Milledgeville, Georgia facts for kids
|City of Milledgeville|
Old Governor's Mansion
|Motto: "Capitols, Columns & Culture"|
Location in Baldwin County and the state of Georgia
|• Total||20.6 sq mi (53.3 km2)|
|• Land||20.4 sq mi (52.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)|
|Elevation||330 ft (100 m)|
|• Density||901/sq mi (347.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern Time (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0332390|
Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon and bordered on the east by the Oconee River. The rapid current of the river here made this an attractive location to build a city. It was the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868, notably during the American Civil War. Milledgeville was preceded as the capital city by Louisville and was succeeded by Atlanta, the current capital. Today U.S. Highway 441 connects Milledgeville to Madison, Athens, and Dublin.
The population of the town of Milledgeville was 18,382 at the 2010 census.
Milledgeville is along the route of the Fall Line Freeway, which is under construction to link Milledgeville with Augusta, Macon, Columbus, and other Fall Line cities. They have long histories from the colonial era of Georgia.
Milledgeville is the principal city of the Milledgeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that includes Baldwin and Hancock counties. It had a combined population of 54,776 at the 2000 census. The Old State Capitol is located in the city.
Milledgeville, named after Georgia governor John Milledge (in office 1802–1806), was founded by European Americans at the start of the 19th century as the new centrally located capital of the state of Georgia. It served as the state capital from 1804 to 1868.
In 1803 an act of the Georgia legislature called for the establishment and survey of a town to be named in honor of the current governor, John Milledge. The Treaty of Fort Wilkinson (1802), in which the Creek people, hard pressed by debts to white traders, agreed to cede part of their ancient land, had recently made available territory immediately west of the Oconee River. The white population of Georgia continued to press west and south in search of new farmland, and the town of Milledgeville, carved out of the Oconee wilderness, helped accommodate their needs.
In December 1804 the state legislature declared Milledgeville the new capital of Georgia. The new planned town, modeled after Savannah and Washington, D.C., stood on the edge of the frontier, where the Upper Coastal Plain gives rise to the foothills and plateau of the Piedmont. The area was surveyed, and a town plat of 500 acres (2.0 km2) was divided into 84 4-acre (16,000 m2) squares. The survey also included four public squares of 20 acres (81,000 m2) each.
In 1807 fifteen wagons, escorted by troops, left Louisville, Georgia, the former capital, carrying the treasury and public records of the state. The new statehouse, though unfinished, managed to accommodate the legislators. Over the next thirty years the Capitol building was enlarged with a north and south wing. Its pointed arched windows and battlements marked it as the United States' first public building in the Gothic revival style.
Governor Jared Irwin (re-elected in 1806) soon moved into a handsome two-story frame structure known as Government House, on the corner of Clarke and Greene streets. The new capital was a rather crude frontier community with simple clapboard houses, a multitude of inns and taverns, law offices, bordellos, and hostelries. The town attracted several blacksmiths, apothecaries, dry-goods merchants, and booksellers. Travelers to the town generally remained unimpressed, noting the ill-kept and overcrowded inns, the gambling, the dueling, and the bitter political feuds.
Life in the antebellum capital
After 1815 Milledgeville became increasingly prosperous and more respectable. Wealth and power gravitated toward the capital, and the surrounding countryside became caught up in the middle of a lucrative cotton boom as large plantations were developed, based on slave labor. Cotton bales regularly were set up to line the streets, waiting for shipping downriver to Darien.
Such skilled architects as John Marlor (1789-1835) and Daniel Pratt (1799-1873) designed elegant houses for wealthy planters; colossal porticoes, cantilevered balconies, pediments adorned with sunbursts, and fanlighted doorways all proclaimed the Milledgeville Federal style of architecture. The major religious congregations built fine new houses of worship on Statehouse Square. The completion in 1817 of the Georgia Penitentiary heralded a new era of penal reform.
Public-spirited citizens such as Tomlinson Fort (mayor of Milledgeville, 1847–1848) promoted better newspapers, learning academies, and banks. In 1837-1842 the Georgia Lunatic Asylum (later the Central State Hospital) was built here. Oglethorpe University, where the poet Sidney Lanier was later educated, opened its doors in 1838. (The college, forced to close in 1862, was rechartered in 1913, with its campus in Atlanta.)
The cotton boom in this upland area significantly increased the demand for slave labor; planters bought slaves transported from the Upper South in the domestic slave trade. By 1828 the town claimed 1,599 inhabitants: 789 free whites, 27 free blacks, and 783 African-American slaves. The town market, where slave auctions took place, was located on Capital Square, next to the Presbyterian church. Skilled black carpenters, masons, and laborers constructed most of the handsome antebellum structures in Milledgeville.
Two events epitomized Milledgeville's status as the political and social center of Georgia in this period:
- In 1825 the capital was visited by the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) aristocratic soldier, the Marquis de Lafayette. The receptions, barbecue, formal dinner, and grand ball for the veteran apostle of liberty seemed to mark Milledgeville's coming of age.
- The Governor's Mansion was constructed (1836-38/39); it was one of the most important examples of Greek revival architecture in America.
By 1854 Baldwin County had a total population of 8148, of whom 3566 were free (mostly white), and 4602 were African-American slaves.
American Civil War and its aftermath
On January 19, 1861, Georgia convention delegates passed the Ordinance of Secession, and on February 4, 1861, the "Republic of Georgia" joined the Confederate States of America. In the closing months of the war, in November 1864 Union general William T. Sherman and 30,000 Union troops marched into Milledgeville during his March to the Sea. Before leaving a couple of days later, they had poured sorghum and molasses down the pipes of the organ at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. But the Union forces spared most of the antebellum buildings there, as Sherman had relatives in the city.
In 1868, during Reconstruction, the state legislature moved the capital to Atlanta—a city emerging as the symbol of the New South as surely as Milledgeville symbolized the Old South.
Milledgeville struggled to survive as a city after losing the business of the capital. The energetic efforts of local leaders established the Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College (later Georgia Military College) in 1879 on Statehouse Square. Where the crumbling remains of the old penitentiary stood, Georgia Normal and Industrial College (later Georgia College & State University) was founded in 1889. In part because of these institutions, as well as Central State Hospital, Milledgeville developed as a less provincial town than many of its neighbors.
Twentieth century to present
In the 1950s the Georgia Power Company completed a dam at Furman Shoals on the Oconee River, about 5 miles (8 km) north of town, creating a huge reservoir called Lake Sinclair. The lake community became an increasingly important part of the town's social and economic identity.
In the 1980s and 1990s Milledgeville began to capitalize on its heritage by revitalizing the downtown and historic district. It encouraged restoration of historic buildings and an urban design scheme on Main Street to emphasize its character.
By 2000 the population of Milledgeville and Baldwin County combined had grown to 44,700. Community leaders have made concerted efforts to create a more diversified economic base, striving to wean the old capital from its dependence on government institutions such as Central State Hospital and state prisons. The state has recently closed some prisons and reduced jobs at Central State, due to tightening state budgets.
Milledgeville is located at(33.087755, -83.233401) and is 301 feet (92 m) above sea level.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.6 square miles (53.3 km2), of which 20.4 square miles (52.9 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.74%, is water.
Milledgeville is located on the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the United States. The Oconee River flows a half mile east of downtown on its way south to the Altamaha River and then south to the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Sinclair, a man-made lake, is about 5 miles (8 km) northeast of Milledgeville on the border of Baldwin, Putnam and Hancock counties.
Milledgeville is composed of two main districts: a heavily commercialized area along the highway known to locals simply as "441," extending from a few blocks north of Georgia College & State University to 4 miles (6 km) north of Milledgeville, and the "Downtown" area, encompassing the college, buildings housing city government agencies, various bars and restaurants. This historic area was laid out in 1803, with streets named after other counties in Georgia.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,757 people, 4,755 households, and 2,643 families residing in the city, although a 2005 study estimates there to be a population of 19,397. The population density was 938.8 people per square mile (362.5/km²). There were 5,356 housing units at an average density of 268.1 per square mile (103.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.94% White, 47.68% African American, 0.13% Native American, 1.55% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.23% of the population.
There were 4,755 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.6% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.4% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city, the population was spread out with 16.0% under the age of 18, 20.9% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 166.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 173.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,484, and the median income for a family was $44,683. Males had a median income of $30,794 versus $23,719 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,782. About 14.8% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.8% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.
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