•         Barnesville Buggy Days

                                                   September 16-17 2022

                                                                      Applications available February 2022.

  • Welcome to the Annual Buggy Days Festival!!




    The 2022 Annual Barnesville Buggy Days Festival is on!


    The Barnesville-Lamar County Chamber of Commerce and Buggy Days Committee is currently still planning for this year’s Buggy Days Festival, scheduled for September 16/17 2022.  We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, including all guidelines and recommendations from the local, state, and federal agencies. The safety and health of staff, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, sponsors & our community is always our number one priority.

     We are planning to move forward with this event. The Barnesville Buggy Days Festival has been a tradition for over 48 years, and we look forward to creating a fun, safe, and enjoyable experience for you and your family at our Buggy Days Festival.


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  • Barnesville Buggy Days
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  • Celebrate At Barnesville Buggy Days

    Barnesville Buggy Days is the city’s benchmark festival, celebrating Barnesville’s historic heritage as the “Buggy Capital of the South” during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. With original events such as hog calling, wagon pulling, choir competitions, and even a fiddle contest, Buggy Days got its start in November of 1974. Since then, it has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, and its parade has even been granted the title of the “Longest Hometown Parade in the South”.   Held every third weekend in September, the Barnesville Buggy Days Festival is dedicated to furthering the camaraderie of family, community, and tradition, with the exhibition, sale, and charitable exchange of local, handcrafted, handmade goods from around the southeast.



  • Buggy Days is Back!  Planning for the 2021 Buggy Days Festival is already underway! We look forward to seeing you soon!


  • Arts and Crafts Exhibits

    Every year, nearly 200 artisans and crafts-persons sell their handcrafted wares right in the historic heart of Barnesville. With original antique Barnesville Buggies on display, it is truly a hometown sight to behold. And, each year our local civic organizations pair with a local and delectable food vendor to provide some of the most flavorful treats you can possibly get your hands on.

  • Craft and Food Booth Craft and Food Booth

    Craft and Food Booth Spaces are available on first come, first served basis. While we try to make every effort to provide the same space to our returning vendors, spaces cannot be guaranteed.  . We ask that you please fill out your applications as soon as possible. Also, please do not make a payment on your booth space until you have received an approval contract from the Buggy Days Committee. Thank you in advance!

    Craft Booth Spaces are available on first come, first served basis. While we try to make every effort to provide the same space to our returning vendors, spaces cannot be guaranteed. We ask that you please fill out your applications as soon as possible. Also, please do not make a payment on your booth space until you have received an approval contract from the Buggy Days Committee. Thank you in advance!


  • Buggy Days Parade

    Buggython Road Race: Hosted by Gordon State College Club Football: Entry Forms

  • 2021 Miss Buggy Days  Beauty Pageant

  • Festival FAQ

    Below are some common questions that we have received for the Buggy Days festival:

  • How much are vendor spaces? How much are vendor spaces?

    For arts and crafts vendors, the booth fee is $145. For general food vendors, the fee is $100.  **Remember** Food vendors must be associated with a local non-profit organization.

    How big are your spaces? What do I do if I end up needing additional space? How big are your spaces? What do I do if I end up needing additional space?

    The vendor spaces are 12×12 and located on asphalt surfaces. We make every attempt to assist vendors with spacing needs, however due to the number of vendors that participate in Buggy Days sometimes additional space cannot be accommodated. Therefore, we encourage all of our vendors to ensure before setting up that their total booth display is 12×12 or less.

    This is a two day event. What do I do with my merchandise after the first day? What is the plan for adverse weather? This is a two day event. What do I do with my merchandise after the first day? What is the plan for adverse weather?

    Since this is a two-day event, vendors have 1 of 2 options. Vendors may pack up their merchandise and display items and bring them back the second day or they may cover their items and leave them at their booth overnight. In the event of rain and/or adverse weather conditions, we cannot offer a refund for any booth space.

    I want my same space as last year… I want my same space as last year…

    While this is not something we can guarantee, we will make every effort to accommodate these requests. Instances may arise where this simply is not possible. Here is a general example:
    ex: Kristen had a corner space at last year’s festival and wants the same space this year. She sent her application in late and did not send any pictures of her craft. Robert had a space next to Kristen’s last year, but this year he requested an additional space. He sent his complete application in on time and ended up being placed in Kristen’s space.

    I am having an issue with my space, another vendor, etc. Who should I contact? I am having an issue with my space, another vendor, etc. Who should I contact?

    If you are experiencing an issue with your space, another vendor, or have any other question or concern, please contact a member of the Buggy Days volunteer team. There will be many of them running around and they will all be wearing neon orange shirts.

    I have heard that vendors will be allowed to participate in the Buggy Days concert. How do I sign up? I have heard that vendors will be allowed to participate in the Buggy Days concert. How do I sign up?

    For more information on vending at the Buggy Days concert, please contact Chamber President/CEO Melissa Lee president@barnesville.org

    The Barnesville Buggy Days is a family fun festival that is rich in the history of the community. There is truly something for everyone. The week starts off with a Beauty Pageant, music, arts and crafts, a parade, good food, and so much more. Be sure to check out the complete brochure for times and details.


    History of Barnesville, Georgia


    Founding Period 1825-1830

    The area upon which Barnesville was formed was   open for white settlement by the Land Lottery of 1821. The land had become   available subsequent to the removal of the Creek Indians. Barnesville began as a   small clearing in the wilderness by an Indian fighter named Jenks in 1825. The   first white man in the area was not suited to be settled in one place.   Therefore, Jenks sold out to Gideon Barnes in 1826. Barnes, a native of   Southampton, Virginia, quickly went to work clearing virgin timber from the land   in order to establish the area's first commercial district. He built a double   log cabin on a hill where Summers cotton warehouse would later be built. This   warehouse is used today as the City of Barnesville Electrical Department. In   addition to the cabin, he built an inn and a tavern for travelers. People came   to the village by wagon or horseback. Barnes decided to establish a passenger   and a freight line between Macon and Barnes' Store and between Columbus and   Barnes' Store. He also opened a post office on June 28, 1827, which was known as   Barnes' Store. The post office name was changed to Barnesville in June of 1831.   Barnes was the village's first postmaster.

    Drivers and horses had to be secured to run the   stage lines. Housing for the new families brought to town had to be provided.   Stores providing clothing, hardware, food and livestock began operating and   business was brisk.

    The stage lines passed through Barnesville   daily traveling on the Towns Road, which connected with the Alabama Road west of   the village. The stage that traveled the Alabama Road connected Augusta, Georgia   with Montgomery, Alabama. The stages carried freight, mail and passengers. The   stage would stop at Barnes' tavern and inn to hitch fresh horses and to allow   the passengers to refresh themselves with food and drink.

    With the exception of the town plan/street   layout, no resources survive from this early period (1825-1830). 

    Iron Horse Development 1830-1860

    Barnesville was part of Pike County from its   beginning until 1921. During its early stages of development it was not   connected to any of the surrounding county seats until 1833. Forsyth, the county   seat of Monroe County, was about 15 miles to the east. Zebulon, the Pike County   seat, was about 12 miles west. Thomaston, the county seat of Upson County, was   about fourteen miles to the southwest. In 1833, the Upson County Commissioners   decided to fund the cutting of a road through the wilderness to Barnesville from   the courthouse square in Thomaston. 

    Advent of the Railroad

    With the advent of the railroad, Barnesville   continued to prosper. One of Barnesville's first citizens, Benjamin Mosley   Milner, helped build one of the first three railroads in Georgia. The Monroe   Railroad and Banking Company was chartered Dec. 23, 1833 by the Georgia   Legislature to establish a line between Macon and Forsyth. Its name was changed   to the Macon and Western Railroad Company in 1845 and became the first railroad   to come to Barnesville. It reached Atlanta in 1846. The Central of Georgia   Railroad (also chartered in 1833) was to provide rail service between Savannah   and Macon. This line connected with the Macon and Western Railroad to serve   Barnesville and Thomaston. The line to Barnesville was completed in 1841,   connecting the village to the main line at Forsyth. The spur line between   Barnesville and Thomaston was laid in 1847. The train to Thomaston was known as   "the Tom Cat" or the "Dummy" and a dummy line to Zebulon, was established. In   later years, the branch to Thomaston was operated by the Central of Georgia   Railroad. The Central, when completed in 1843, was the longest line built and   owned by one corporation in Georgia. Other trains which were associated with   service through Barnesville were the "Nancy Hanks I and II" providing service   between Atlanta and Savannah; the "Goober" providing service to Griffin and on   to Atlanta beginning in the late 1880s and the "Dixie Flyer" providing service   between Atlanta and Miami, Florida.

    Both the Atlanta to Macon and the spur lines   running through Barnesville are still being used today for freight shipping. The   freight trains make several stops daily at various manufacturing plants to   deliver supplies and transport finished goods to distributors. Both of these   lines are located on their original beds.

    As the iron horse became more popular, the   stagecoach became used less and less. The train was quicker, more convenient and   certainly more comfortable than the stagecoach. The railroad brought new sources   of growth: new merchants, new residents and new ideas. The population of   Barnesville had grown to approximately 400 by the end of 1849 with 45 families.   The center of the community was the depot. Everyone came to town or left town   from the place, which was the heart of the community. People came to town to see   the trains arrive or greet passengers. The business district grew up around the   depot. As the village grew, a freight depot in addition to a passenger depot was   built. The freight depot operations were later moved into the building that was   later used by the old Georgia Knitting Mills which fronts the railroad tracks   just east of the passenger depot. Today this building is used as a fertilizer   warehouse by Akin Feed and Seed.

    The stockyards were adjacent to the depot as   were several cotton warehouses. The planing mill was erected along the tracks in   order to receive goods and ship out finished products. The second post office   building was located in a building facing the depot. This building, known as the   Swatts Building, is still standing today.

    The Village of Barnesville

    The village of Barnesville was established by a   charter granted from the Georgia Legislature in 1852. The form of government was   a Mayor-Council. This form of government is still in use today. City limits were   a circle with a radius of one-half mile from Stafford's Store at Main and Market   Streets.

    In 1859, the Barnesville Masonic Female   Seminary was established by the Pinta Lodge #88. This school evolved into the   current Gordon College.

    During this period there were three main   streets leading into and out of Barnesville: Forsyth Street, Zebulon Street, and   Thomaston Street. All lead to the adjoining county seats which were within 15   miles in any direction.

    Sectionalism 1860-1865

    McDowell votes for secession

    During the period just prior to the Civil War,   Barnesville gained notoriety when its own, beloved Dr. George Montgomery   McDowell represented Pike County at the secession convention in Milledgeville in   January 1861. Being an ardent supporter of secession, he voted in favor of   Georgia casting her lot with South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida   in leaving the Union. Upon his return to Barnesville, he was elected the first   Captain of the newly formed militia unit, the "Barnesville Blues." This unit was   active in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War   II.

    The Civil War brought colorful action to the   area. In 1864 a supply "up train" from Macon collided with a "down troop train',   from Atlanta about four miles out from Barnesville at Lavender's Crossing. About   thirty people lost their lives and many more were seriously injured when the two   trains, the "Governor" and the "Dispatcher", wrecked.

    War Hits Home

    The town also saw action from Wilson's Raiders   and the Dixie Rangers in a skirmish on the outskirts of town on April 19, 1865.   In addition, one of Sherman's flanks, 10,000 strong, camped on the edge of town   on May 15, 1865 while pursuing President Jefferson Davis.

    Field hospitals were set up at the depot, in   the Methodist and Baptist churches, in the schoolhouses and in tents along   Zebulon and Forsyth Streets. The sick and wounded troops that were evacuated   from Atlanta were sent by rail to field hospitals. These field hospitals were   set up along the railroad in each little community where the train stopped. Most   of the troops sent to Barnesville were casualties from the Battle of Kennesaw   Mountain and the Battle of Atlanta. Those who died here are buried in marked   graves in the Confederate section of Greenwood cemetery.

    Slow Economic Times

    As many of the grown men left for "the fight"   to defend their economic and social life, the village of Barnesville moved into   slow economic times. Manufacturing turned toward support industries and little   growth took place. By the end of the Civil War (1865), Barnesville's population   was about 800 people.

    Rebuilding through Reconstruction 1865-1880

    The men return

    Shortly after the War ended and the men   returned to town, several of the former businesses and trades began to flourish   again and to grow. The main mode of travel by individuals was still the horse   and buggy or horse and wagon. Jackson G. Smith, a blacksmith, and George L.   Summers had been working together before the War at Dumas and Sullivan. This   repair shop worked with harnesses, horse shoeing, and blacksmithing. Smith and   Summers bought out Dumas and Sullivan and began manufacturing buggies under the   firm name of Smith and Summers Buggy Company in 1866. Smith had come to   Barnesville before the War from Buffalo, New York and Summers had come from   Virginia.

    Buggy Industry Prosperity

    This period of growth brought prosperity to   Barnesville as a result of the buggy industry and its related businesses. Some   of these were harness manufacturing, livestock breeding and sales, feed and seed   stores, livery stables and buggy body manufacturing. Nearly everyone in the   community was employed in an industry that was in some way connected with the   manufacturing and shipping of the buggies, wagons, carts, hearses, and coffins.   At the height of the buggy business in 1900, nearly 9,000 buggies were produced   annually in Barnesville.

    Some of the other smaller buggy companies were   Brazier and Dumas, Trio Buggy Company, and Franklin Buggy Company. The firm of   Smith and Summers split in 1878 and Smith formed his own firm. Summers went into   business with Murphey. This firm was known as Summers and Murphey until the fire   of 1884. After Summers rebuilt, the firm was known as Summers' Buggy Company.

    The various buggy firms employed hundreds of   people. Barnesville became known as "the Buggy Capital of the South" because it   produced more buggies than any other location south of Cincinnati, Ohio.

    Buggy Capital of the South

    Some of   the other smaller buggy companies were Brazier and Dumas, Trio Buggy Company,   and Franklin Buggy Company. The firm of Smith and Summers split in 1878 and   Smith formed his own firm. Summers went into business with Murphey. This firm   was known as Summers and Murphey until the fire of 1884. After Summers rebuilt,   the firm was known as Summers' Buggy Company.

    The   various buggy firms employed hundreds of people. Barnesville became known as   "the Buggy Capital of the South" because it produced more buggies than any other   location south of Cincinnati, Ohio.

    Hundreds   of buggies, carts, wagons, hearses, and coffins were shipped from the railroad   sidings to the market place. In addition to rail shipping, the buggies were sold   throughout the countryside by Smith. He hitched up five buggies to one team and   traveled through the countryside with one team of horses pulling his string of   buggies. After he sold the last buggy, he would return to Barnesville by train   to ready another "string of buggies." This type of marketing made the buggy   accessible to the rural areas where the train did not run.


    This period saw a surge in local recreational   facilities; as many as five saloons were operating at one time. Billiard parlors   were filled with tobacco chewing patrons and an opera house was built on Market   Street. This building, first known as Granite Hall, was built by Stafford and   Blalock. Local musicians gave public programs there along with recitals and   plays. Although Barnesville had a reputation of "not being a show town," various   traveling companies stopped overnight in Barnesville and put on variety shows,   magic shows, and theatrical performances. The advertisements in the local paper   quoted the price of admission at twenty-five cents for general admission and   thirty-five cents for the "better seats." The opera house was located on the   north side of Market Street, just behind the corner building facing Main Street.   The second story was utilized as the performing hall. After traveling companies   went out of vogue, the upstairs portion of the building was used as apartments.   This portion was torn away due to structural problems in the early 1960s.

    Educational and Cultural Center

    Barnesville's first newspaper was formed in   1867 by Lambdin and Pound. This brought the world to Barnesville. Businesses   began to advertise specials and a sense of regionalism began to take hold.

    Under the guidance of Charles E. Lambdin and   Azmon A. Murphey, Gordon Institute was formed. This evolved out of the old   Barnesville Masonic Female Seminary. As the enrollment grew, the reputation of   Barnesville as an educational and cultural center also grew. Gordon became the   center of all cultural and educational activity with new debating societies,   literary societies, philosophical societies, and a concert band, the Silver   Coronet Band. These groups were all part of the activities at Gordon. A   bandstand was built in the center of the business district for the Silver   Coronet Band to give Sunday afternoon concerts.

    Drawing New Families

    Barnesville's population had doubled since 1850   from 400 to 800 by the beginning of Reconstruction in 1865. Businesses had   grown, new economic growth in local manufacturing had continued and Gordon   Institute was drawing families and boarding students from all over the   southeast.

    These new residents arrived mostly by train.   This brought revenue to the depot through fares and freight charges. New   dwelling construction and boarding houses met housing demands. Some of the   boarding houses of the day were the Five Oaks, The Young Ladies' Home, and the   J.T. Murphey boarding house. The hotels of the day were the Matthews Hotel, the   Lyon House, the Blalock House, and the Magnolia Inn.

    During Gordon's commencement exercises and   during the height of the summer resort season, boarding houses and hotels were   filled to capacity. Visitors came from Florida to spend the summers in   Barnesville because of its business, educational and cultural advantages.

    Buggy Industry Flourishes

    During Reconstruction (1865-1877), the buggy   industry began to expand and flourish. Three of the smaller size buggy   manufacturers were Trio Buggy Company, Brazier and Dumas Buggy Company, and   Franklin Buggy Company. The two largest were Summers' Buggy Company and the J.G.   Smith & Sons Buggy Company.

    The office and the commissary of J.G. Smith &   Sons Company still stand today on the northeast side of the main railroad line.   The building that housed the Franklin Buggy Company is totally intact on the   site adjacent to the main line of the railroad. This building was the last   location of the Franklin Buggy Company. The first was a warehouse at the   intersection of Zebulon and Greenwood Streets, which burned in the 1920s. The   Trio Buggy Company was in that location after Franklin had moved to the larger   building that stands today on the rail line. That building was built in 1897 for   the Gem Knitting Mills. After they went out of business Franklin occupied it,   and then an infant casket company used it as a manufacturing site.

    There are three walls of the original   blacksmith shop of Summers Buggy Company still standing today. Many years ago it   had a fire and was rebuilt by replacing only the burned portions. It is utilized   today as a storage shed for a building supply company that is owned and operated   by a direct descendant of the Smith and Summers families who were engaged in the   manufacturing of buggies and wagons.

    The Barnesville Savings Bank was organized on   October 26, 1870. The bank's first and second locations are occupied by   businesses in the downtown historic district. The first site, the current   location of Antiques on Main, is at the corner of Main and Zebulon Streets.   After the Barnesville Savings Bank erected a new marble front building in 1897   on East Main Street, the original building was occupied by a number of retail   businesses.

    Rebirth after the War

    The 1879 population figure for Barnesville was   2,000. The town had begun its rebirth after the War and was prospering. By 1880,   Barnesville was a thriving shipping point. Many locally made products were being   shipped to other areas of the state and the southern region of the United   States. In addition to the buggies, wagons, carts, hearses, and coffins, many   local people were involved in the fruit production business. These fruits,   including peaches, melons, grapes, and pecans, were shipped from the depot by   the carload.

    Cotton...A Cash Crop

    Another local crop was cotton. The cotton was   grown, harvested, ginned, and baled locally. Some of the cash crop was shipped   out by train and some was used by several local cotton mills to manufacture   goods to be shipped out. One of the cotton mills was the Eagle Knitting Mill,   later known as the Oxford Knitting Mill and today known as the William Carter   Company. This mill employed hundreds of people when it began operation in the   1880s.  It still operates the distribution center at the original site of the   mill. [This mill is not in the nominated district.] Another of the cotton mills   was the Barnesville Manufacturing Company. It started in the historic district   in the 1800s. After a depression at the turn of the century, it moved its   operations to the western edge of town. It is Barnesville's other large employer   today and is known as the General Tire Company. For many years, it was known as   Aldora Mills. [The current site is not within the historic district.]

    The Gee-Hanson Knitting Mill, the   Hanson-Crawley Knitting Mill, and the Georgia Underwear Knitting Mill were other   cotton mills that operated in Barnesville during the 1850s. Several of these   merged with one another. Not only did cotton bring jobs to the farmers, the   cotton gins, the cotton warehouses, the shipping department, and Southern   Railway Express, but it caused the erection of "operative cottages" along Brown   Avenue (now Atlanta Street) and Forsyth Street. The cotton mills needed housing   for the machine operators and decided to build mill houses. Aldora Village,   which was built soon after the turn of the century, was provided by the   Hightower family for Aldora Mill workers to live in. Each mill had its own   commissary. The "Company Store" was designed to meet the needs of the company   employees. Not only did the cotton mills have these conveniences, so did the   buggy manufacturers. [These resources are outside the district.]

    Manufacturing Plants begin to thrive

    Other manufacturing plants during the 1880s   began to thrive. The Stafford-Huguley Hosiery Company was started. This factory   was housed in the new Murphey Building on Zebulon Street after the fire of   October 17, 1884. The fire was responsible for many economic and structural   changes in the downtown business district. A passing train created sparks on the   tracks. The sparks caught a bale of cotton on fire. The cotton was stacked along   the track behind Corley Tire Company and the Summers' cotton warehouse. The fire   raged out of control because the fire pumper could not hold pressure. The fire   department was quick to respond to the alarm from its shed on Market Street, but   the hoses had become rotten and could not hold pressure. Thirty-three businesses   and several downtown residences were destroyed by the fire.

    Another of the locally manufactured products   was Stafford & Sons shoes. At their height, the Stafford Shoe Company made and   shipped 5,000 pairs of shoes out of Barnesville via rail freight. The shoes were   manufactured in the rear of the building that today houses Rose Nails and other   merchants.

    The site of the ribbed underwear manufacturing   plant was later used as the freight depot and today is used as a fertilizer   warehouse for Akins Feed and Seed. It is standing today just behind Summers,   warehouse along the railroad tracks. The Summers' cotton warehouse stands today   and is used by the City of Barnesville Electrical Department.

    The site of another underwear mill stands today   along the railroad tracks at the northern edge of the district, across from the   depot. The building was the former site of the Franklin Buggy Company and B   Lloyd's Candy.

    As a   result of the 1884 fire, the town's configuration was changed. Originally, the   town was essentially a triangle that had as its wide base the stock yards around   the depot. The point of the triangle was in front of the present day Carter's   Drug Store. The city fathers decided to re-design the "Square" into a   rectangular pattern. The focal point of the business district would still be the   depot, but access into and out of the depot area would be greater. The three   main roads would still radiate from the center point.

    All of   Main Street, most of Forsyth Street, all of Zebulon Street is post-October 1884   due to the fire. The only portion of the old section left was on the south side   of Forsyth and Market Streets. The business district was totally rebuilt in the   months just after the fire. The first building to be rebuilt was the William R.   Murphey building. It was stated in the local News-Gazette that the building was   begun on the "glowing embers of the fire." The building was completed in   twenty-one days. It was the most desirable parcel of commercial property in the   business district because it fronted the depot. The building housed law offices,   restaurants, meat markets, grocery stores, harness repair shops, the first   "reading room" (library), the "Blues" drill room, live stock stables, and the   New South Savings Bank which would open in 1890. Today it is known as the Armory   Building, it remains well used today.

    Boom to Bust 1880-1900

    First Building Codes

    The growth in the business district brought the   need for some guidelines for growth. The fire had demonstrated the lack of   construction control. The city council wrote the first building codes; all   storerooms, storehouses and dwellings had to be made of brick. The city limits   would be a circle with a radius of one-and-one half miles extending from a point   in the middle of the intersection in front of Stafford's Store. Stafford's Store   stands today at the corner of Market and Main Streets.

    New Growth

    The fire brought new growth in terms of   buildings, labors and businesses. A brick factory worked night and day to supply   the bricks for rebuilding. In spite of their efforts, hundreds of carloads of   Chattahoochee brick were brought into town by rail. Many hired hands moved to   town to work for contractors who had arrived by train. Building supplies firms   were started up and temporary housing for the hired hands was in demand.

    Another result of the fire was the erection of   a firehouse. This new building would house the city council upstairs, the   firehouse on the ground floor and a calaboose (jail) in the rear of the building   on Jackson Street. This building faced the old hotel and was located near the   center of town at the corner of Forsyth and Jackson Streets. Today this same   building houses City Hall. The fire department is now located in new facilities   built in 1992 next door. The city clock that kept the business district on time   was moved from atop the old hotel in 1932 to the bell tower of city hall.

    The city built a water works and a new   reservoir and erected an electrical plant. A new fire engine was purchased and   the town swelled with pride.

    The Presbyterian Church erected a beautiful   house of worship at the corner of Main and Taylor Streets in 1897.

    The New South Savings Bank was chartered in   1890 and business was booming until 1901. There was a "general economic   depression". The entire southern region was in economic turmoil. Not only did   most local businesses collapse; the local banks closed their doors. The banks   were reopened under government orders that put them under receiverships. The   banks re-opened under the names of Barnesville Bank and the First National Bank   in 1902. The New South Savings Bank re-opened under the firm of Citizen's Bank   in 1902. The Citizen's Bank first merged with the Barnesville Bank, and later   with First National Bank at the time of the "Great Depression', in 1929.

    During this period the streets downtown were   maintained by a street crew. The sidewalks were made with diagonal boards and   underlaid with charcoal for sanitary conditions. The area around the depot was   made into a park to beautify the arrival area of the train.

    The Barnesville Blues re-organized during this   period and became an active militia unit again. They trained for the   Spanish-American War (1898) in drills at the armory that was part of Gordon   Institute's campus. This campus at that time was on the original site between   Thomaston Street and Greenwood Streets. 

    Rapid Construction

    Most of the town's dwellings were erected   during this time period. After the 1884 fire, residential construction was as   rapid as was commercial construction. Most of the homes on Thomaston, Greenwood,   Holmes, Elm and Forsyth Streets and Brown Avenue were built during this period.

    Many of the business proprietors were   rebuilding downtown and at the same time building residences. A great demand for   building supplies was created by the fire. Also construction hands, contractors   and a planing mill were in demand. The number of jobs created by the fire   brought new residents to town to fill those jobs. Many of those new workers   stayed on.

    Local bricks were manufactured at the Parker   place at the end of Elm Street, but the demand was too great. Hundreds of loads   were brought in on rail from the Chattahoochee Brick Company of Atlanta. 

    Status Quo 1900-1920

    General Depression

    After the bank failures and "general   depression" of 1901, the local economy struggled to survive. In 1902, the banks   reopened and found few opportunities to invest their assets.

    Many of the local businesses, including the   cotton mills, closed, never to reopen. Some did re-organize and slowly began to   recover. The most successful of these was the Barnesville Manufacturing Co. and   the Oxford Knitting Mills.

    City gets Library and paved streets

    By 1900, the population of Barnesville was   3,000. This figure remained the same throughout the 1920's.

    In 1909, the city aldermen were successful in   obtaining a grant from the Carnegie Foundation for the erection of a public   library. This facility operated at the site until a new library was opened   across the street (at Thomaston and Holmes) in 1987. The Carnegie Library   Building is currently the studio/residence of a local artist - Carol Wubbena.

    In 1918 the downtown streets were paved and a   new post office was built on Forsyth Street. This building is still being used   today as the post office.

    A & M School

    Barnesville's population in the years after the   turn of the century was about 3,200. This was a factor in the decision of the   state legislature to grant the new Sixth Congressional District A and M School   to Barnesville. Several of the towns in the district lobbied the legislature for   the granting of a school, but Barnesville offered a central location, a great   deal of free land, and a main line of the railroad. This district served Bibb,   Butts, Clayton, Crawford, Fayette, Henry, Monroe, Pike, Spalding, and Upson   counties. The Sixth District A and M School was part of a statewide school   system introduced to teach mechanical and agricultural skills to high school   students in rural areas. The main building was completed in Barnesville in 1906.   The cornerstone was laid by the Pinta Lodge #88. The main building, although   renovated, is used today as the administration building of Gordon College. The A   and M campus became the Georgia Industrial College in 1929. In the later 1930s,   when the industrial school was closed by the legislature, Gordon Institute moved   from its original campus between Thomaston and Greenwood Streets to the A & M   campus. This campus of nearly 400 acres was sold to the State of Georgia in   1972. At that point, Gordon became part of the University System of Georgia.   Today, it boasts an enrollment of nearly 3,500 students annually.

    World War 1

    World War I (1917-1918) brought a sense of   unity through the Barnesville Blues. Once again the unit was called into   service. Hardly a family in town was untouched by the demand for troops. At this   time many long established businesses closed and few new firms were started.   Times were changing and so was transportation. The auto was gaining favor with   the public and the horse and buggy along with the train was going out of vogue.   The local economy had been largely dependent on the buggy industry and its   related businesses. The two largest buggy manufacturers decided that it was no   longer profitable to make buggies, wagons, and carriages. Summers Buggy Company   dissolved due to the advanced age of Mr. Summers. The Smith Buggy Company   decided to convert to furniture manufacturing. The new firm would be known as   Smith Incorporated.

    New Directions 1920-1945

    Lamar County is formed

    After several attempts to secure a new county,   the city fathers were successful in bringing the issue before the State   Legislature. In August of 1920, the representatives of Barnesville went by train   to Atlanta to await the vote. The monies had been paid and the vote was taken.   It was defeated narrowly. The men came back to Barnesville that evening on the   down train and held a town meeting. After "passing the hat," the men returned to   Atlanta the next morning. Another meeting took place with the "Committee" and   the issue was called to a vote again. This time the bill passed creating the new   County of Lamar. The county seat was to be Barnesville. The eastern portion of   Pike County and the western portion of Monroe County were to make up the new   county. The historic vote was held locally on August 17, 1920. The new county   would begin operating as a legal entity on January 1, 1921. The M. W. Smith   building across from the depot housed the county offices and court was held in   the third floor ballroom. The area was leased from the Pinta Lodge #88. Business   was conducted here until the courthouse was completed in 1931. The courthouse   was designed by Eugene C. Wachendorff of Atlanta, architect, and built by the   Barnesville Planing Mill. The cornerstone was laid in 1931 by the Pinta Lodge   #88.

    The Pinta Masonic Lodge #88 is the oldest   continuously operating organization in Barnesville. It was chartered in 1849 and   has continued to be an active and positive force in promoting and supporting the   community. It has had meeting space in several historic buildings within the   district.

    The Great Depression & The New Deal

    The Great Depression (1929-1941) was difficult   for all communities including Barnesville. Many people were out of work and as   businessmen drew near retirement age, many firms dissolved.

    The New Deal Era (1933-1943) brought many   government programs to help the people and the city. One of these, the WPA   brought work to many local men. A golf course was laid out, bridges were built,   and streets were paved in town. The brass WPA markers can still be seen in the   middle of the streets that were paved under Roosevelt's WPA program.

    Roosevelt throws the switch

    In August of 1938, President Franklin D.   Roosevelt came to town via train to literally "throw the switch" to begin the   electrification of rural America. The REA (Rural Electrification Administration)   was Roosevelt's pet project and he chose Barnesville as the site to turn on the   electricity. Thousands of people came to town to see and hear the President. The   ceremony took place on a specially constructed, raised platform at Summers   Field. The switch pulled in Barnesville sent electricity over the wires into   rural homes in four counties.

    World War II

    World War II (1941-1945) brought the   "Barnesville Blues" into action again. This local unit began at the time of   secession (1861). In times of peace, it would de-activate and in times of war   would become active-and begin to train again. The "Blues" always served with   honor and distinction. The last commanding officer, Brigadier General Homer   Sappington, had the honor of having the present National Guard unit in   Barnesville named after him.

    When the men came back from World War II, the   land beyond Gordon College was laid off and offered to the veterans for $10.00   per lot if they would agree to build a home on the lot. After completion of the   home, they would be given a deed to the lot. This provided needed housing and   created local construction jobs.

    In August of 1938, President Franklin D.   Roosevelt came to town via train to literally "throw the switch" to begin the   electrification of rural America. The REA (Rural Electrification Administration)   was Roosevelt's pet project and he chose Barnesville as the site to turn on the   electricity. Thousands of people came to town to see and hear the President. The   ceremony took place on a specially constructed, raised platform at Summers   Field. The switch pulled in Barnesville sent electricity over the wires into   rural homes in four counties.

    Conclusion 1945 - Present

    The downtown business district has changed   little in the past fifty years. There are only a few new structures, like the   former Akins Feed and Seed. This was erected in 1950 to replace a burned   building on Market Street. The police booth was removed and the gazebo replaced   it in the 1980s.     

    History of Lamar County

    Lamar County is located in west Lamar County at a Glance central Georgia, between Atlanta and Macon. The officials of the flourishing little city of Barnesville, settled in 1826, appealed to the state legislature four times—in 1869, 1906, 1912, and 1916—to create a new county with Barnesville as the county seat. Finally, in 1920, the session of the state transferred land from Monroe and Pike counties and created the county of Lamar, making a land area for Lamar County of 185 square miles. The name was Lucius Q. C. Lamar chosen for Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-93), a Putnam County native who became a U.S. Senator (elected to represent Mississippi), secretary of the interior, and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Lamar County has a rolling landscape and is well drained by streams emptying into the Flint River and Ocmulgee River. Its agricultural land, with pecan and peach groves, is a little northwest of the geographic center of Georgia. Agricultural activities in the county include forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining.

    After the treaty with the Lower Creek Indians was signed by Chief William McIntosh at Indian Springs in January 8, 1821, the land that comprised Monroe, Pike, and Crawford counties was ceded to the United States. English settlers came from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and older Georgia counties.

    The county seat, Barnesville, was well known as the "Buggy Capital of the South" in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with several Barnesville companies producing buggies. The local Barnesville Gazette reported that Mr. Smith of the J. G. Smith and Sons Genuine Barnesville Buggies Factory anticipated "for the year 1897 he will ship at least 1,200 buggies" and "is almost sure to double this for 1898." In mid-September each year, Barnesville celebrates Buggy Days with a parade—displaying original Barnesville Buggies—and a crafts celebration bringing thousands of visitors to the town.

    Population in the county grew from the 1930 census figure of 9,745 to 15,912 in the 2000 census. According to the 2010 census, the population increased again to 18,317.

    Gordon College, located in Barnesville, was founded in 1872 as the Gordon Institute in honor of General John B. Gordon, Confederate soldier and statesman. Gordon Institute became Gordon Military College (1927-72) and educated and trained men who fought during World War II (1941-45), the Korean War (1950-53), and the Vietnam War (1964-73). In 1972 the college became a two-year unit of the University System of Georgia, and in 2007 it transitioned to a four-year institution



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