Property developer Scott Taylor is not just concerned with renovating the packinghouse building; he also cares deeply about renovating its dark story. Legend tells that the owner of the packinghouse, Brooks Simmons, tragically lost his fortune in the Great Depression and was so consumed by despair that he locked his employees in the building and set it on fire, before taking his own life.
Taylor assures us that this is simply not true. The packinghouse was built in 1917 with resources pooled from 600 different investors, not a solitary owner. When the packinghouse closed in 1920, it constituted a deep financial loss for those involved. Brooks Simmons did serve as the president of the Bulloch Packing Company for a time, as well as the Bank of Statesboro which he inherited from his father. He eventually lost the bank after the stock market crash of 1929, nearly ten years after the packinghouse closed. Simmons did take his own life, but at his home in Atlanta.
Yet, urban legends have tremendous staying power. The building’s spooky aesthetic and haunted reputation make it a popular film location for post-apocalyptic and horror films by Georgia Southern and SCAD students. Last October the Georgia Southern Football team used the location to shoot a video unveiling their new uniforms. Inspired by the movie It, the video has been viewed almost 140,000 times!
At the outset of the project, Taylor sought historical expertise from Georgia Southern alumnus, Miranda Hazelwood. Hazelwood, who was a senior history major at the time, conducted research not just on the packinghouse, but the history of the property itself all the way back to the mid 1800s. Taylor also purchased an old house adjacent to the packinghouse property, which he is actively engaged in renovating. The old home likely belonged to a tenant farmer on the property well before the Bulloch County Packing Company acquired it.
Taylor wants to incorporate the rich history of the property into his vision for the new apartment spaces that will fill the old building. He envisions an open green space around the apartments with historical signage, telling the story of the packinghouse, Simmons, and dispelling the old lore. He says that he wants to provide a sense of resolution by bringing the packinghouse back to something aspirational, as it was when it began, rather than something negative.
Check out https://www.facebook.com/ThePackinghouseProject/ for updates and pictures of the process. You can see the uniform-reveal video that was filmed at the site here: https://www.wtoc.com/2019/10/29/eagles-reveal-alternate-helmets-with-it-inspired-video/.
Looking for something to view while social distancing? Might we suggest a Statesboro-themed watchlist? Check out these 5 movies that were filmed (or partially filmed) in Statesboro and Bulloch County!
Now & Then (1995)
(PG-13) Rent or Buy on AppleTV
“A summer when four friends made a promise to return anytime they needed each other. Twenty years later that time has come.“
See if you can spot several prominent Downtown Statesboro landmarks featured throughout the film.
This film has a loaded cast, starring Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rosie O’Donnell and Rita Wilson. Also starring (as younger versions of themselves, respectively): Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffman, Christina Ricci, and Ashleigh Aston Moore.
Ford vs Ferrari (2019)
(PG-13) Rent or Buy on Multiple Platforms
“American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.”
Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale.
Visit Statesboro had the privilege of working closely with the film team to scout locations in Bulloch County for roadways that would work for critical scenes in the movie. As it turns out, stretches of Hwy 46 are almost identical to the French countryside where the actual race took place! Don’t blink though! This is a movie about a car race after all, so many of the Bulloch County scenes fly by. But if you’re familiar with the area you’ll be sure to recognize it, even if it’s a little blurry.
Visit Statesboro was also able to assist the production crew in obtaining permits and locating local resources for everything from catering to sanitation; helping to increase the economic impact of film in our community.
The Do-Over (2016)
“Two down-on-their-luck guys decide to fake their own deaths and start over with new identities, only to find the people they’re pretending to be are in even deeper trouble.”
Starring Adam Sandler and David Spade.
Another movie where Visit Statesboro was able to work with the production crew to bring film to our area. Statesboro’s very own Food World grocery store on Fair Road was temporarily redesigned to be used as the on-screen grocery store where David Spade plays the in-store bank manager (remember when that was a thing). And if you have a keen eye you may even be able to spot a few locals playing extras!
“Tony Stark, Jack Bauer, and Joyce Byers team-up to fight Thanos and a group of terrorists from The Upside Down…” no wait, that can’t be right.
Oh here we go…
“Two friends living in a small town during the 1960s, run away to enjoy their freedom during the Vietnam War, thus disappointing the father of one of them. When they return to town, they realize the importance of family unity.”
Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, and Winona Ryder.
This was filmed in 1987, so we don’t have much information about the filming process. We do know that much of it was filmed in Bulloch County, as well as Hardeeville, SC, and Savannah. Feel free to send us a message if you have information about the filming!
Not sure where you can watch it online. Our marketing director was able to get it through Netflix several years ago, back when they mailed actual DVDs. Do they even still do that?
Buster & Billie (1974)
“It was 1948. There was a girl like Billie in every school. All the boys knew her, but Buster loved her and no one understood.”
This romance/revenge film stars Jan-Michael Vincent who played Captain Stringfellow Hawke from the totally rad 80s hit TV show Airwolf. You’ll also notice the unburnt and ungloved Robert Englund in his film debut, before he terrorized teen dreams as Freddy Kruger.
We found this film in full on YouTube. Oh um… speaking of “full”, just a heads-up, this film is also notable as one of the earliest American mainstream movies to have full male frontal nudity so take the R rating seriously when it comes to who you’re watching this with.
Visit Statesboro is the Camera Ready contact for film in Statesboro and Bulloch County. We work closely with production companies to recruit and assist film projects in our community.