Valdosta, Georgia facts for kids

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Valdosta, Georgia
City
Valdosta City Hall
Valdosta City Hall
Official seal of Valdosta, Georgia
Seal
Nickname(s): Azalea City, Sportstown, Titletown USA, Winnersville
Motto: "Southern Charm, Not Gone With the Wind" (1990s-2012),
"A City Without Limits" (2012-Present)
Location in Lowndes County and the state of Georgia
Location in Lowndes County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Lowndes
Incorporated December 7, 1860
Area
 • City 30.3 sq mi (78.4 km2)
 • Land 29.9 sq mi (77.5 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 220 ft (67 m)
Population (2013)
 • City 56,481
 • Density 1,799.3/sq mi (695.4/km2)
 • Metro 139,588
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 31601-31606, 31698
Area code(s) 229
FIPS code 13-78800
GNIS feature ID 0324649
Website City of Valdosta Website

Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481 , and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.

Valdosta is the principal city of the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in 2010 had a population of 139,588. It includes part of Brooks County to the west.

Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.

Valdosta is called the Azalea City, as the plant grows in profusion there. The city hosts an annual Azalea Festival in March.

History

Establishment

Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.

Valdosta is located in the coastal plain of Georgia and has a virtually flat landscape. It was once the center of long-staple cotton growing in the United States, a lucrative crop both before and after the Civil War. The county had a majority-white population well before the war with a substantial black population, as the cotton plantations were dependent on masses of enslaved field laborers.

The sixty miles (97 km) of railway between Valdosta and Waycross were once the longest straight stretch of railroad in the world. Today highways stretch through the county for miles with hardly a curve, rise, or fall.

After being bypassed by the railroad and losing the county seat, Troupville was virtually abandoned. It had been named after Governor George Troup, for whom Troup County, Georgia, was also named. Valdosta was named after Troup's plantation, Valdosta (occasionally the Val d'Osta spelling was used for the plantation). Troup had named it after the Valle d'Aosta in Italy. The name Aosta (Latin: Augusta), refers to Emperor Augustus. A long-standing rumor held that the city's name meant "vale of beauty."

The American Civil War erupted just months after the establishment of Valdosta. During the war, Valdosta was far away from battles and became a refuge for those fleeing areas of Georgia where the war was being activelly fought.

Reconstruction

After the American Civil War, during the Reconstruction era more than 100 freedmen, families of farmers, craftsmen, and laborers, emigrated from Lowndes County to Arithington, Liberia, in 1871 and 1872, looking for a better life. Since before the war, the American Colonization Society had supported the relocation of free blacks to Liberia, an American colony in West Africa established for this purpose. The first group from Lowndes County left in 1871, and were led by Jefferson Bracewell; the second group was led in 1872 by Aaron Miller.

Many freedmen ended up working as sharecroppers and tenant farmers on area plantations in Lowndes County, as cotton agriculture continued well into the 20th century. As mechanization was introduced, the number of agricultural jobs decreased.

Changing economy

The world's second Coca-Cola bottling plant reportedly began bottling Coca-Cola in Valdosta in 1897.

In 1899, the cotton mill town of Remerton was established. When it was established, Remerton was 2 miles (3.2 km) from the town of Valdosta. It has since become an enclave of Valdosta due to the growth of Valdosta.

In 1910, cotton was still important to the economy and Fortune magazine ranked Valdosta as the richest city in America by per capita income. Soon after that, the boll weevil invaded the South, moving east through the states and killing much of the cotton crop in this area in 1917. Agriculture in this area turned to tobacco and pine timber.

In January 1913, the South Georgia State Normal College opened in Valdosta on the edge of town. Over the course of the following century, it evolved into Valdosta State University. The school gradually became a regional center of higher education that has drawn many to the city.

On June 26, 1941 Moody Army Airfield opened 10 miles (16 km) to north-east of the town as part of the United States' preparation for the country's potential involvement in World War II. Moody Air Force Base's role in World War II and the postwar era has influenced the growth of Valdosta.

Post-World War II

The local economy received an important boost in the mid-20th century when Interstate 75 was routed and built through the area. Many vacationers on their way to Florida found Valdosta a convenient "last stop" on their way to Walt Disney World and the Orlando area. The Interstate's route to the west of the city has contributed to city's commercial district shifting from the historic downtown area to near the Interstate.

A high school oratory contest held in Valdosta in the mid-1950s is notable for its second-place winner, Martin Luther King Jr.. He later became a renowned minister and national civil rights leader.

Valdosta State College was integrated in September 1963. In 1969, Valdosta High School (the formerly all-white school) and Pinevale High School (the formerly all-black school) were merged into one system. Integration had begun at Valdosta High School about 1966.

During the Vietnam War, George W. Bush (a future president) entered the National Guard, receiving flight training at Valdosta's Moody Air Force Base in November 1968.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Monthly Labor Review, the first automated teller machine (ATM) was installed at a C&S Bank in Valdosta in 1971. That ATM was preceded by one installed in Rockville Centre, New York in 1969.

Valdosta was named as one of 2003's "Top 100 U.S. Small Towns" by Site Selection magazine. In 2010 Valdosta was named one of the "Best Small Places For Business And Careers" by Forbes.

Geography

Valdosta is located at 30°50′48″N 83°16′59″W / 30.84667°N 83.28306°W / 30.84667; -83.28306 (30.846661, -83.283101).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.3 square miles (78 km2), of which 29.9 square miles (77 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) is water, for a total area of 1.09% water.

Valdosta is about 230 miles (370 km) south of Atlanta. It is almost the same distance north of Orlando, Florida. It is 138 miles east of Dothan, Alabama and 137 miles west of Hinesville. Valdosta is approximately fifteen miles north of the state's border with Florida.

Climate

Valdosta has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with mild, dry/wet winters and hot, humid summers. Temperatures frequently go over 90 °F or 32.2 °C, but in extreme heatwaves, temperatures occasionally go over 100 °F or 37.8 °C. Snowfall is rare but not unknown. Snow has not been sighted in Valdosta since February 2010, with the last significant snowfall being 1989. However, light frosts regularly occur between December and February. Valdosta can experience Indian summers in the winter, where temperatures can get quite warm. Very rarely do winter lows go below 25 °F or −3.9 °C.

Climate data for Valdosta, Georgia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 87
(30.6)
87
(30.6)
93
(33.9)
96
(35.6)
103
(39.4)
108
(42.2)
104
(40)
105
(40.6)
103
(39.4)
97
(36.1)
92
(33.3)
85
(29.4)
108
(42.2)
Average high °F (°C) 61
(16.1)
65
(18.3)
71
(21.7)
79
(26.1)
85
(29.4)
90
(32.2)
91
(32.8)
90
(32.2)
87
(30.6)
79
(26.1)
71
(21.7)
63
(17.2)
78
(25.6)
Daily mean °F (°C) 52
(11.1)
55
(12.8)
62
(16.7)
69
(20.6)
75
(23.9)
81
(27.2)
82
(27.8)
82
(27.8)
78
(25.6)
69
(20.6)
61
(16.1)
54
(12.2)
68
(20)
Average low °F (°C) 42
(5.6)
45
(7.2)
51
(10.6)
58
(14.4)
65
(18.3)
71
(21.7)
73
(22.8)
73
(22.8)
70
(21.1)
59
(15)
50
(10)
44
(6.7)
59
(15)
Record low °F (°C) 3
(-16.1)
2
(-16.7)
18
(-7.8)
25
(-3.9)
40
(4.4)
50
(10)
57
(13.9)
54
(12.2)
42
(5.6)
28
(-2.2)
16
(-8.9)
6
(-14.4)
2
(-16.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.79
(147.1)
4.47
(113.5)
5.30
(134.6)
3.61
(91.7)
3.15
(80)
4.91
(124.7)
6.30
(160)
5.24
(133.1)
4.11
(104.4)
3.11
(79)
3.24
(82.3)
3.83
(97.3)
47.27
(1,200.7)
Snowfall inches (cm) 0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9 8 8 7 8 10 13 12 9 5 7 8 104
Source #1: The Weather Channel
Source #2: Weatherbase

Demographics

MSA

According to the Bureau of Census, the Valdosta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had an estimated population of 135,804 and ranked #281 in the U.S. in 2009. (The MSA consists of Lowndes, Brooks, Lanier and Echols counties.)

City

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 166
1870 1,199 622.3%
1880 1,515 26.4%
1890 2,854 88.4%
1900 5,613 96.7%
1910 7,656 36.4%
1920 10,783 40.8%
1930 13,482 25.0%
1940 15,595 15.7%
1950 20,046 28.5%
1960 30,652 52.9%
1970 32,303 5.4%
1980 37,596 16.4%
1990 39,806 5.9%
2000 43,724 9.8%
2010 54,518 24.7%
Est. 2015 55,724 2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010 and estimates from 2005 to 2009, there were 54,518 people, 20,280 households, and 11,876 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,521.7 people per square mile (563.9/km²). There were 22,709 housing units available in Valdosta. The racial makeup of the city was 51.2% African American, 41.5% White, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

According to the census of 2000 the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Valdosta were: · Black or African American - 51% · English - 9% · Irish - 7% · German - 6% · Scotch-Irish - 2% · Italian - 2%

There were 20,280 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 19.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% 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 2.93. In the city, the population was spread out with 30% 19 years of age and younger, 19.3% from 20 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25.5 years. 53.1% of the population of Valdosta was female and 46.9% was male. Females 18 and over made up 54.4% of the population to 45.6% male.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,940, and the median income for a family was $39,295. Males had a median income of $33,230 versus $25,689 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,003. About 20.3% of families and 28.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.3% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.

Museum

Valdosta GA Carnegie Library01
Lowndes County Historical Society & Museum in the former Carnegie Library

The Lowndes County Historical Society & Museum is located at the Carnegie Library of Valdosta, a National Register of Historic Places listed building and Carnegie library, one of 24 Carnegie Libraries in Georgia.

Valdosta in fiction

  • Parts of Fannie Flagg's novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and the 1991 film based upon the novel are set in Valdosta.
  • In Allen Steele's science fiction novel Coyote Frontier, Valdosta in the year 2070 is the site of Camp Buchanan, an internment camp for dissident liberal intellectuals.
  • Scenes from Ernest in the Army take place in Valdosta, even though the entire film was shot in South Africa.
  • Scenes from the film Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson, were shot on Valdosta streets and at nearby Wild Adventures theme park.
  • In Cotton Patch Gospel, Joe moves Jesus and the rest of the family to Valdosta when Herod dies.
  • The Lady Chablis performed in Valdosta in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
  • The 1986 movie As Summers Die starring Bette Davis and Jamie Lee Curtis was filmed in Valdosta.
  • In John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden, Adam Trask stops in Valdosta to steal supplies and request money from his brother Charles after escaping from a Florida chain gang on his way back to Connecticut.


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