Richmond Hill, Georgia

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Richmond Hill, Georgia
City
Location in Bryan County and the state of Georgia
Location in Bryan County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 31°56′17″N 81°18′49″W / 31.93806°N 81.31361°W / 31.93806; -81.31361Coordinates: 31°56′17″N 81°18′49″W / 31.93806°N 81.31361°W / 31.93806; -81.31361
Country United States
State Georgia
County Bryan
Settled 1734
Incorporated 1962
Government
 • Type City Council
 • Mayor Harold Fowler
 • Councilman Russ Carpenter
 • Councilman Van Hunter
 • Councilwoman Jan Bass
Area
 • Total 14.6 sq mi (37.9 km2)
 • Land 14.4 sq mi (37.4 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 20 ft (6 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 9,281
 • Density 643/sq mi (248.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 31324
Area code(s) 912
FIPS code 13-65044[1]
GNIS feature ID 0342353[2]
Website www.richmondhill-ga.gov

Richmond Hill is a city in Bryan County, Georgia, United States. Oglethorpe, only a year after the founding of the Georgia colony at Savannah, awarded grants of land on the Ogeechee River in 1734. Once known as St. Phillips Parish, Bryan County was established in 1793. On February 1, 1797 the Bryan County justices valued 2 acres at the Cross Roads for $24 for the purpose of establishing a permanent county seat in courthouse. Cross Roads was the intersection of the Savannah-Darien Stage Road (current US 17) and the Bryan Neck Road (current GA Hwy 144). The Cross Roads became Ways Station in 1856 when the Savannah, Albany & Gulf R.R. was built across the nearby Ogeechee River into Bryan County. Near this site a train depot was built, which came to be known as “Ways No. 1 ½” for William J. Way, the first station master and a local rice planter on lands through which the railroad passed. A settlement grew up in the section between the railroad tracks and the Crossroads just to the west. It came to be called Ways Station, a designation that lasted until 1941 when the name of the community was changed to Richmond Hill.

The population was 9,281,[3] up from 6,959 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography[edit]

Richmond Hill is located along the eastern border of Bryan County at 31°56′17″N 81°18′49″W / 31.93806°N 81.31361°W / 31.93806; -81.31361 (31.938151, -81.313750).[4] The Ogeechee River forms the eastern edge of the city (and the county line); an outlying portion of the city of Savannah is on the opposite side of the river.

U.S. Route 17 (Ocean Highway) passes through the city north of the original downtown. Interstate 95 passes through the western edge of the city, with access from Exit 87 (US 17) and Exit 90 (Georgia State Route 144/Ford Avenue). Downtown Savannah is 21 miles (34 km) to the north, and Brunswick is 58 miles (93 km) to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Richmond Hill has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.9 km2), of which 14.4 square miles (37.4 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 1.42%, is water.[3]

The city limits of Richmond Hill have expanded to the east along S.R. 144, where there are a number of planned developments. This area contains large amounts of marsh and riverfront property. Farther to the east are Fort McAllister Historic Park and the small community of Keller. Residents of the entire South Bryan County area rely on Richmond Hill proper for basic services, and must travel through the city to leave the county, especially when commuting to Savannah via U.S. 17 or I-95. Most South Bryan residents, especially the large percentage of relative newcomers, would likely say they were "from Richmond Hill."[citation needed]

History[edit]

Richmond Hill has a historical connection to industrialist Henry Ford. Ford used the town, formerly known as Ways Station, as a winter home and philanthropic social experiment, building the complex known as the Ford Farms along the Ogeechee River in the 1930s. After just one visit he chose this area as his winter home. Ford's dwelling was built on the site of Richmond Plantation, which was burned by elements of General William T. Sherman's army at the conclusion of the "March to the Sea". Ford's holdings eventually totaled 85,000 acres (340 km2) of agricultural and timber lands, most of which is now owned by the State of Georgia or ITT Rayonier, a timber company. Ford was also responsible for the construction of a number of public buildings, including a kindergarten, which now houses the museum of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, and a chapel which now houses St. Anne's Catholic Church. Both are located on Georgia S.R. 144, also known as Ford Avenue within the Richmond Hill city limits. The Ford Plantation has now been redeveloped as a luxury resort, with vacation cottages, a clubhouse, tennis, and golf. When it was suggested that the town be renamed "Ford", Mr. Ford declined, and instead Ways Station was renamed "Richmond Hill" after the site of Ford's home on the banks of the Ogeechee River.

Richmond Hill was incorporated as a city in 1962.[5] The current mayor is Harold Fowler, who took office in 2009. Previously, Richard Davis served in that capacity since 1989. The city is governed by a mayor and a four member city council.

Richmond Hill was the location of the discovery in 2004 of Benjaman Kyle, a man who suffers from retrograde amnesia as a result of a severe beating. He cannot remember who he is. As of June 2009, he remains unidentified.

Development[edit]

Real estate development in Richmond Hill has generally followed trends represented in the United States as a whole. Post-Civil War populations remained relatively stable until the arrival of industrialist Henry Ford in 1930s. In the early 1970s, subdivisions began to spring up, and the "white flight" from nearby Savannah began a settlement trend that has continued steadily until the present. Subdivisions of varying quality, ranging from starter homes to exclusive, gated golf communities, have emerged.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,959 people, 2,433 households, and 1,883 families living in the city. The population density was 686.5 people per square mile (265.0/km²). There were 2,573 housing units at an average density of 253.8 per square mile (98.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.28% White, 13.69% African American, 0.60% Native American, 1.42% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 1.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 3.71% of the population.

There were 2,433 households out of which 51.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.7% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.6% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.0% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 36.1% from 25 to 44, 14.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,061, and the median income for a family was $54,457. Males had a median income of $36,823 versus $25,810 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,891. About 9.8% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

Schools[edit]

Bryan County School District serves Richmond Hill. Richmond Hill currently has five public schools. The schools are for people between the ages of 5-21 (21 in cases of challenged high-school students). The schools are Richmond Hill Primary School (RHPS), Richmond Hill Elementary School (RHES), George Washington Carver Upper Elementary School (GWCUES), Richmond Hill Middle School (RHMS), and Richmond Hill High School (RHHS). The city is currently expanding its schools due to a large spike in population throughout the last ten years. Two new elementary and middle schools have just been built. Richmond Hill is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years.[6]

Community[edit]

Events[edit]

Richmond Hill hosts a number of community events at J.F. Gregory Park. Throughout the year the community comes together for supporting special events and causes, such as:

Religion[edit]

Richmond Hill is home to over 20 churches of all denominations. Many of these organizations participate cooperatively in outreach programs that benefit the community as a whole. The "Food for the Soul" soup kitchen, based out of the Richmond Hill United Methodist Church's and manned by ten separate churches rotating on a weekly basis, delivers over 350 hot meals to families in need within Richmond Hill. The Way Station, another multiple church outreach program, has been in operation for over twenty years providing food, clothing, and other items that enhance the lives of families in the community.

Community service groups[edit]

Economy[edit]

93% of the employment is from small businesses with less than 20 employees,[8] and unemployment has stabilized at 8.6%.[9]

Major employers:

Shopping areas

Healthcare[edit]

Richmond Hill does not have a hospital. The nearest emergency room is located in Savannah at St. Joseph's Hospital, about 15 miles (24 km) away.

Newcomers & Neighbors Guide[edit]

Produced by the Bryan County News,[11] the "Newcomers & Neighbors" guide is a source for local information about events, government, education, & healthcare. The guide is produced annually, and free printed copies are available at the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce. Richmond Hill also has a community website, Richmond Hill Live, where local citizens share their information and showcase their community to neighbors and newcomers.

References[edit]

External links[edit]