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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Road Trip: Horse Stamp Church Road

Traveling on I-95 in south Georgia, I have seen this road sign indicating Horse Stamp Church Road numerous times and been very curious. How did the road get such a name?  What does it mean?
 This week, I managed to pique the curiosity of my husband also, and we took a road trip to solve the mystery. 
 It was a short trip of about fifty miles from downtown Jacksonville. We read that it was near Waverly, GA. We passed a big sign indicating our road was in one mile, then we passed the half mile, and finally, another huge sign showing where to turn.  These gigantic and numerous signs seemed to indicate that this was a very significant place. 
The two lane road we turned onto was deserted and lined with woods, dilapidated mobile homes, and old houses with trash in the yards. So far, this road did not seem significant.  In about four miles, we came to a little church with a sign out front.  We stopped, hoping to find someone who could tell us about the church and what it might have to do with the I-95 road sign. The church was locked and deserted.  We'd get no information here.

The sign let us know we were in the right place. 
 The church, however, was locked and deserted.
The church

We drove on thinking Waverly would turn up soon.  We passed a long drive leading to a  plantation sized inn called, of course, the Horse Stamp Inn.

The sign was designed to look like a postage stamp.   We stopped hoping to ask a few questions at the inn, but the gate was locked, no one was in sight and we couldn't get in. To quote Alice in Wonderland this was getting "curiouser and curiouser." 

Finally, we came to an intersection with a Minute Mart.  Now we could ask our questions.
Jay, a very friendly man, was at the counter.  He told us that the name of the road dates back to the Civil War.  At a camp near the road, soldiers used to have their horses stamp down the grass and weeds, so the soldiers could have their church services in a flattened place.  So, maybe "horse stamp" isn't the name of a church building, but the name of the flattened grass "church" stamped out by the horses.  Who knows?  It doesn't seem like an event with enough significance to be passed on since the Civil War.

The explanation does and did sound like a myth to me.  This was especially so since we learned from the Internet that the 20 mile road was paved in 2008. Internet documents show the road was once called Ella Park Church Road, raising further doubt about the Civil War story.  

We also learned the Horse Stamp Inn is considered quite elegant.  I think we were there on a wrong day or we needed to give advance notice of our arrival.  As for Waverly, it was only the Minute Mart and a post office just in front of it.  People do live in the woods near the Mart, but it could hardly be called a town, maybe a community.  Basically, our road trip was a bust, but definitely interesting, and it was a beautiful October day.

                                       The Waverly, GA postoffice with the Minute Mart
                                       across a parking lot behind it.


  1. JoAnne....good for you to try and find the answer to something you've wondered about. Not every voyage of discovery turns out the same, and some are just a bust. However, sometimes things like this turn into something wonderful, which is what keeps us coming back for more! Tom

  2. Try for answer to your question...

  3. Sorry did not give all of url I found.....

  4. Your trip wasn't a bust. Horse Stamp Church Road was a new piece of road that came off of the Ella Park Church Road. The town solicited input from the people in the area and chose Horse Stamp Church Road because of the historical significance of the area where that road is.

  5. Camden County Board of Commissioners Agenda Memo
    4/07/2009 Public works motion/recommendation

    Due to the fact that residents did not want to pave Ella Park Church Rd they had to do a realignment and needed to name the street for 911 purposes. Residents got to choose either
    Horse Stamp Church Rd or River Trail Blvd

  6. My husband and I comment in this sign everytime we pass it on our way down to Florida. I like the civil war explanation.

  7. On our trip from FL to GA, my husband and I first decided it was a great new tongue twister ("say horse stamp church road" three times as quickly as you can!"). On our way back down to Florida, we became curious enough about the origin of the name to Google it. Appreciate that you guys took one for the team and explored for the rest of us!

  8. Thanks for your adventurous spirit! Driving by that exit sign I was definitely intrigued and glad to find out someone had taken the time to look into the unusual name.

  9. Hi, just passed the same signs on the interstate and googled to finds your blog. Thankssee for our blog of homefree travel

  10. So funny! I have passed that road two times going to Savannah and it always catches my eye. I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget to look it up when I got back to Jacksonville. We sound just alike lol. I'm an explorer and I love backroads!

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  14. Thanks for doing the legwork !! If I were a cat I would surely be dead from curiosity.

  15. I found this terribly offensive. I live just off this road, in a lovely private community called Horseshoe Cove. Your description of nothing but decrepit houses and trash in all the yards is so misleading. I suggest you stay in Jacksonville with your nasty drivers and high crime rate.

    1. Honestly, your response is offensive and nasty! She is not from Waverly and knew nothing about this place. Good for her for feeding her curiosity! If you don't like the way your town looks to outsiders, than maybe you should start a community clean up project!

  16. Ha! We pass it frequently and have always wondered! Thanks to you and the other commenters for sharing our curiosity!

  17. Hi, we just passed the sign on the way to Virginia. I told my husband I was going to look it up and see how it got the name. I'm glad to see there are other people just as curious about things as I am. My husband thinks I'm a little nutty. Lol!

  18. My wife and I always went west on hwy 110 at Waverly and we enjoyed that drive. I became a school bus driver in Camden Co. and one of the routes I drive goes from US 17 east from Waverly down Horse Stamp. I found the drive equally enjoyable.