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  Thomas County History

  • Thomas County was created in 1825 from portions of Decatur and Irwin counties. Georgia's 63rd county, and its county seat, Thomasville, were named for a hero of the War of 1812, General Jett Thomas. In addition to his military career, General Thomas built the first university building in Athens.

  • The county has seven municipalities, the largest is Thomasville. Others include Barwick, Boston, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee, and Pavo. Ochlocknee is named for the river flowing through Thomas County. Meigs was named for several Meigs families who came from Marlboro County, South Carolina.  Pavo is Latin for Peacock, which was the name of the first postmaster in the area.

  • Thomasville was a popular, turn-of-the-century, winter resort for wealthy northern families. Non-residents still maintain many large estates and hunting preserves. Many of these estates are listed on the National Register of Historic Places including the Susina Plantation Inn and the Lapham-Patterson House. The latter is a large, Victorian house, that was built by a survivor of the great fire of Chicago. He designed the house with 45 doors, 26 of which were exterior. Every room had its own fire extinguisher.

  • Thomasville is known for its annual Rose Festival; for the "Big Oak," which has a limb spread of 175 feet; and for the McKinley Memorial Tree planted in 1896 as a salute to candidate William McKinley, who became the 25th President of the United States.

  • Bailey White, a National Public Radio essayist and author of Mama Makes Up Her Mind, is from Thomas County.

  • Limestone sinks are common in this section which was once part of the ocean floor. A great limestone aquifer in subterranean south Georgia offers a nearly limitless fresh water supply.

Thomasville Circa 1889
Circa 1889, this photograph was taken of Broad Street from a north facing tower of Piney Woods Hotel. The building and tower in the distance (left center of picture) is the Stewart Hotel that was located on Madison Street.
Photographs courtesy of
Thomas County Historical Society
Thomas County Museum of History

This photo was taken of Broad Street from Remington Avenue toward Jackson Street. The first motion picture theatre in town, The Dobbs, is located on the left with the movie poster in front (directly behind the first motorcar). Circa unknown.

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