kids encyclopedia robot

Americus, Georgia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Americus, Georgia
Municipal Building City of Americus
Municipal Building City of Americus
Location in Sumter County and the state of Georgia
Location in Sumter County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Sumter
 • Total 11.57 sq mi (29.96 km2)
 • Land 11.35 sq mi (29.40 km2)
 • Water 0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2)
479 ft (146 m)
 • Total 16,230
 • Density 1,429.96/sq mi (552.13/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
31709, 31710, 31719
Area code(s) 229
FIPS code 13-02116
GNIS feature ID 0331037

Americus is the county seat of Sumter County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2020 census, the city had a population of 16,230. It is the principal city of the Americus Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Schley and Sumter counties and had a combined population of 36,966 at the 2000 census.

Americus is the home of Habitat for Humanity's international headquarters, Georgia Southwestern State University, the Windsor Hotel, The Fuller Center for Housing's international headquarters, The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Cafe Campesino, and many other organizations. The city is notable for its rich history, including a large business and residential historic district, and its close proximity to Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Andersonville National Historic Site, and Koinonia Farm.


Americus is located at 32°4′31″N 84°13′36″W / 32.07528°N 84.22667°W / 32.07528; -84.22667 (32.075221, -84.226602).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.7 square miles (28 km2), of which, 10.5 square miles (27 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (1.87%) is water.


Climate data for Americus, Georgia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 58
Average low °F (°C) 34
Rainfall inches (mm) 4.61


Americus Historic District
Windsor Hotel façade
Location Irregular pattern along Lee St. with extensions to Dudley St., railroad tracks, Rees Park, and Glessner St. (original), E. Church St. and Oak Grove Cemetery (increase), Americus, Georgia
Built 1859 (increase)
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Classical Revival, Late Gothic Revival, Romanesque
NRHP reference No. 76000648 (original)
79003319 (increase)
Significant dates
Added to NRHP January 1, 1976
Boundary increase September 3, 1979

Early years

Americus was founded by General John Americus Smith. While out on a scouting mission with his men, he noticed that there was a great deal of distance between two cities. He decided that he would come back and purchase land to build on in 1825. As he built on his land, his plantation grew very large in cotton production. Soon, more and more people started moving to the location until in 1832 the town of Americus was founded. Gen John's plantation was a huge part in helping Americus grow and providing income for the town. Gen John would later pass of the flu in 1868 at the age of 62 years. After his death his plantation was divided up into sections and auctioned off to different farmers that had now moved into the area.

For its first two decades, Americus was a small courthouse town. The arrival of the railroad in 1854 and, three decades later, local attorney Samuel H. Hawkins' construction of the only privately financed railroad in state history, made Americus the eighth largest city in Georgia into the 20th century. It was known as the "Metropolis of Southwest Georgia," a reflection of its status as a cotton distribution center. In 1890, Georgia's first chartered electric street car system went into operation in Americus. One of its restored cars is on permanent display at the Lake Blackshear Regional Library, a gift from the Robert T. Crabb family who acquired the street car in the 1940s.

The town was already graced with an abundance of antebellum and Victorian architecture when local capitalists opened the Windsor Hotel in 1892. A five-story Queen Anne edifice, it was designed by a Swedish architect, Gottfried L. Norrman, in Atlanta. Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall gave a speech from the balcony in 1917 and soon to be New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in the dining room in 1928.

On January 1, 1976, the city center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Americus Historic District. The district boundaries were extended in 1979.

Into the 20th century

For the local minority community, Rev. Dr. Major W. Reddick established the Americus Institute (1897–1932). Booker T. Washington was a guest speaker there in May 1908. Rev. Alfred S. Staley was responsible for locating the state Masonic Orphanage in Americus, which served its function from 1898 to 1940. Both men engineered the unification of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia in 1915, the former as president and the latter as recording secretary. The public school named in honor of A.S. Staley was designated a National School of Excellence in 1990.

Two other institutions of higher learning were also established in Americus, the Third District Agricultural and Mechanical School in 1906 (now Georgia Southwestern State University), and the South Georgia Trade and Vocational School in 1948 (now South Georgia Technical College). South Georgia Technical College is located on the original site of Souther Field.

In World War I, an Army Air Service training facility, Souther Field (now Jimmy Carter Regional Airport), was commissioned northeast of the city limits. Charles A. Lindbergh, the "Lone Eagle," bought his first airplane and made his first solo flight there during a two-week stay in May 1923. Recommissioned for World War II, Souther Field was used for RAF pilot training (1941–1942) as well as US pilot training before ending the war as a German prisoner-of-war camp. The town was incorporated in 1832, and the name Americus was picked out of a hat.

  • Shoeless Joe Jackson served as the field manager for the local baseball team after his banishment from professional baseball. A plaque at Thomas Bell Stadium commemorates his contribution to the local baseball program.

Americus and the Civil Rights Movement

Koinonia Farm, an interracial Christian community, was organized near Americus in 1942. Founder Clarence Jordan was a mentor to Millard and Linda Fuller, who founded Habitat for Humanity International at Koinonia in 1976 before moving into Americus the following year. In 2005, they founded The Fuller Center for Housing, also in Americus. Koinonia Farm is currently located southwest of Americus on Hwy. 49.

The Civil Rights Era in Americus was a time of great turmoil; violent opposition to Koinonia by racist elements led to the bombing of a store uptown in 1957. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent a weekend in the courthouse jail in 1961, after an arrest in Albany. The "Sumter Movement" to end racial segregation was organized and led by Rev. Joseph R. Campbell in 1963. As a direct result, two Georgia laws were subsequently declared unconstitutional by a federal tribunal meeting in Americus. Color barriers were first removed in 1965 when J.W. Jones and Henry L. Williams joined the Americus police force. Lewis M. Lowe was elected as the first black city councilman ten years later. With their election in 1995, Eloise R. Paschal and Eddie Rhea Walker broke the gender barrier on the city's governing body.

In 1971, the city was featured in a Marshall Frady article, "Discovering One Another in a Georgia Town", in Life magazine. The portrayal of the city's school integration was relatively benign, especially considering the community's history of troubled race relations. Americus' nadir in this respect had occurred in 1913, when a young black man named Will Redding was lynched by a white mob. A group of young African Americans were standing on the corner of Cotton Avenue and Lamar street. One of those men was Will Redding. Police chief Barrow ordered them to move away from the corner, all complied except Redding. The chief tried to arrest Redding and a struggle ensued. Will Redding was then hit with the Chief's gun, afterwards, Redding grabbed the gun and shot the police chief. Will Redding was then chased down, shot, and put in jail. An angry mob went into the jail and tore down the door to Redding's cell. When the door was completely torn down, the mob dragged Will Redding out onto Forsyth street and beat him to death using crow bars and hammers.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,259
1880 3,635 11.5%
1890 6,398 76.0%
1900 7,674 19.9%
1910 8,063 5.1%
1920 9,010 11.7%
1930 8,760 −2.8%
1940 9,281 5.9%
1950 11,389 22.7%
1960 13,472 18.3%
1970 16,091 19.4%
1980 16,120 0.2%
1990 16,512 2.4%
2000 17,013 3.0%
2010 17,041 0.2%
2020 16,230 −4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Americus racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 4,382 27.0%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 10,079 62.1%
Native American 17 0.1%
Asian 394 2.43%
Pacific Islander 4 0.02%
Other/Mixed 345 2.13%
Hispanic or Latino 1,009 6.22%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 16,230 people, 6,162 households, and 3,557 families residing in the city.


Americus was hit by a tornado around 9:15 P.M. on March 1, 2007. The EF-3 tornado was up to one mile wide, and carved a 38-mile path of destruction through the city and surrounding residential areas. It destroyed parts of Sumter Regional Hospital, forcing the evacuations of all of the patients there. There were two fatalities at a Hudson Street residence near the hospital; all SRH patients were evacuated safely. The hospital, however, faced major reconstruction issues and was eventually torn down. A new hospital, Phoebe Sumter, opened at a new location on the corner of US 19 and Highway 280 in December 2011.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said, "It was worse that [sic] I had feared. The hospital was hit, but the devastation within the area of Sumter County and Americus was more than I imagined. The businesses around the hospital are totally destroyed. Power is still not restored in many places. It's just a blessing frankly that we didn't have more fatalities than we did." Over 500 homes were affected, with around 100 completely destroyed. Several businesses throughout the town were seriously damaged or destroyed as well. Among the businesses suffering major damage were Winn Dixie supermarket, Wendy's, Zaxby's, McDonald's, Domino's Pizza, and several local businesses. The Winn Dixie was completely destroyed. Domino's Pizza has since reopened, as well as Winn Dixie.

President George W. Bush visited the area on March 3, calling what he saw "tough devastation."

Baseball in Americus

There have been eight Minor league teams that have represented the city of Americus during 20 seasons spanning 1906–2002. Since classification of the minors began, seven of them have been labeled as class D loops and one played in an independent league. Several ballplayers for Americus teams subsequently played in the Major Leagues.




Largest employers

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employers in the area are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Sumter County Schools 950
2 Eaton Cooper Lighting 600
3 Habitat for Humanity 400
4 Wal-Mart 399
5 Phoebe Sumter Medical Center 396
6 Magnolia Manor 375
7 Georgia Southwestern State University 280
8 Southern Star Community Services 253
9 Sumter County 235
10 City of Americus 195


Primary and secondary schools

The Sumter County School District holds grades pre-school to twelfth, which consist of one primary school and one elementary school, two middle schools, and two high schools. The district has 353 full-time teachers and over 5,774 students.

Elementary schools:

  • Sumter County Primary School
  • Sumter County Elementary School
  • Sumter County Intermediate School

Secondary schools:

  • Sumter County Middle School
  • Americus-Sumter Ninth Grade Academy
  • Americus-Sumter County High School

K-12 charter school:

  • Furlow Charter School

K-12 private school:

  • Southland Academy

Higher education

All schools and colleges are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Public libraries

Lake Blackshear Regional Library
Lake Blackshear Regional Library of the Lake Blackshear Regional Library System

The community has the Lake Blackshear Regional Library, a part of the Lake Blackshear Regional Library System. It was temporarily relocated to a shirt factory warehouse also located in Americus after the tornado in 2007, but, once the reconstruction of the library finished around 2012, it was moved back to its original place.

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Americus (Georgia) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Famous Hispanic athletes
Tony Romo
Manu Ginóbili
Eduardo Nájera
Roberto Clemente
kids search engine
Americus, Georgia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.