name of the town.

There is a second story, too. L.E. Tyson, the owner of the Standard Oil Company station in Statesboro, had bought Dan Beasley’s general store, filling station and playhouse. Some have said he saw a race card which had on it a horse named “Hope You Like It.” He decided this name would fit his little piece of Bulloch County.

Businessman L.E. Tyson bought Dan Beasley's general store and gas station in Hopeulikit in order to tap into the ever-growing number of visitors. Young men and women were coming from all over the region dressed in their best attire to dance the night away in either the “Hilltop Dance Hall” run by the Ellises or “Hopeulikit Dance Hall” run by Tyson.

Tyson's dance hall floor was 80 feet wide by 80 feet long, and could hold as many as 40 couples dancing. 

Tyson devised an unusual method to polish his dance hall floor. Wax shavings were spread out on the floor while the couples were dancing, which would quickly get ground into the floor creating a nice protective coat.

After 1938, “an undesirable element” began frequenting the dance halls. There were many fights, and the locals became quite upset. Tyson became so disgusted he actually had his dance hall torn down.

 

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

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