Legend has it that the city of Social Circle got its name from a group that gathered around a well in 1820.
In the 1970’s, the city replicated that well in the middle of the town, and it has been one of the most recognizable parts of Social Circle ever since.
The well was destroyed around 3 a.m. Saturday by an alleged drunk driver, according to Police Chief Terry Sosebee.
According to a draft of the police report, James Bryan Cronan, 18, of Social Circle, was driving his Blue Chevrolet pickup when he hit the city’s iconic symbol.
Cronan was charged with DUI and failure to maintain a lane. Social Circle City Manager Doug White said Cronan was taken to the Walton County jail.
The Historic Preservation Society of Social Circle said the original well was located at an intersection of two Native American trails and was a meeting place for travelers and villagers alike. The society’s website, historicsocialcirclega.com, said a stranger approached a group gathered around the well and said, "This is surely a social circle." The village’s name was born.
The well, which stood until Saturday morning, was put up in the 1970’s near the red light in the heart of town and then moved to its current location off the street, Social Circle Mayor Hal Dally said.
"It was a symbol of a well that was in place at the crossroads of the Hightower Trail and what is now Highway 11, serving as the crossroads for two Indian trails," Dally said. "The well was a meeting place and crossroads. That was just a landmark to recognize history."
That landmark served as a popular place for visitors to take pictures.
As of Saturday afternoon, the debris from the wrecked well was cleared. Dally said the city will soon contact contractors and begin to rebuild the well exactly as it was.