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Traveling Around - Plains, Georgia - Home of President Jimmy Carter

Updated on March 14, 2016
Downtown Plains, GA
Downtown Plains, GA
Billy Carter's Gas Station
Billy Carter's Gas Station
Plains Train Station Jimmy Carter Campaign Headquarters
Plains Train Station Jimmy Carter Campaign Headquarters

Downtown Plains

We drove in from the south when arriving in Plains. Although we were actually looking for the museum that we knew was there, we stopped in downtown Plains.

The downtown area of Plains, GA, is small. In the picture associated with downtown, the third storefront from right to left used to be a bank and has been converted to a restaurant. We stopped in and each had a bowl of soup. It was great.

There are railroad tracks just out of the picture on the left that run parallel to the main street. Across the street is "Billy Carter's Gas Station". The second picture shows the station.

To the right of what is in the picture of downtown is what was the train station for Plains. During the Carter campaign for the presidency in 1976 it served as headquarters for the campaign. It was said that it was used as headquarters because it was the only building in downtown Plains that had a bathroom.


Lillian G Carter Nursing Facility
Lillian G Carter Nursing Facility
Jimmy Carter's Boyhood Home
Jimmy Carter's Boyhood Home

Jimmy Carter's Years In Plains

Jimmy's mother Lillian worked at the Wise Sanitarium, one of the first small hospitals in Georgia to receive accreditation. It is now the Lillian G. Carter Nursing Center. Jimmy was born there on October 1, 1924. The family moved to a home on 360 acres in 1928.In his early years. After his marriage, he and Rosalynn lived in several different houses in Plains. In 1960 they bought a 2.4 acre lot in Plains and built their home. It is the only home they have ever owned and they live there still. The current residence, while not open to the public is visible from the road.

When Jimmy Carter entered politics he still considered his home to be in Plains, GA, but the work of a politician pulled him away.

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Museum
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Museum

The Museum

Located in the downtown area of Plains about two city blocks from the downtown area pictured above is the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site. It was established in the high school that he and his wife attended and graduated from. The school was closed in 1979. It remained unused until 1988 when legislation was passed and the National Park Service in collaboration with the community of Plains developed The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Museum. The museum opened in July of 1996 and was completed and dedicated on Jimmy Carter's birthday - October 1 of that year.

Much of the exhibit space is devoted to the impact of the early education of Jimmy Carter. There is a 25 minute film narrated by Charles Kuralt that traces the Carter career through his boyhood and life in Plains through the Navy and his political forays into the presidency and his life after the presidency.

The museum is staffed by the National Park Service. The day we were there the staff was very pleasant and helpful. They started the motion picture to fit our schedule and helped with directions around the town.

Other sites in the small town

Several other sites are within easy driving distance of the downtown area. They include The Lillian Carter Nursing Facility, The Marantha Baptist Church, and the Billy Carter Softball Field. Including the time we spent at the farm, we probably spent 4 hours in the Plains area. Most of the attractions with the exception of the Carter Compound are free and open to the public. Information about hours and holiday closures can be found on the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site website.

A favorite quote sticks with me after the visit. In 2002 at the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize in his acceptance speech, he said:

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children."

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