Everyone is familiar with Atlanta as Georgia’s state capital, but did you know it is the 17th location of the capital? While some cities have had the honor as many as four times, other locations were temporary and some cities no longer exist.
For the first 43 years of Georgia’s existence, the cities that had been known as the capital were in the southeastern part of the state: Frederica and Savannah. When Savannah fell to the British forces at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the capital moved to Augusta and then shuffled around to various sites in Wilkes County, Ebenezer and possibly even South Carolina before settling once again in Savannah in 1782.
After a 14-year shuffle between Savannah and Augusta, in 1786 the legislature established a commission to find a permanent location for Georgia’s capital, closer to the increasingly populated middle Georgia region, but still close to enough that it could be reached by coastal residents. It took 10 years of politicking and negotiation to make a decision and build on a suitable site. The committee was required to choose a site within Galphin’s Old Town, or Galphinton, on the Ogeechee River. The site was to be 1,000 acres and modeled after the then-United States capital Philadelphia. The new capital was required to be called Louisville in honor of Louis XVI of France, in appreciation for French assistance during the Revolutionary War.
The area chosen was at the junction of three roads: one leading to Savannah, one to Augusta and one to Georgetown. In the center of town, a market was to be built, and on either side, five streets with the governor’s house and a statehouse on opposite sides of town.
However, it wasn’t long until lawmakers were looking for a new capital site. In 1804, they passed an act to build a new capital in Baldwin County on wilderness land. The new town would be called Milledgeville after then-Governor John Milledge.
Downtown Louisville – Located almost one hour southwest of Augusta, Louisville still has many of its original buildings, including the Market House, Jefferson County Courthouse and the Jefferson Hotel Building. The true Southern small town makes a perfect one-tank trip from most of Georgia’s major cities.
Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.