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When Hopeulikit was a bustling town in Bulloch County
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.

The town of "Hopeulikit" is located 8 miles northwest of Statesboro and 74 miles south of Augusta, at the intersection of Georgia highways U.S. 25 and U.S. 80. This most unusual name had an equally interesting origin. 

Residents John Paul and Beatrice Ellis owned hundreds of acres. The Ellises ran a sawmill and lumber business, a turpentine distillery, a large truck farm and the local grocery store, meat market and packing plant.  

Businessman L.E. Tyson, who owned the Standard Oil Company in Statesboro, bought several properties in the town. These properties included Dan Beasley's general store and gas station.  

Being a very successful businessman, he also owned the Standard Tractor and Equipment Company, which handled all Ferguson "Implements" and several other area businesses. 

He realized he could tap into the large numbers of visitors, selling them gas and supplies, food and drinks. Young men and women were coming from all over the region dressed in their best attire. 

They all wanted to dance the night away in either the “Hilltop Dance Hall” run by the Ellises or “Hopeulikit Dance Hall” run by Tyson. There were no other places around like Hopeulikit. 

The Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle's Feb. 22, 1934 newspaper contained an article entitled "At the Hopeulikit: Beginning a week of social activities was the lovely party given Monday evening." 

Held "by Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Tyson at the Hopeulikit Country Club, unique invitations were issued to about 75 guests requesting that they dress as belles and beaux of bygone days." 

And, "Mr. and Mrs. Tyson greeted their guests, she wearing a Mae West costume, and he with a loud suit, high collar and derby, as a duty of former days." 

"Costumes worn by the ladles dated from the days of Shakespeare, Martha Washington, and the Colonial costume with its lacy panteloons to the Western girl and present generation." 

"The men resurrected 'frocktail' coats and high collars to wear with tight trousers and hats of all descriptions, After the assembling of the guests, partners for dinner were found by the matching of foliage and flowers." 

The "supper was served cafeteria-style. Mrs. George Williams, Mrs. Frank Williams, Mrs. Remer Brady, and Mrs. L.E. Thorpe assisted the hostess. After the meal, square & round dancing (made) the event a merry one." 

In the Dec. 13, 1934 newspaper, another notice described a "Dance at Hopeulikit: Capt. and Mrs. Louie Thompson were hosts Friday evening at a dance given at the Hopeulikit country club (for) their guests." 

They were the Dovers of Montezuma, and the Stoddards of Washington They invited 15 couples, and the college orchestra, under the direction of William Deal, furnished the dance music. 

The most widely accepted story is that the name Hopeulikit 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. However, there is a second story, too. Some have said Tyson 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. Tyson's dance hall floor was said to be 800 feet wide by 80 feet long and could hold as many as 40 dancing couples.  

It was kept polished by an unusual method: wax shavings were spread out on the floor. While the couples were dancing, the wax would get ground into the floor.  

This created a nice, protective coat. After 1938, there was a change in management, and “an undesirable element” appeared. There were more and more disturbances.  

Smith Callaway Banks, while being interviewed by National Public Radio for their "All Things Considered" radio show, was asked about his family's memories of Hopeulikit. 

He told them, "Back in the early days, when it was a dance hall, you could go there and beep the horn and a carhop would come out and you could give them an order and probably order a sandwich and a Coca-Cola." 

In time, many of the area’s residents became quite upset. According to newspaper reports, Tyson got so disgusted, he actually had his dance hall torn down and moved out of town. 

In 2006, many towns were taken off the state of Georgia’s highway map. The state's Department of Transportation decided the map was too cluttered. Hopeulikit and many other communities vanished from the map. 

The still unincorporated community of Hopeulikit is estimated to have a population of 15 people, have an area of 1.25 square miles, and sits at an elevation of 223 feet. 

Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at

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