The city of Rocky Ford also was known to some as Rockyford. George Heard built the first two bridges across the Ogeechee River at this spot.
The first was built in 1886 in order to bring lumber from his sawmill, located in what he called Bellwood, in Bulloch County to the Rocky Ford railroad depot.
A second, smaller bridge was built that crossed the Ogeechee near Horse Creek, which he operated as a commercial toll bridge. Heard then bought up all the land he could around the town center and began selling lots.
Once Rocky Ford sprang up, the Foys built their own "company town" in part of Rocky Ford, which consisted of some 30 houses built to house his skilled laborers and company administrators. Never one to sit still, Heard and his son Rollo then started the Rocky Ford Brick Yard, which quickly became one of the largest brickmakers in the South. They shipped as many as 2.5 million bricks per year.
The brickyard was sold to W.J. Chapman in 1908, who in turn sold it to Arthur Burke in 1918. Austrian emigrant Bartol Krulic shortly thereafter opened his Ogeechee River Stave and Head Company, which made barrel staves, barrel headings and finished barrels that were shipped overseas to French winemakers. Krulic was so successful that he opened smaller such factories in a number of other towns throughout Georgia.
Rocky Ford soon sported two hotels: the Sam Hotel, owned by Sam Kea, and the Barber Hotel on the Central of Georgia Railroad depot, which actually contained the town's premier barber shop and was run for a while by the B.B. Barber family.
Rocky Ford served as the first governmental seat of Screven County for more than a century, with the "court" held in Benjamin Lanier's house, which sat on the bank of the Ogeechee River. In 1832, Screven County built a courthouse in the new town of Jacksonborough.
A quaint tradition evolved over time in Rocky Ford: Newly married couples in the area would travel to the Ogeechee River where a solid rock bed spanned the entire river bed for some 500 feet, across which the man would carry his wife, showing both his strength and skill.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.