THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF) – The White Columns Inn in Thomson used to be a popular attraction for travelers near and far, but it’s set to become a new development in the coming weeks.

“That place used to be beautiful,” said Lewis Smith, the former director of McDuffie Museum. “All those grounds, that fountain, all that kind of stuff, they kept it up so well. It was like a southern plantation.”

Built in 1983 by the Wilson family, the inn was described by community members as a place to go to for special occasions.

“They had a wonderful restaurant and bar. I mean it was a nice facility and meeting rooms,” said Charles Rodgers, a resident of Thomson who helped build the inn. “When the Wilson family sold it out, it declined greatly.”

The Inn was sold to a new owner in the late 1990’s due to financial troubles with the restaurant, according to a McDuffie County history expert.

The new owner, whose contact information we couldn’t find, then closed the Inn’s restaurant and bar, and it lost its Best Western affiliation.

“It’s just sad to see several years of your life just go up in smoke,” Rodgers said. “I frequented the restaurant and lounge on a regular basis when the Wilson’s had it, but when they sold out I quit going out there.”

That owner recently sold the property to a developer, and for the blueprint to be approved, it needs to meet certain county requirements.

“We can’t control what he puts there from a business purpose perspective,” said Jason Smith, who works with McDuffie County Development. “But we’ll certainly work with him on how its put there, what it looks like, to a point of how it looks like, the environmental impact, those kinds of things.”

Plans for what is being built after the demolition haven’t been released yet.

“What you’re seeing is the demise, the end of like an era,” said Lewis Smith, the former director of McDuffie Museum. “We would much rather see a nice modern new business be there than the way it is now if nobody was going to fix it up. So, we’re not disappointed that they’re gonna demolish it, if they put something decent up there.”

While many people we spoke to in the community say they are sad to see the White Columns go, they hope that what gets built there is beneficial for the area.