The Whistle Stop Café building was built in 1927 by Edward L. Williams, Sr. He ran a general merchandise store there for 45 years and finally closed the doors for good in 1972 simply stating, "I have had enough."
While in business, the store sold groceries, pantry staples, gasoline, cattle feed, medicines, clothing and hardware. In Mr. Williams words, "everything from the cradle to the grave." He called everyone "Cuz" and was known to roll the dice to see who paid for the Coca-Colas™.
Mrs. Williams, known to most as "Miss Lillian", helped run the store and also raised five boys and a girl. All of the children helped in the store until they went off to school or to the service.
The store was probably one the last of it's kind that delivered the groceries and also allowed folks to "charge" them; keeping a running tab. An antique file system loaded with old yellow tickets from the past along with the meat block, cash register, meat scales, wood heater, safe, and other smaller items remain in the café today.
The store was rented out for a while as a timber consultant/real estate office and then as an antique shop before the filming of "Fried Green Tomatoes". The store played a major role as "The Whistle Stop Café".
After the filming, Robert Williams, who had inherited the building, decided to make it into a real café and formed a partnership with friend Jerie Lynn Williams. Together they started the "Original Whistle Stop Café."
Fried Green Tomatoes is a 1991 American comedy-drama film directed by Jon Avnet and based on Fannie Flagg's 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Written by Flagg and Carol Sobieski, and starring Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker and Cicely Tyson, the film tells the story of a housewife who, unhappy with her life, befriends an elderly lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.
The town of Juliette was first called "Glover" after Dr. Glover who built the cotton mill near the river in East Juliette. The towns of Iceburg and Brownsville had sprung up earlier but disappeared as Juliette began to grow with the coming of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad in 1882. Being split by the Ocmulgee River, the town of Juliette is in Monroe County and East Juliette in Jones County.
Robert M. Williams was the first postmaster when the post office was established in his store on June 30, 1879. This new post office was in the community of Iceburg.
Juliette received its name from the engineer that was building the railroad. It was named for his daughter, Juliette McCracken. McCracken Street also happens to be the name of the main street running through Juliette today.
06/15/21: It's happening! We'll be open again June 24th at 11AM! Please check out our social media pages for updates! #getfried
FB: @whistlestopcafejuliette (NOT the "original" page! That's a fanpage not run by us!)