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Social Circle's well house damaged in auto accident

Social Circle’s iconic well house was damaged in an auto accident Saturday morning. City Manager Doug White said that, despite rumors that the Georgia Department of Transportation won’t allow the structure to be replaced, the town has every intention of rebuilding. The well house is shown here prior to Saturday’s accident. (Special Photo)

Social Circle’s iconic well house was damaged in an auto accident Saturday morning. City Manager Doug White said that, despite rumors that the Georgia Department of Transportation won’t allow the structure to be replaced, the town has every intention of rebuilding. The well house is shown here prior to Saturday’s accident. (Special Photo)

SOCIAL CIRCLE — The historic well house that stands as a symbol of “Georgia’s Greatest Little Town” took a hit over the weekend when a motorist plowed into it early Saturday morning.

City Manager Doug White said the woodframe and lattice work structure that occupies a brick island in the middle of Ga. Highway 11 in downtown Social Circle suffered significant damage in the accident, but the city has every intention of replacing it.

“We’re taking the position that the well itself is still in the island,” said White. “Our plan is to put it back.”

White said he’s been told the well house has been hit at least twice before in the past 25 years or so. When it happens, he said there are generally rumors that the Georgia Department of Transportation won’t allow the small structure to be replaced.

The rumors have proven unfounded in the past, but concerns about the DOT have prompted fast action to preserve the town’s symbol, he said. When the well house was hit sometime in the 1980s, “They had it put back together before the sun came up,” he said.

The well house was hit again in the early 2000s, he said. The story he was told was that “it was hit by a lady who said she saw two wells and drove between the two of them.”

The well house has been moved to a couple of different locations in the center of Highway 11 over the years, and the well doesn’t actually function, but city officials intend to keep it in the downtown area. White said the ultimate goal will be to have the DOT designate the Social Circle bypass as Ga. Highway 11 when the bypass is completed, which will open the way for further streetscape improvements in downtown.

White said the Social Circle Garden Club takes charge of maintaining the well house. Ironically, the club had just had the structure repaired and repainted about a week before it was hit.

According to an incident report from the Social Circle Police Department, officers were called to the well house at about 3 a.m. Saturday after a 1996 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck crashed into the structure. The truck was driven by James Bryan Cronan, 25, of 1429 Roy Malcom Road, Social Circle, according to the report. Police charged Cronan with DUI and failure to maintain lane.