Sylvester City Hall
|Nickname(s): “Peanut Capital of the World”|
|Motto: "Small Town. Big Heart."|
Location in Worth County and the state of Georgia
|Incorporated (City)||December 21st, 1898|
|• Total||5.7 sq mi (14.9 km2)|
|• Land||5.7 sq mi (14.8 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||387 ft (118 m)|
|• Density||1,050.9/sq mi (402/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0356576|
|Website||City of Sylvester Georgia|
Sylvester is the county seat of Worth County, Georgia, United States. The population was 5,990 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat and business center of Worth County and is claimed to be the Peanut Capital of the World due to its peanut production.
Sylvester started as a "beautiful nowhere" in 1893 and was first called "Isabella Station". When the Brunswick and Albany Railroad came through southwest Georgia, the county seat was Isabella, which is located three miles north of the railroad. Slowly, however, the center of trade and commerce shifted south along the railroad. Two other towns, Poulan and Sumner, sprang up along the railroad in Worth County, but it was Isabella Station that grew and prospered the fastest. In 1894, the citizens voted to change the name to "Sylvester". In 1898, Sylvester voted to incorporate and on December 21 of that year the Georgia Legislature agreed to incorporate it as a city.
There have been four courthouses since Worth County was created in 1853. The first was a two-story frame structure on the public square in Isabella, which was then Worth's county seat. This building burned down in 1879, and a schoolhouse was used as a temporary courthouse until a new one could be built in 1893 — but that structure soon burned also. A new courthouse was constructed the following year, but in 1904 the legislature changed the county seat from Isabella to Sylvester.
The next year, a new courthouse was built on Sylvester's public square. In January 1982, the new Worth County courthouse also suffered major fire damage due at the hands of arsonist Max Hufstetler. Hufstetler had been arrested in Worth County for a string of home and church burglaries. He decided that if he burned down the Worth County Courthouse, then the evidence that had been seized during his arrest could not be used against him in court. On January 27, 1982, he committed arson and the Worth County Courthouse was destroyed. Hufstetler was later convicted of arson in the first degree and his conviction was upheld in 1984 on appeal. The courthouse was repaired and the still sits on the public square in Sylvester.
Sylvester is located at (31.531425, -83.836233).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (15 km2), of which, 5.7 square miles (15 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.52%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,990 people, 2,151 households, and 1,537 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,049.1 people per square mile (405.0/km²). There were 2,378 housing units at an average density of 416.5 per square mile (160.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 39.15% White, 59.97% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population.
There were 2,151 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% were married couples living together, 27.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.5% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 80.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,114, and the median income for a family was $33,707. Males had a median income of $29,010 versus $21,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,387. About 24.6% of families and 27.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.5% of those under age 18 and 29.0% of those age 65 or over.
Sylvester is continuing to modernize and grow. Downtown storefronts are occupied and there are several ongoing downtown revitalization projects. Sylvester's progressive changes include an ongoing fiber optic project linking all of the county's schools with high-speed internet. It is also revitalizing the street scape, the courthouse, and other sites of beauty that include City Hall, the Woolard Hotel Apartments, and the start of the 20th century homes located on Isabella Street.
Arts and culture
- T.C. Jeffords Park
- A shaded public park located in town near the intersection of U.S. Highway 82 and Georgia State Route 33. The park features a stage for public performances, several covered shelters, picnic tables, a playground, tennis courts, a cooled club house, a fountain, Ole Engine 100, and Christmas decorations during the holiday season. The Peanut Festival is currently held in T.C. Jeffords Park each year.
- Ole Engine 100
- Ole Engine 100 is a steam locomotive that ran the rails of the Georgia-Ashburn Sylvester-Camilla Railways from 1930 to 1948 until she was replaced with the next generation of train, the diesel. In 1957, The Little Engine That Could was donated to the Worth County/Sylvester Chamber of Commerce and the city of Sylvester by Maxi Forshie (GASC railways) for a well-deserved rest. It now sits under a protective awning in T.C. Jeffords Park at the intersection of U.S. Highway 82 and Georgia State Route 33. Once, children were allowed to climb and play on Ole Engine 100, but vandalism began to take place. A fence was erected to protect the great engine. The city recently repainted the locomotive.
- Pope Park
- Shipp Park
- Gervaise Lawhorne Park
- Tyson Steel Wildlife Museum
- A museum that contains animals from around the world displayed in their natural habitat. Admission is free to the public.
- Downtown Attractions
- City Hall - originally the Sylvester Banking Company building
- Jessie's & Salon - originally the theatre building
- Pap's Seafood - seafood and down-home country cooking
- Sylvester Local News - The oldest continuous business in Worth County. The Worth County Local Building was built in the 1920s after the paper began in 1884 as the Sumner Free Trader. The paper's name then changed to the Worth County Local, then to Sylvester Local. It is now the Sylvester Local News.
- First Baptist Church
- Pinson United Methodist Church
The Peanut Festival is an annual festival held on the third weekend of October in T.C. Jeffords Park to celebrate the city's status as Peanut Capital of the World. The event is sponsored by the Sylvester/Worth Chamber of Commerce and ConAgra Foods, makers of Peter Pan peanut butter. Activities include one of the largest parades in the southeast and a beauty pageant with up to 100 contestants. Craftsmen from all over the state come to Sylvester to showcase their creations at the festival. Live entertainment and carnival attractions are usually on hand as well.
The Worth County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 296 full-time teachers and over 4,354 students.
- Worth County Elementary School
- Worth County Primary School
- Worth County Middle School
- Worth County High School
- Marion Butts - NFL running back from 1989 to 1995 who played for the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots, and Houston Oilers. Born in Sylvester.
- Rickey Claitt - NFL running back who played for the Washington Redskins. Born in Sylvester.
- Mary Hood - award-winning author of How Far She Went, And Venus Is Blue and Familiar Heat. Graduated from Worth County High School.
- Sue Monk Kidd - author of the New York Times bestseller, The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair. Born in Sylvester.
- Robert L. F. Sikes - U.S. Representative for Florida, born in Isabella.
- Sonny Skinner - PGA golf pro.
- "City of Sylvester Georgia". City of Sylvester Georgia. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "Sylvester". GeorgiaGov. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Profile for Sylvester, Georgia, GA". ePodunk. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 30, 2010.
- School Stats, Retrieved June 30, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sylvester, Georgia.|
- City of Sylvester Georgia Portal style website, government, business, library, recreation and more
- Worth County Schools Home Page
- City-Data.com Comprehensive Statistical Data and more about Sylvester
News and media
-  Worthit2u.net Online News Source for Sylvester and Worth County