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Albany, Georgia
The Albany Government Center
The Albany Government Center
Official seal of Albany, Georgia
The Good Life City, The Artesian City, Egypt Of America
"There's only one Albany, Georgia"
Location in Dougherty County and Georgia
Location in Dougherty County and Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Dougherty
Incorporated (city) December 27, 1838
 • City 55.9 sq mi (144.7 km2)
 • Land 55.5 sq mi (144.8 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
203 ft (62 m)
 • Density 1,385.5/sq mi (535.0/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
157,308 (US: 258th)
Demonym(s) Albanian
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
31701, 31705, 31707, 31721, 31763
Area code(s) 229
FIPS code 13-01052
GNIS feature ID 0310424

Albany is a city in the U.S. state of Georgia, and is the seat of Dougherty County. Located in southwest Georgia, it is the principal city of the Albany, Georgia metropolitan area. The population was 77,434 at the 2010 U.S. Census, making it the eighth-largest city in the state.


The area where Albany is located was formerly inhabited by the Creek Indians, who called it Thronateeska after their word for "flint" because of the mineral flint that was found near the river. The Creeks used this flintstone to make tools and weapons such as arrowheads.

Nelson Tift
Nelson Tift (1810-1891), the founder of Albany

American settlement began with Nelson Tift, from Groton, Connecticut, who took land along the Flint River in October 1836 after Indian removal. The Creek were forced to relocate to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Tift named his new town Albany after the capital of New York; both were located at the navigable heads of rivers. Alexander Shotwell laid out the town in 1836. It was incorporated as a city by an act of the General Assembly of Georgia on December 27, 1838.

Tift for decades was the city's leading entrepreneur. An ardent booster, he promoted education, business, and railroad construction. During the Civil War he provided naval supplies and helped build two ships. He opposed Radical Reconstruction inside the state and in Congress, and was scornful of the Yankee carpetbaggers who came in. John Fair concludes that Tift became "more Southern than many natives." His pro-slavery attitudes before the war and his support for segregation afterward made him compatible with Georgia's white elite.

The area was developed by planters using slave labor for clearing land and cotton cultivation. By 1840, Dougherty County's majority population was black, composed overwhelmingly of slaves. The market center for cotton plantations, Albany was in a prime location for shipping cotton to markets by steamboats on the river. In 1858, Tift hired Horace King, a former slave and bridge builder, to construct a toll bridge over the river. King's bridge toll house still stands.

Already important as a shipping port, Albany later became an important railroad hub in southwestern Georgia. Seven lines were constructed to the town. An exhibit on trains is located at the Thronateeska Heritage Center in the former railroad station.

While integral to the economic life of the town, the Flint River has flooded regularly. There was extensive property damage in 1841 and 1925. Some late twentieth-century floods were extreme. In 1994, a severe flood was caused by rainfall from Tropical Storm Alberto; it killed 14 people and displaced 22,000. The state supported a $150 million renovation of the Albany State University campus to repair storm damage and accomplish upgrades. New housing was built on the south side of town to replace what had been destroyed. In 1998, the Flint River crested at 35 feet (11 m) above its bed and flooded parts of the city.

Because of flooding, the city has decided against redeveloping areas along the riverfront floodplain for commercial or residential purposes. It is being improved for other uses, with a riverfront walkway and a new aquarium built over a tributary creek.

On February 10, 1940, a severe tornado hit Albany, killing eighteen people and causing large-scale damage.

On April 11, 1906, the Carnegie Library, created by matching funds from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, was opened downtown. Originally a segregated facility under Jim Crow laws, it was not open to African Americans until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It functioned as a library through 1985. In 1992, after renovation, the building was reopened as the headquarters of the Albany Area Arts Council.

In 1912, the downtown U.S. Post Office and Courthouse building opened. Other federal projects have been important to the city and region. In 1937, Chehaw Park was constructed as a part of a New Deal program under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

Major changes came with the expansion of military facilities in the city. A U.S. Army Air Corps training base was built near Albany on land owned by the city and leased to the Air Corps for $1 a year. Construction of the base and airfield by the Army Corps of Engineers began on March 25, 1941. The airfield was temporarily deactivated after World War II between August 15, 1946, and September 1, 1947.

After the beginning of the Cold War and the founding of the U.S. Air Force in late 1947, the airfield was reactivated and upgraded with runways for a U.S. Air Force base. It was named Turner Air Force Base. The Air Force used this base for heavy bomber jets, such as the B-52 Stratofortress. A number of other Air Force units were also housed at this base.

Among them were the 1370th Photomapping Group, and refueling and maintenance functions.

In 1951, the U.S. Marine Corps established a logistics base on the eastern outskirts of Albany. During the 1950s and 1960s, so many white servicemen and associated workers arrived that the town briefly became majority white for the first time since 1870. In 1960, the population of Albany reached 50,000 people.

In 1961–1962, African Americans in Albany played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement (see the Albany Movement). They led protests and non-violent demonstrations to end segregation of public facilities, gain the ability to vote, and restore their dignity. Assisted by activists from SCLC, CORE, SNCC, and the NAACP, African Americans and supporters took a stand to fight segregation through nonviolence. The city repealed its Jim Crow laws in 1963, but it took federal legislation to secure the franchise.

In 1967, the Air Force closed all its operations at the base, which was transferred to the U.S. Navy and renamed Naval Air Station Albany. NAS Albany was used as the shore base of nearly all the Navy's RA-5C Vigilante twin-jet, carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft. The base was closed and the property was returned to the city in 1974.

In 1979, the Miller Brewing Company purchased part of the old naval base's property to build a new brewery.

The decline in military bases and railroad restructuring led to job losses. Much of the remaining white population moved to suburbs and newer housing out of the city, which became majority African American in the 1970s.

2017 tornado

During the mid afternoon of January 22, 2017, a large, violent tornado passed through the area again, claiming 4 lives in the process, and destroying mobile home parks in the process.


Albany is located at (31.582273, −84.165557). It lies in a belt of historically rich farmland in the East Gulf coastal plain, on the banks of the Flint River.


Albany lies in the Upper Coastal Plain of Georgia.


Albany is located in southwestern Georgia, 78 mi (126 km) southeast of Columbus, 151 mi (243 km) south of Atlanta, 45 miles south of Americus, 93 mi (150 km) southwest of Macon, 39 mi (63 km) west of Tifton, 73 mi (117 km) northwest of Valdosta, 88 miles north of Tallahassee, Florida, 70 miles east of Eufaula, Alabama, and 84 miles east of Dothan, Alabama.

Tree canopy

As of 2010, the City of Albany had been a member of the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA Program for 23 years. Tree-lined streets are common, with large, mature oaks and other native trees. The city has a Tree Ordinance and a certified arborist on staff.

Parks, gardens, and trails


Albany Arch
The new archway over Oglethorpe Boulevard at Front Street welcomes visitors to downtown Albany.

The City of Albany's Recreation and Parks Department provides a diverse and comprehensive system of 77 park facilities throughout the City of Albany, including the following:

  • Community centers
    • Bill Miller Community Center
    • Carver Community Center
    • Carver Gymnasium
    • Community Open Air Art Gallery
    • Flint RiverQuarium
    • Henderson Community Center
    • Jackson Heights Fitness and Wellness Center
    • Lockett Station Community Center
    • Thornton Community Center
    • Turner Gymnasium
  • Pools
    • Carver Pool
    • Tift Pool
  • Athletic complexes
    • Carver Sports Complex
    • Eames Sports Complex
    • Gordon Sports Complex
    • Highland Sports Complex
    • Ken Gardens Sports Complex
  • Public golf course
    • Flint River Golf Course


Albany's Garden Club was established in 1996 and is located on the northeast side of Hillsman Park in the Palmyra Heights neighborhood.


Albany's Riverfront Trail is a 3.1-mile (5.0 km) paved trail along the Flint River that connects Riverfront Park in downtown Albany to the Cox Landing Boat Ramp in northeast Albany, near Chehaw Park. The Oxford Environmental Park Nature Trail is an offshoot of the trail, which provides information about the ecological features of the area.


Albany Mall opened in 1976.


U.S. Route 19 and U.S. Route 82 are the major thoroughfares through the city. The two join together north of the city for a short freeway known as the Liberty Expressway. Other major highways that run through the city include Georgia State Route 91, Georgia State Route 133, Georgia State Route 234, and Georgia State Route 520.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Albany has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. Albany receives well above the national average amount of precipitation. Much of this comes in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms. According to "Cities Ranked and Rated" (Bert Sperling and Peter Sander), Albany reports thunder on 86 days per year. This is more than twice the national average.

Climate data for Albany, Georgia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 83
Average high °F (°C) 60
Average low °F (°C) 35
Record low °F (°C) 1
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.12


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,618
1870 2,101 29.9%
1880 3,216 53.1%
1890 4,008 24.6%
1900 4,606 14.9%
1910 8,190 77.8%
1920 11,555 41.1%
1930 14,507 25.5%
1940 19,055 31.4%
1950 31,155 63.5%
1960 55,890 79.4%
1970 72,623 29.9%
1980 74,425 2.5%
1990 78,122 5.0%
2000 76,939 −1.5%
2010 77,434 0.6%
Est. 2015 74,843 −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census


According to the United States Census Bureau, the Albany, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had an estimated population of 157,308 and ranked 252nd in the U.S. in 2010. The MSA consists of Dougherty, Terrell, Lee, Worth, and Baker Counties.


Albany Government Center
The postmodern Albany Government Center downtown

As of the census of 2010, there were 77,434 people, 29,781 households, and 18,515 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,385.5 people per square mile (535.0/km²). There were 33,436 housing units at an average density of 577.3 per square mile (222.9/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was 71.6% African American and Black, 25.2% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population.

Of the 29,781 total households, 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.7% were married couples living together, 27.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. Households of individuals living alone made up 31.8% of the total, and 9.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.8% under the age of 18, 13.0% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.4 years. For every 100 females there were 85.6 males. For every 100 males age 18 and over, there were 116.7 females.

The median household income in the city was $25,191, and the median income for a family was $35,067. Males had a median income of $31,104 versus $27,407 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,117. About 31.9% of families and 39.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 55.4% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those persons age 65 and over.

Arts and culture

In 1972 the manager of a local theater, Mr. Jenkins, was convicted of "distributing obscene material" for showing the film Carnal Knowledge, in Jenkins v. Georgia.

Museums and the arts

Albany Municipal Auditorium (Albany, Georgia)
Albany Municipal Auditorium
Ray Charles statue, centerpiece of Ray Charles Plaza
Ray Charles Plaza in Downtown Albany
New Albany Hotel
New Albany Hotel
  • Albany Area Arts Council
  • The Albany Chorale
  • Albany Civic Center
  • Albany Civil Rights Institute
  • The Albany Concert Association
  • Albany Municipal Auditorium
  • Albany Museum of Art
  • The Albany Symphony Orchestra
  • Art Park on Pine
  • Ballet Theatre South
  • Flint RiverQuarium
  • The Parks at Chehaw has one of two accredited zoos in the State of Georgia
  • RiverQuarium Imagination Theater
  • Theatre Albany
  • Thronateeska Heritage Center
  • Weatherbee Planetarium

Registered historic places

  • Albany District Pecan Growers' Exchange
  • Albany Housefurnishing Company
  • Albany Municipal Auditorium
  • Albany Railroad Depot Historic District
  • Bridge House (Albany, Georgia)
  • Carnegie Library of Albany
  • Davis-Exchange Bank Building
  • John A. Davis House
  • Mount Zion Baptist Church
  • New Albany Hotel
  • Old St. Teresa's Catholic Church
  • Rosenberg Brothers Department Store
  • St. Nicholas Hotel
  • Samuel Farkas House
  • Tift Park
  • U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
  • Union Station Depot
  • W. E. Smith House

Memorials and sights

Astronauts Memorial (front), Hasan Temple, Albany
Astronauts Memorial, Albany
Ampitheater in Veterans Park, Albany
Amphitheater in Veterans Park, Albany

  • Albany Civil Rights Memorial
  • Albany Railroad Depot Historic District
  • Astronauts Memorial
  • Confederate Memorial Park
  • The Flint Riverquarium
  • Freedom Flame
  • Freedom Walk
  • The Guardian
  • Radium Springs – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia
  • Ray Charles Plaza
  • RiverFront Park
  • Royal Air Force Memorial
  • Veterans Park

Festivals and events

City races include a 26.2-mile (42.2 km) full marathon or a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) half marathon, and is ranked as one of the top Boston qualifiers in the country, with almost 20% of all marathon finishers qualifying.

The annual Mardi Gras Street Festival takes place in downtown Albany the first weekend of March. Starting at noon and running until midnight, the festival coincides with the marathon and half marathon.

East Albany

East Albany District, Albany, Ga

East Albany
Country United States
State Georgia
County Dougherty
203 ft (62 m)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 229

East Albany is a district of Albany.


East Albany is located in a triangle between the Flint River, The Liberty Express Way, and Oglethorpe Boulevard. Its main road is East Broad Avenue.

District statistics

It is segregated from the rest of the city by the Flint River and the large highways that surround it. The area has little economic activity, and thus poverty is widespread. As of 2000, the poverty rate was at 45.3%, and the median household income was $19,601.00. The population was 10,547 people, 90.9% of whom were African Americans. 33.9% of the people were under the age of 18, and 40.9% of these belonged to single parent households. The district supported 1.1% of the population who were born outside of the U.S. The education rate was low, with 41.0% of adults being without a high school diploma. Only 5.8% of people had a college degree. Unemployment was at 18.6%. Home ownership rate was at 36.7%.


East Albany's subdivisions include:

  • Colonial Village Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • East Towne Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Elon Village Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Isabella Heights Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Jackson Heights Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Mulberry Heights Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Northend Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Radial Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Woodland Acres Subdivision, Albany, Georgia
  • Carolyn Clive, Frances Davis, and Tom Liner, eds., Glancing Backward: Albany, Georgia, 1836–1986 (Albany, Ga.: Dougherty County School System and Sesquicentennial Publication Committee, 1986).
  • Lee W. Formwalt, "A Garden of Irony and Diversity," in The New Georgia Guide (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996).
  • Joseph Winthrop Holley, You Can't Build a Chimney from the Top: The South through the Life of a Negro Educator (New York: William-Frederick Press, 1948).
  • Thronateeska Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, History and Reminiscences of Dougherty County, Georgia (1924; reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1978).
  • Works Progress Administration, Historical Background of Dougherty County, 1836–1940 (Atlanta: Cherokee, 1981).


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