Sylvania, Georgia

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Sylvania, Georgia
"The Welcome Station City"[1]
"The Azalea & Dogwood City"[2]
Location in Screven County and the state of Georgia
Location in Screven County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 32°45′1″N 81°38′23″W / 32.75028°N 81.63972°W / 32.75028; -81.63972Coordinates: 32°45′1″N 81°38′23″W / 32.75028°N 81.63972°W / 32.75028; -81.63972
CountryUnited States
 • Total3.8 sq mi (9.8 km2)
 • Land3.8 sq mi (9.8 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
230 ft (70 m)
 • Total2,956
 • Estimate 
 • Density710/sq mi (273/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)912
FIPS code13-75160[4]
GNIS feature ID0323862[5]
WebsiteCity of Sylvania Georgia

Sylvania is a city in Screven County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,956 at the 2010 census.[6] The city is the county seat of Screven County.[7][8]


The area was inhabited for thousands of years by various cultures of indigenous peoples. By the time of European encounter, it was occupied by the Yuchi peoples, but some Creeks, the Uchee's allies, moved into the area during Colonial times.[9]

The European-American town of Sylvania was founded in 1790 by settlers' migrating to the area after the American Revolutionary War. The town took its name from the Latin term for "place in the woods."[10]

Sylvania was part of the Black Belt of Georgia, developed for cultivation after the cotton gin made it easier to handle short-fiber cotton. Cotton was the most important commodity crop until late in the 19th century. Planters imported many enslaved African Americans to cultivate the crops. By 1830 the county was filled with people. The county seat was moved from Jacksonborough to Sylvania in 1847.[11]

As part of the projects of the Works Progress Administration, federally commissioned murals were produced from 1934 to 1943 in the United States through the Section of Painting and Sculpture, later called the Section of Fine Arts, of the Treasury Department. In 1941, Caroline Speare Rohland painted a mural for the post office of Sylvania. The scene depicted was of a farming family and their African American farm hand. In the 1980s, complaints from the local NAACP chapter resulted in the removal of the mural. It was found in a closet of the post office in 1995 and restored. The mural is now on permanent loan from the federal government and is held by Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.[12]

Sherman's army moved through the area during the Civil War.

Sylvania calls itself the "Azalea and Dogwood City" and the "Welcome Station City."[13]


Sylvania is located at 32°45′01″N 81°38′23″W / 32.750151°N 81.639590°W / 32.750151; -81.639590.[14]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), all land. Sylvania's elevation is 230 feet and is slightly higher than most of the land throughout Screven County.

The city's flora include pine, oak, and most notably, dogwood, thus the slogan "The Dogwood City." Although Spanish moss is not as prevalent as in nearby Savannah, it can still be seen in Sylvania and the surrounding countryside.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20162,526[3]−14.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,956 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 50.5% Black, 45.8% White, 0.1% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander and 1.0% from two or more races. 1.4% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 2,675 people, 1,088 households, and 683 families residing in the city. The population density was 705.5 people per square mile (272.5/km²). There were 1,285 housing units at an average density of 338.9 per square mile (130.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.42% White, 41.57% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.34% from other races, and 0.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population.

There were 1,088 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 22.9% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 24.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,426, and the median income for a family was $38,355. Males had a median income of $40,590 versus $20,349 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,181. About 13.2% of families and 18.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 25.0% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[edit]

Annual events[edit]

Sylvania hosts an Annual Livestock Festival in April.


The Screven County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of one elementary school, a middle school and a high school.[16] The district has 186 full-time teachers and over 3,130 students. William Bland is the superintendent.[17]

Notable people[edit]

Name Notability Reference
Lee "Rod" Berger National Geographic explorer and paleoanthropologist; grew up in Sylvania and graduated from Screven County High School
Bucky Dent Major League Baseball star who played as shortstop for the New York Yankees; spent his early years in Sylvania
Rick Kittles geneticist known for his pioneering work in determining the ancestry of African Americans via DNA testing
Macay McBride Major League Baseball star who played as pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and the Detroit Tigers; born, raised, and still residing in Sylvania
John R. McKinney Medal of Honor recipient and Georgia's most decorated World War II hero
Jim Osborne National Football League player for the Chicago Bears; born in Sylvania
Francys Johnson Senior NAACP official and human rights activist
Gladys "Penny" Thompson Publisher and promoter of women in aviation during 1940s-1950s; born in Sylvania


  1. ^ "Sylvania". Georgia Gov. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  2. ^ "City of Sylvania Georgia". City of Sylvania Georgia. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  8. ^ "Profile for Sylvania, Georgia, GA". ePodunk. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  9. ^ Daniel T. Elliott and Rita Folse Elliott, "Mount Pleasant. An Eighteenth-Century Yuchi Native American Town, British Trader Outpost, and Military Garrison in Georgia", Watkinsville, GA: LAMAR Institute Publications, 1990
  10. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 218. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
  11. ^ "Sylvania, Georgia", The New Georgia Encyclopedia], accessed 10 Jun 2020
  12. ^ Fogel, Jared A.; Stevens, Robert L. (Fall 2001). "The Canvas Mirror: Painting as Politics in the New Deal". OAH Magazine of History. Oxford, England: Organization of American Historians by Oxford University Press. 16 (1): 19–20. ISSN 0882-228X. JSTOR 25163482.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieve June 26, 2010.
  17. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 26, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • C. Dixon Hollingsworth, The History of Screven County Georgia (Curtis Media, 1989)

External links[edit]