THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF) – The beloved White Columns Inn that used to be an attraction for near and far travelers in Thomson is gone. The demolition happened last week after it was announced in October 2022.

Now, a private developer is working on new projects that could be coming to the roughly 7-acre lot.

There are three tracts on the property, and one of them is set to become a Tidal Wave car wash.

“On what would be the southernmost piece of property on there, which is closest to what used to be the old dairy queen, that gas station there,” said Jason Smith, the community development director for McDuffie County.

The development company hasn’t yet announced what they plan to do with the other tracts.

For some backstory, the former inn was built in 1983 by the Wilson family, and was described by community members as a place to go for special occasions.

“During the Masters that was one of our favorite times,” said Epp Wilson, one of the former owners of the White Columns Inn. “We had a wine and cheese thing ever night during the Masters and enjoyed seeing those folks, and most of our business was repeat business.”

He tells NewsChannel 6 another car wash may not be what Thomson needs right now.

“I may be wrong, and I think they’ll do okay, but I think any number of businesses would be better and more profitable for the owner,” Wilson said.

He, along with McDuffie County leaders, hopes that wherever else gets built in the other two tracts is beneficial to the area.

“What could go there is anything from restaurants, gas stations, those kinds of things,” Jason Smith said. “A grocery store could conceivably go there – I know that’s a big need in our community and one we hear about regularly, and we would support any private developer that wants to do that.”

And Epp Wilson says the White Columns wouldn’t have been what is was without the community’s support.

“My Grandpa Wilson used to say ‘Boy, two meals in Thomson is better than three meals in any other place in the world,'” he said. “And I’m just glad to be from Thomson and appreciate the communities support all these years.”

We reached out to the developer for a timeline on the project, but haven’t heard back yet. We’ll keep you posted with updates.