Milledgeville, Georgia

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Milledgeville, Georgia
(Georgia's second capitol building), built 1807-1837 (1937 photo)
(Georgia's second capitol building), built 1807-1837 (1937 photo)
Motto: "Capitols, Columns & Culture"
Location in Baldwin County and the state of Georgia
Location in Baldwin County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 33°5′16″N 83°14′0″W / 33.08778°N 83.23333°W / 33.08778; -83.23333Coordinates: 33°5′16″N 83°14′0″W / 33.08778°N 83.23333°W / 33.08778; -83.23333
Country United States
State Georgia
County Baldwin
 • Mayor Gary Thrower
 • 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)
Population (2012)
 • Total 19,401
 • Density 901/sq mi (347.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern Time (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 31061
Area code(s) 478
FIPS code 13-51492[1]
GNIS feature ID 0332390[2]

Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County[3] in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon along U.S. Highway 441 and is 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.

The population of the town of Milledgeville was 18,382 at the 2010 census.[4]

Milledgeville is along the route of the under-construction Fall Line Freeway, which will link Milledgeville with Augusta, Macon, Columbus, and other Fall Line cities with long histories from colonial Georgia.

Milledgeville is the principal city of the Milledgeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Baldwin and Hancock counties[5] and had a combined population of 54,776 at the 2000 census.[1] The Old State Capitol building is located in the city.


Milledgeville, named after Georgia governor John Milledge (in office 1802–1806), originated 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 restless 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. 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 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 merges into the Piedmont.

In 1807 fifteen wagons, escorted by troops, left Louisville, 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 building was enlarged with a north and south wing. Its pointed arched windows and battlements marked it as America's first public building in the Gothic revival style.[citation needed]

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 started as 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 even booksellers. Travelers to the town generally remained unimpressed, noting the ill-kept and overcrowded inns, the gambling, the dueling, and the bitter political feuds.[citation needed]

Life in the antebellum capital[edit]

The Greek Revival style Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville

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 cotton boom. Cotton bales would 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; colossal porticoes, cantilevered balconies, pediments adorned with sunbursts, and fanlighted doorways all proclaimed the Milledgeville Federal style of architecture. The major 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.[citation needed]

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 developed. Oglethorpe University, where the poet Sidney Lanier was 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 significantly increased the demand for slave labor; planters bought slaves transported from the Upper South, and 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, stood next to the Presbyterian church on Capital Square. 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:

  1. The visit to the capital in 1825 by the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) 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.
  2. The construction (1836-38/39) of the Governor's Mansion, one of the most important examples of Greek revival architecture in America

The Civil War and its aftermath[edit]

Burning of the penitentiary at Milledgeville, GA by the Union Army (November 23, 1864)

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 November 1864 Union general William T. Sherman and 30,000 Union troops marched into Milledgeville. When they left a couple of days later, they had poured sorghum and molasses down the pipes of the organ at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.[6]

In 1868, during Reconstruction, the 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 remained a less provincial town than many of its neighbors.

Twentieth century[edit]

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. 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 – a task made more urgent by recent prison closures and job reductions at Central State, caused by tightening state budgets.


Milledgeville with Lake Sinclair and dam four miles to the northeast

Milledgeville is located at 33°5′16″N 83°14′0″W / 33.08778°N 83.23333°W / 33.08778; -83.23333 (33.087755, -83.233401)[7] 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.[4]

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 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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,256
1820 2,069 64.7%
1840 2,095
1850 2,216 5.8%
1860 2,480 11.9%
1870 2,750 10.9%
1880 3,800 38.2%
1890 3,322 −12.6%
1900 4,219 27.0%
1910 4,385 3.9%
1920 4,619 5.3%
1930 5,534 19.8%
1940 6,778 22.5%
1950 8,835 30.3%
1960 11,117 25.8%
1970 11,601 4.4%
1980 12,176 5.0%
1990 17,727 45.6%
2000 18,757 5.8%
2010 17,715 −5.6%
Est. 2015 18,931 [8] 6.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[1] 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.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

Baldwin State Prison (previously Georgia Women's Correctional Institution) of the Georgia Department of Corrections is located in Milledgeville.[10][11][12]

Educational institutions, colleges and universities[edit]

Milledgeville's public school system is governed by the Baldwin County School District.

Public elementary schools[edit]

  • Blandy Hills Elementary School
  • Creekside Elementary School
  • Eagle Ridge Elementary School
  • Midway Elementary School

Public middle school[edit]

Public high school[edit]

Private schools[edit]

  • Georgia Military College prep school (grades 6-12)
  • John Milledge Academy (grades K-12)
  • Sinclair Christian Academy (grades pre-K-12)

Schools for higher education[edit]


Milledgeville's public library system is part of the Twin Lakes Library System. Mary Vinson Memorial Library is located downtown. Georgia College & State University also has a library. Thanks to these facilities literacy rate is high for both men and women at 78 and 82 %, respectively.[citation needed]

Historic schools[edit]

The school system building facilities were revamped during the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, with all new buildings, including a new Board of Education office. This required relocation and merging of older schools. The concept of a middle school was introduced, whereas previously 6th through 9th grades were housed in separate schools. Closed older schools include:

  • Northside Elementary School (now a shopping center)
  • Southside Elementary School (now a church)
  • West End Elementary School (torn down)
  • Harrisburg Elementary School (torn down)
  • Baldwin Middle School (was located in old Baldwin High School)
  • Boddie Junior High School (8th and 9th grades)
  • Baldwin High School (old location)
  • Carver Elementary School (5th and 6th grades / now an alternate school)
  • Sallie Davis Middle School (7th grade)

Notable people[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Milledgeville city, Georgia (Revision published Jan. 25, 2013)". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-27.
  6. ^ "Special Collections Frequently Asked Questions and Topics: Home". 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "2010 Census - Census Block Map Milledgeville, GA." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on November 18, 2012.
  11. ^ "2010 Census - Census Block Map Milledgeville, GA Block 5." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on November 18, 2012.
  12. ^ "Baldwin State Prison." Georgia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on November 18, 2012. "ADDRESS: LAYING FARM ROAD / POST OFFICE BOX 218 HARDWICK, GA 31034"

External links[edit]