THUNDERBOLT MUSEUM SOCIETY, INC.
2702 Mechanics Avenue
Thunderbolt, Georgia 31404
Thunderbolt is as old as Savannah. When James Oglethorpe landed at Savannah, four
families were sent to the outpost of Thunderbolt to establish a fort. On some of the oldest
maps of Georgia this area is shown as Thunderbolt. Legend has it that during a violent
thunderstorm lightening struck a rock and a fountain gushed forth. The Indians encamped
nearby called the area Thunderbolt.
The river that flows by the town has had numerous names, including Warsaw. The town
was incorporated in 1856 as the Town of Warsaw. However, it continued to be known as
Thunderbolt. In 1921 by petition, the Georgia General Assembly officially renamed the
Thunderbolt has survived several eras without a population decline. It was first a fort
outpost to protect Savannah and a farming community. By the mid 1800s to the 1920s, it
became Savannah’s playground with a host of amusements for public entertainment, the
most famous being the Casino. There was horse racing, boat racing, dance pavilions and
restaurants, including the Bannon Lodge. With the invention and popularity of the
automobile, a highway was built to Tybee Island. Having access to the Atlantic Ocean
moved the playground to Tybee. But at the same time the shrimping industry was
growing in Thunderbolt. In the heyday of the ‘50s, and ‘60s, shrimping was king and as
many as 300 shrimp boats were working out of Thunderbolt. Now with the decline of the
shrimping industry, a new era is emerging, a family community.
The Thunderbolt Museum Society was officially incorporated in January, 2001. Long
before this, there were those who realized the importance of preserving the history of
Thunderbolt and were working toward that goal. Town Council has been instrumental in
this endeavor. When the new Town Hall was built, Council made arrangements to
refurnish the old town hall to house the museum and has included upkeep of the building
in the town budget.
The museum is run by volunteers who man the museum and work on recapturing the
history of the town. The Thunderbolt Museum has published a book, “A History of
Thunderbolt, Georgia” which is an overview of the Town. The book may be purchased
from the museum. Museum hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 A. M. to 4:00 P. M. and Saturday 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P. M.