The New International Encyclopædia/Augusta (Georgia)
AUGUSTA. A city, and the county-seat of Richmond County, Ga., on the Savannah River, at the head of navigation, 231 miles from its mouth; latitude 33° 28′ north, longitude 81° 54′ west; 132 miles by rail northwest of Savannah; on several railroads, among them the Central of Georgia, the Charleston and West Carolina, the Georgia, the South Carolina and Georgia, and the Southern (Map: Georgia, E 2). The Augusta Canal, 9 miles long and 150 feet wide, starting above the city from a dam, furnishes the water supply, which is under municipal operation, and 14,000 horse-power for manufactures. Augusta is 150 feet above the sea, has a climate like that of Aiken, S. C., only 17 miles distant, somewhat cooler than Savannah, and an even temperature and dry air. It is an increasingly popular health resort. The city is finely laid out, with broad, beautifully shaded streets, intersecting at right angles. There are several parks,—one of them, May Park, containing 10¾ acres,—besides 25 squares, and outside the city are the cemetery and fairgrounds, attractively laid out. Summerville, on the Sand Hills, overlooking the city, and 400 feet above sea-level, is a suburb of handsome villas and cottages, and a well-known health resort. Augusta has a public library of 10,000 volumes; two handsome monuments—one erected in 1849 to the Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence, the other to the Confederate soldiers; a Masonic Temple, Odd Fellows' Hall, and Cotton Exchange, besides many other notable private and public buildings. The chief educational institutions are the Georgia Medical College, a branch of the State University at Athens, Richmond Academy, Saint Mary's and Sacred Heart academies, Paine's Institute for Colored Students, and high schools for white and colored pupils. Among charitable institutions are the Orphan Asylum, Louise King Home, and hospitals for white and colored patients.
Augusta is one of the largest cotton markets in the South, and has important manufactures of cotton goods; iron foundries, sash, door, and blind factories, and other wood-working industries. Its lumber trade, and shipping of fruits and vegetables are extensive.
Under the charter of 1798, as revised in 1882, Augusta is governed by a mayor, elected for 3 years, and a city council, composed of the mayor and 15 councilmen, 3 from each ward, for a term of 3 years, one-third being elected each year. The mayor appoints the superintendents of canal and water-works, and of streets and drains; other offices, excepting the board of education, which is elected by the people, are in the hands of the council. Population, in 1860, 12,493; in 1880, 21,891; in 1890, 33,300; in 1900, 39,441. Founded under a charter by Oglethorpe in 1736, and named in honor of an English princess, Augusta was in its early years the most important trading station and one of the most important military posts in Georgia. Many notable conferences were held here with the Cherokees, Creeks, and Choctaws, large tracts of territory being secured at those of 1763 and 1773. Late in January, 1779, it was captured by the British and held for a month. In May, 1780, it was again captured, and was occupied by British and Loyalists until June 5, 1781, when, after a protracted siege, it was surrendered to Gen. Andrew Pickens and Col. Henry Lee. In 1778 it served as the capital, and though the legislature was frequently forced to meet elsewhere, it continued to be the nominal seat of government until 1798. It was incorporated as a town in 1798, and in 1817 was chartered as a city. Consult Jones and Dutcher, Memorial History of Augusta (Syracuse, N. Y., 1890).