Thomaston, Georgia

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City of Thomaston
City
Motto: "One of the Best 100 Towns"[1]
Location in Upson County and the state of Georgia.
Location in Upson County and the state of Georgia.
Coordinates: 32°54′N 84°20′W / 32.900°N 84.333°W / 32.900; -84.333Coordinates: 32°54′N 84°20′W / 32.900°N 84.333°W / 32.900; -84.333
Country United States
State Georgia
County Upson
Area
 • Total 9.2 sq mi (23.8 km2)
 • Land 9.1 sq mi (23.4 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 784 ft (239 m)
Population (2006)
 • Total 9,638-(14,898 with Sunset Village, Lincoln Park, and Hannahs Mills included.)
 • Density 1,022.9/sq mi (395.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 30286
Area code(s) 706
FIPS code 13-76168[2]
GNIS feature ID 0324093[3]
Website Official City of Thomaston, Georgia Government Website

Thomaston is a city in and the county seat of Upson County,[4] Georgia, United States.[5] The population was 9,638 at the 2006 census. It is the principal city of and is included in the Thomaston, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta - Sandy Springs (GA) - Gainesville (GA) - Alabama (partial) Combined Statistical Area.

Thomaston is located on US Route 19 and State Route 3, which run north and south, and on State Routes 36 and 74, which run (more or less) east and west.

Its principal hospital is the Upson Regional Medical Center at 801 West Gordon Street.

History[edit]

Upson County Courthouse built in 1908 in Thomaston, Georgia. Photograph by Calvin Beale

Thomaston was incorporated on January 1, 1825,[6] and designated as the seat of Upson County. The town was named for General Jett Thomas, an Indian fighter in the War of 1812.[7] Jett is also credited with assisting in the construction of the state capitol at Milledgeville in 1805-7 and Franklin College on the campus of the University of Georgia in 1806.

The town was laid out with parallel streets running north and south, east and west, with the courthouse square in the center of town.

The judges of the inferior court had the authority to sell lots to individuals on a one-third cash basis with two years to complete the payment. This money was used to build the first courthouse, which was completed in 1828. The second courthouse was completed in 1852, and the present courthouse was erected in 1908. In the southeast corner of the square is a cannonball mounted on a marble base, said to be the first fired at Fort Sumter, off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. P. W. Alexander, a noted correspondent during the Civil War (1861–65) and a citizen of Upson County, retrieved it.

A few miles south of the square is one of the oldest houses in Thomaston, the Pettigrew-White-Stamps House. Built by John E. Pettigrew in 1833, it currently serves as the Upson Historical Society Museum. The African American Museum is housed in a late 1920s three-room shotgun-style house.

The Civil War erupted on Thomaston's soil on April 18, 1865, nine days after Confederate general Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Virginia, when Union cavalry raiders moving from Columbus to Macon embarked on three days of devastation in Upson County. The raiders, led by Major General James Harrison Wilson, looted homes, destroyed three of Upson's cotton mills, and set fire to a steam locomotive. In 1866 Thomaston's African Americans held an emancipation celebration, which has continued every year since; celebrated in May, it is the country's longest-running commemoration of freedom from slavery.

During the twentieth century Thomaston's economy was primarily based on the manufacture of textiles and tire cord. Granted a charter in 1899, Thomaston Mills shipped textiles worldwide and served as a major source of economic stability and urban growth, along with B. F. Goodrich's tire cord mill, Martha Mills. East Thomaston (established by Thomaston Mills) and Silvertown (for workers at Martha Mills, later WesTek) were typical of southern mill towns of the time.

National recognition[edit]

In 1986 Thomaston was chosen to be one of the Top 100 Small Towns in America Towns and again in 1995, because Thomaston offers slow-paced southern charm and hospitality.

Thomaston was once again chosen among 120 towns across the nation to be listed in Norman Crampton's new book, "Making Your Move to One of America's Best Small Towns." According to an article in The Thomaston Times, dated November 4, 2002, the new book described Thomaston as "a perfect place for people looking to leave the fast-paced city life for a more relaxing environment". A press release says the book is for those "looking to raise a family in a storybook American town."

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 9,411 people, 3,862 households, and 2,386 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,039.4 people per square mile (401.5/km²). There were 4,152 housing units at an average density of 458.6 per square mile (177.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.75% White, 35.30% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.77% of the population.

There were 3,862 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 21.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 77.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,695, and the median income for a family was $33,093. Males had a median income of $31,168 versus $20,420 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,193. About 18.4% of families and 22.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.3% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.

76% of Thomastonians completed the 2010 census. Thomaston is the best city in the Southeast according to 4 out of 5 residents polled in 2007.

Industry in the city is driven primarily by manufacturing which makes up 36.5%. The second largest industry is educational, health, and social service comprising 21.0%. The third largest industry is retail trade at 11.6% of the total industry in Thomaston. The remaining portions of industry include agriculture, construction,wholesale trade, transportation, information, finance, management, administration, arts & entertainment, food service, recreation, accommodation, and public administration.

Arts and culture[edit]

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

The Upson County courthouse was built in 1908, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

Pettigrew-White-Stamps House

Annual events[edit]

Thomaston hosts an annual Emancipation Proclamation Celebration each May. It is the nation's oldest and longest running Emancipation celebration of its kind.[9]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Sprewell Bluff Park, located on the Flint River, is located in Thomaston.

The Greatest Generations Recreational Park is also located in Thomaston.

Education[edit]

Thomaston-Upson County School District[edit]

The Thomaston-Upson County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.[10] The district has 279 full-time teachers and over 5,009 students.[11]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Southern Crescent Technical College is located in Thomaston, and is two-year technical school.[12][13]

Notable people[edit]

Gordon portrait by Mathew Brady.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official City of Thomaston, Georgia Government Website". Official City of Thomaston, Georgia Government Website. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Profile for Thomaston, Georgia, GA". ePodunk. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Thomaston". Georgia Gov. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Profile for Thomaston, Georgia, GA". ePodunk. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Thomaston". Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Thomaston". Georgia Gov. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  10. ^ Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  11. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  12. ^ "Thomaston". Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Flint River Campus". Southern Crescent Technical College. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]