Americus, Georgia


The city is the county seat of Sumter County. Americus is the principal city of the Americus Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Schley and Sumter counties. Americus, Georgia was named and chartered by Sen. Lovett B. Smith in 1832.
 


Americus lies in the Upper Coastal Plain of Georgia

Americus is the home of Habitat for Humanity International's international headquarters, the famous Windsor Hotel (from 1892), The Fuller Center for Housing international headquarters, The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, Glover Foods and many more well-known organizations.



Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organization. They welcome all people to join them as they build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. Since 1976, Habitat has build more than 100,000 houses in more than 79 countries, including some 30,000 houses across the United States.
In 2003, Habitat opened its Global Village and Discovery Center in Americus. Here, visitors can see life-sized Habitat Houses from countries around the world- houses built on stilts, of fieldstone or of handmade block. Learn about the devastating effects of poverty and the inspiring work of Habitat volunteers and partner families everywhere. Try your hand at making compressed-earth blocks or roof tile-just like Habitat homeowners in Africa and Asia!


 


 


 


 


The Early Years


For its first two decades, Americus was a small courthouse town. The arrival of the railroad in 1854 and, three decades later, local attorney Samuel H. Hawkins' construction of the only privately financed railroad in state history, made Americus the eighth largest city in Georgia into the 20th century. It was known as the "Metropolis of Southwest Georgia," a reflection of its status as a cotton distribution center. In 1890, Georgia's first chartered electric street car system went into operation in Americus. One of its restored cars is on permanent display at the Lake Blackshear Regional Library, a gift from the Robert T. Crabb family who acquired the street car in the 1940s.




The town was already graced with an abundance of antebellum and Victorian architecture when local capitalists opened the Windsor Hotel in 1892. A five-story Queen Anne edifice, it was designed by a Swedish architect, Gottfried L. Norrman, in Atlanta. Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall gave a speech from the balcony in 1917 and soon to be New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in the dining room in 1928.




Rylander Theater

The Historic Rylander Theatre (ca. 1921) closed in 1951 and was dark for almost 50 years. After a meticulous $4 million restoration, the theatre reopened Oct. 1, 1999. The theatre comfortably seats over 600 on three levels, orchestra, balcony and gallery and is equipped with state of the art theatrical equipment, a restored 1928 Moller theatre pipe organ and new Steinway grand piano named in honor of Rosalynn Smith Carter. Situated in the downtown central business district, the Rylander Theatre is a community landmark.


On January 1, 1976, the city center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Americus Historic District. The district boundaries were extended in 1979.

More About
Americus Georgia


 

Rev. Dr. Major W. Reddick established the Americus Institute for thirdinary Education (18971932). Booker T. Washington was a guest speaker there in May 1908. Rev. Alfred S. Staley was responsible for locating the state Masonic Orphanage in Americus, which served its function from 1898 to 1940. Both men engineered the unification of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia in 1915, the former as president and the latter as recording secretary. The public school named in honor of A.S. Staley was designated a National School of Excellence in 1990.
Two other institutions of higher learning were also established in Americus, the Third District Agricultural and Mechanical School in 1906 (now Georgia Southwestern State University), and the South Georgia Trade and Vocational School in 1948 (now South Georgia Technical College). South Georgia Technical College is located on the original site of Souther Field.




Charles Lindbergh's First Solo Flight

A Lindbergh Memorial Statue is located off Ga. Highway 49 in Americus commemorating the first solo flight of the aviator at Souther Field Airport. A Lindbergh Room Display is located at South Georgia Technical College off Souther Field Road.


In World War I, an Army Air Service training facility, Souther Field (now Jimmy Carter Regional Airport), was commissioned northeast of the city limits. Charles A. Lindbergh, the "Lone Eagle," bought his first airplane and made his first solo flight there during a two-week stay in May 1923. Recommissioned for World War II, Souther Field was used for RAF pilot training (19411942)[8] as well as US pilot training before ending the war as a German prisoner-of-war camp. The town was incorporated in 1832, and the name Americus was picked out of a hat.