18 Interesting Facts about Augusta, Georgia
Augusta is a city in eastern Georgia and the seat of Richmond county. It is situated 161 miles (259 km) east of Atlanta at the head of navigation on the Savannah River. The city is rich in historical associations. Augusta has a population of 194,343 (2009).
1. Modern Augusta is the main trading center for the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), serving a 13-county and 41-city region in the eastern portion of central Georgia.
2. An important economic component in the CSRA was the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's huge Savannah River plant near Aiken, S.C., which once produced radioactive isotopes for military and peacetime use; none of the nuclear reactors are operating currently, and the plant site is engaged primarily in the cleanup of previous nuclear work done there.
3. Fort Gordon, a permanent army post in Richmond county, 12 miles (19 km) from Augusta, also contributes to its prosperity. The CSRA has diversified industries and agriculture. Its large deposits of clay are used in Augusta to manufacture brick and clay products.
4. Among educational institutions in Augusta are the Medical College of Georgia, founded in 1828; Paine College, established for blacks in 1882; and Augusta State University, which became a four-year institution in 1965.
5. Augusta’s cultural attractions include the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, the Augusta Opera Association, the Augusta-Richmond County Museum, the Morris Museum of Art, the Meadow Garden, and the National Science Center's Fort Discovery.
6. Other places of note in Augusta are the Imperial Theatre, the Sacred Heart Cultural Center, and the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.
7. Clark Hill Reservoir, 22 miles (35 km) to the northwest of Augusta, is a favorite recreation area. It has 1,200 miles (1,930 km) of shoreline and is bordered on the east by Sumter National Forest.
8. Augusta's National Golf Club is world famous for the Masters Golf Tournament played there each year.
9. Other places of interest in Augusta are St. Paul's Episcopal Church; the Signers' Monument, honoring three Georgian signers of the Declaration of Independence; the Harris House, built in the late 18th century; and the boyhood home of Woodrow Wilson.
10. Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, the first governor of Georgia, ordered the site for Augusta to be marked out in 1735, and the following year he built Fort Augusta as a trading post for the Indian fur trade.
11. Augusta was probably named for Princess Augusta, wife of the British prince of Wales, whose son became King George III. In 1763, representatives of five Native American nations and four colonial governors met there to settle boundaries and trade terms.
12. During the American Revolution the British captured Fort Augusta and renamed it Fort Cornwallis, but it was recaptured by the Americans.
13. Augusta served intermittently as Georgia's seat of government during some of the chaotic years in the middle of and immediately after the Revolution.
14. In 1798 Augusta was chartered as a city.
15. By 1811 cotton had replaced tobacco as the principal commodity traded in Augusta.
16. During the Civil War Augusta was important to the Confederacy as a railroad junction and for the manufacture of gunpowder. The U.S. Arsenal was seized by the Confederates in 1861 without bloodshed.
17. In 1908 the Savannah River overflowed its banks and the city suffered serious damage. Bonds for a levee along the river were issued in 1912. Today Augusta is protected from floods by the Hartwell and Clark Hill Dams.
18. Augusta and Richmond county share a common local government; the daily operations are handled by the city administrator, who reports to the County Commission.