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29 Fun Facts about Georgia (must-read!)

Looking for some fun Georgia facts for a project or just to impress your family?

Georgia is the 24th largest state and 8th most populous, with the 2020 census population at 10,711,908.

Atlanta is the capital, the largest city in Georgia with more than 6 million people and 57% of Georgia’s entire population, and it’s the 9th most populous metropolitan city in the U.S.

Atlanta skyline

Georgia was the last and most southern located colony of the original 13, named after King George II of Great Britain, and the state Motto is Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.

The 4th state to ratify the US Constitution, it also temporarily seceded from the Union to become a Confederate state in 1861 and was the last to be restored in 1870.

The highest point in Georgia is Brasstown Bald at 4,784 feet and 1,458 miles above sea level (where there is a 360-degree viewing platform that allows for 4 state views on clear days), while the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean; other than high altitude areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the entire state is a humid, subtropical climate.

Rich in Marble, Georgia supplied the marble for the capitols in many states, and also to build the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Fortune Magazine named Athens, a classic city of the south, as the Top Retirement Destination, due to its sunny weather, low cost of living, and historic downtown.

Atlanta hosted the Olympic Summer Games of 1996 for its 100th Anniversary, it’s Centennial Games.

Map of Georgia

Here are 21 more interesting facts about Georgia!

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1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport
Image: Underground walkway in Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Chris Rycroft. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

One of the best Georgia facts is all about the Atlanta airport!

It’s the busiest and most efficient airport in the world, with more than 100 million passengers annually, and employing more than 60,000 people.

2. Agriculture – Georgia has more soil types than any other state , and contributes 70 billion dollars to the economy annually

Vidalia onions
Image: 20170620-OSEC-PJK-1176. US Department of Agriculture. via Flickr

Known as the Peach State, Georgia is also #1 producer in the world of pecans, produces peanuts, corn, soybeans, and Gainesville is considered the poultry capital of the world, with the state the top Vidalia onions producer, considered sweetest in the world and only cultivated in fields surrounding Vidalia and Glennville; the state is one of the top 5 blueberry producers in the U.S. and Cordele is the world’s watermelon capital!

3. Native American Tribes

Gold rush

Two of the largest tribes in Georgia are the Creek and Cherokee Tribes.

  • The Georgia Gold Rushwas the first in America, began in 1828; thousands arrived to try it, which led to the Georgia Land Lotteries and then to the Trail of Tears, where the Native American people were removed from their lands and sent to western areas.

4. The first American Woman to graduate College with a bachelor’s degree

Sunset at Wesleyan College
Image: Sunset at Wesleyan College. Stephen Rahn. via Flickr

Catherine Brewer graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia in 1849.

5. Georgia was the first state in the nation to recognize a constitutional right to Privacy

Privacy please sign

Granted by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1905.

6. Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin in Savannah in 1793

Cotton gin

Which went on to transform America’s economy; his invention removed seeds from cotton quickly by machine, which changed everything for the south’s cotton farmers.

7. All lakes in Georgia are manmade

Lake in Georgia
Image: Lake Blue Ridge, Georgia. Thomson20192. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

That’s right, none there were created by God or natural means!

8. Popular Novels related to Georgia

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind Manuscript
Image: Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone With the Wind’ Manuscript. dcwriterdawn. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Margaret Mitchell, born in Atlanta, wrote “Gone with the Wind” and Alice Walker, from Eatonton, wrote “The Color Purple”.

9. Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, is the only president to date from Georgia

Jimmy Carter
Image: President Jimmy Carter. Boston City Archives. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

Born in Plains, he managed his family’s peanut farm, then got involved in politics, serving first as Senator and the Governor, and is also known for his role in Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for individual families.

10. Stone Mountain is the world’s largest piece of exposed Granite – one of the most photographed places on earth and is Georgia’s Most Popular Attraction

Stone Mountain Georgia
Image: Monument at Stone Mountain. Mesquite Bob. via Flickr

With a height of 1,500 feet and a base of 3.8 miles; a carved sculpture of Confederate Generals Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Lee’s horse, Traveler, is the largest in the world at 90’ tall, 11’ deep and 190’ wide, making it even larger than Mount Rushmore.

11. In Athens, there is a White Oak tree that owns itself!

Tree that Owns Itself in Athens, Georgia
Image: The tree that owns itself, Athens, Georgia. Boston Public Library. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

Though actually, the tree standing today is the “Son of the Tree that owns itself”

The legend was that the original had legal ownership of itself and all land within 8 feet of it, but it fell in 1942 in a storm, and locals planted a seedling from the original in the same spot, supposedly with the same ownership rights.

12. Martin Luther King Jr., born in Atlanta, played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964

Martin Luther King

Georgia was a major hub of the action, where he co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, organizing marches and protests; the organization is still active today.

13. First state to lower the legal voting age from 21 to 18 in 1943

Wooden vote letters

The slogan was “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote”, due to the young adults fighting overseas in WWII.

14. Savannah is considered the most haunted city in the U.S.

Entrance to the Colonial Park Cemetery
Image: Colonial Park Cemetery. Eric Fleming. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

According to the American Institute of Parapsychology, that is, due to the many buildings that sit above Native American burial grounds and roads covering cemeteries, as well as the many deadly battles, fires, and epidemics that plagued the city in the past.

15. In the mood for a Drive-In Restaurant?

Burger and fries from The Varsity
Image: The Varsity, Atlanta, Georgia. Amy Meredith. [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The world’s largest is located in downtown Atlanta, a two-story restaurant at almost 5 acres wide, it can seat 800 people and 600 parked cars….for carhop service!

16. The world’s largest college campus?

Berry College
Image: FROST CHAPEL, BERRY COLLEGE. lovecatz. [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

That’s right, Berry Collegiate, near Rome, Georgia, gets that credit.

17. Blackbeard!

Blackbeard

A cool fact about Georgia is that Pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach established his base of operations on Blackbeard Island!

18. Whitewater rafting?

Rafters on the Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia
Photo credit: Whitewater Express, Columbus Georgia Facebook page

The world’s longest urban whitewater rafting course can be found in Columbus, Georgia – “Whitewater Express”.

19. Farmers’ Market

Peaches at a Georgia Farmer's Market
Image: Peaches at Georgia’s Farmer’s Market Plano. Nan Palmero. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

For the many who love a good Farmers’ Market, Forest Park is home to the largest one of its kind in the world.

20. Oldest Portable Steam Engine

Steam engine
Image: Gainsville Midland 2-10-0 206 on former roundhouse tracks in Georgia RR Yard in Atlanta, GA on April 14, 1963. Marty Bernard. via Flickr

The Historic Railroad Shops in Savannah displays the oldest portable steam engine in the U.S.

21. One of the world’s largest aquariums

Georgia Aquarium
Image: Georgia Aquarium. Larry Syverson. [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Located in downtown Atlanta, it holds more than 10 million gallons of marine/salt water, housing more than 100,000 animals, and big enough to hold large sharks and whales!

22. First Telephone Service

Vintage telephone

Roswell, Georgia was first to have telephone service in 1901, with only 1 digit!

23. Coca-Cola

Statue of John S. Pemberton holding a Coke
Image: coca cola. Jenn Durfey. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

Invented in Atlanta in 1886 by pharmacist John S. Pemberton and first intended as a “nerve tonic for exhaustion”, Coke was first sold at a soda fountain inside Jacob’s Pharmacy; today you can visit and sample 100+ flavors from all over the world.

Fun Fact – McDonald’s has the best-tasting Coke anywhere!

Turns out, their secret is that Coca-Cola delivers their syrup in steel drums rather than the plastic bags it comes in for everywhere else, protecting it from light and air, and once it arrives, they have their own filtration methods to mix and pre-chill it… it’s not your imagination that it just tastes better!

24. The First Protestant Sunday School in America – started in Savannah by John Wesley in 1736

Entrance of Springfield Baptist Church
Image: DSC06142-Springfield_Baptist_Church. Sir Mildred Pierce. [CC by 2.0] via Flickr

Also, Augusta is home to Springfield Baptist Church, the Oldest African-American church, still active and the origin of Morehouse College.

25. Largest Wild Hog ever seen?!

Wild hogs in Georgia
Image: Wild Hogs. Roy Cohutta Brown. [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Found in Alapaha, weighing 1,000 pounds and 12 feet long.

Terrifying… and aptly nicknamed “Hogzilla”!

26. Unique, but Vaguely Familiar New Year’s Eve

Banner for the Possum Drop in Tallapoosa, Georgia
Photo credit: Possum Drop Tallapoosa, Georgia Facebook Page

In a town once called “Possum Snout” (and rightfully renamed, in my opinion!), the current town of Tallapoosa, Georgia has a midnight ball drop…no, not a glittering Apple, it’s a POSSUM drop, a stuffed opossum named Spenser, who comes down hanging from the center of a light ball.

27. More feature films are produced on location in Georgia than in California or anywhere else!

Image of President Snow
Photo credit: Nfi.edu

Just a few have been (TV) – Dukes of Hazzard, Stranger Things, Vampire Diaries, Designing Women, MacGyver (2016) the Walking Dead and more; (Films) – Gone with the Wind, Driving Miss Daisy, La La Land, Passengers, Forrest Gump, Hidden Figures, Sully, Baby Driver, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Birds of Prey, The Blind Side, Cape Fear, Fast Five, The Fate of the Furious, Footloose (2011), Fried Green Tomatoes, and many more!

28. Famous Faces

Image of someone holding up a Ray Charles record
Image: Ray Charles @ Beatnick. Montreal Concert Poster. via Flickr

There are a LOT of people born in Georgia who’ve made their mark on the world, here are just a few:

  • Ray Charles – Singer of “Georgia on My Mind”, now the official state song!
  • Gladys Knight – Singer and known for “Midnight Train to Georgia”, and…
  • Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter (president of the U.S. and First Lady), Martin Luther King, Jr. (Black Civil Rights Leader), Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court Chief Justice), Actors, Theater, TV and Film personalities – Julia Roberts, Spike Lee, Sutton Foster, Dakota and Elle Fanning,  Chris Tucker, Holly Hunter, Jeff Daniels, Paula Dean, Ty Pennington, Chris Tucker, Laurence Fishburne, Ryan Seacrest, Raven-Symone; Music – Kanye West, Little Richard, Luke Bryan, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant; Athletes – Hulk Hogan, Jackie Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Dwight Howard, Richard Dent, Frank Thomas, Teresa Edwards, and more!

29. Strange and Funny Georgia Laws!

Girl looking puzzled
  • It’s illegal to put your ice cream in your back pocket on Sundays – really, would it be fine any other day?
  • It’s illegal to spit from a car or bus in Marietta – Umm… but a truck is okay?
  • It is illegal to keep a donkey in a bathtub – Because they prefer showers?
  • Members of the State Assembly may not be ticketed for speeding while the State Assembly is in session – think we’ve seen a lot of this kind of thing lately!
  • No cussing over the phone in Columbus! – They prefer yelling in the street instead.
  • On Mondays after 11pm, no whistling is allowed – Tuesdays through Sundays are apparently just fine.
  • In Atlanta, no tying a giraffe to a pole or a street lamp. – What kind of pets did they used to have around there anyway?
  • No picnicking in Graveyards! – Okay, fine by me.
  • No stink bombs allowed in Columbus. – as opposed to firecrackers, I presume?
  • In Acworth, all citizens must own a rake – no laws about actually using it though!
  • When you change the clothes on a mannequin in the store window, you must draw the shades or move it out of sightlines! – they need privacy too!
  • No peanut products allowed in Nickajack Elementary School, and that includes pb&j’s!  And this in the peanut capital state!
  • No cars are allowed to drive on Sidewalks in Quitman… or through playgrounds in Dublin – Really?!
  • You must also get a permit in Dublin – to poison a rat. – that’s just taking animal loving a bit too far, in my opinion… Yuck!
  • It’s also illegal in Quitman for a chicken to cross the road! – they got tired of trying to figure out WHY it did so!
  • It is illegal to take a bath in orange peels. – well, I’ve seen just about everything else these days, so why not?
  • And finally, Athens-Clarke County apparently had some real problems in the past… take a look at some of their laws:
  • You may not read books in public after 2:45am. – Just go home, folks!
    • You may not give away goldfish to entice people into a game of Bingo! – Oh yes, that would just be far too much temptation for most of us!
    • Mules are not allowed to roam unsupervised! – Like toddlers, they cause too much trouble?
    • No one under 16 is allowed to play pinball after 11pm. – But any other troublemaking is fair game?
    • You need a business license to hold a “going out of business sale”! – Talk about kicking them when they’re down!
    • It’s also illegal to sell two beers for the price of one! – In a college town, might actually be a bit wise!

Hey! Want more fun facts about the states? Check these out!

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