LaGrange, Georgia
Courthouse square in LaGrange
Courthouse square in LaGrange
Flag of LaGrange, Georgia
Official logo of LaGrange, Georgia
Location in Troup County and Georgia
Location in Troup County and Georgia
Coordinates: 33°2′12″N 85°01′55″W / 33.03667°N 85.03194°W / 33.03667; -85.03194
CountryUnited States
StateGeorgia
CountyTroup
Area
 • Total42.98 sq mi (111.31 km2)
 • Land42.14 sq mi (109.15 km2)
 • Water0.84 sq mi (2.16 km2)
Elevation
781 ft (238 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total30,858
 • Density732.22/sq mi (282.71/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
30240, 30241, 30261
Area code706
FIPS code13-44340[2]
GNIS feature ID0316522[3]
WebsiteLaGrange-GA.org

LaGrange is a city in and the county seat of Troup County, Georgia, United States. The population of the city was estimated to be 30,858 in 2020 by the U.S. Census Bureau.[4][5] It is the principal city of the LaGrange, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) combined statistical area. It is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Atlanta and located in the foothills of the Georgia Piedmont.[6]

LaGrange is home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in the state. Started as a girls' academy, it has been affiliated since the late 19th century with the Methodist Church, and what is now the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The city's proximity to West Point Lake, a few miles to the west, helps attract bass fishermen and water sports enthusiasts to the city.[7]

The Troup County Courthouse, Annex, and Jail, built in 1939, is one of LaGrange's properties that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

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Troup County Government Center in LaGrange
Built in 1939, the old Troup County Courthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places (HRHP)
Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill's LaGrange home, Bellevue, was built in 1854–55; it is listed on the HRHP and is a designated National Historic Landmark.

LaGrange is named after the country estate near Paris of the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette. When La Fayette, a Revolutionary War hero, visited Georgia in 1825 on a national tour, he remarked on the similarity of local topography to his wife's property.[6]

The European-American settlement of LaGrange began in the early 19th century, soon after the territory was ceded to the United States by the Creek Indians and the territorial legislature established Troup County. The city was incorporated in December 1828.[6] The area was developed for cotton plantations, and planters migrating from the eastern areas of the South brought along or bought enslaved African Americans in the domestic slave trade to use as laborers.

By 1860 Troup County had become the fourth-wealthiest county in Georgia, based on cotton as a commodity crop. It was the fifth-largest slaveholding county in the state.[6] As the county seat, LaGrange was a center of trade for this prosperous area, and wealthy planters built more than 100 significant homes in the city.

During the American Civil War, LaGrange was defended by a volunteer women's auxiliary group known as the Nancy Harts or Nancy Hart Rifles, named after Nancy Hart. After defeating the Confederates in nearby West Point, Georgia, Colonel Oscar H. La Grange led his Union troops to the county seat of LaGrange. He placed Confederate prisoners near the front of the column. The Nancy Harts negotiated a surrender with the colonel.

Although local assets were burned and looted by Union troops, Colonel La Grange spared the private homes of LaGrange, including Bellevue, the home of former US Senator and then Confederate senator Benjamin Harvey Hill, a slave owner. La Grange may have been returning positive treatment which he had earlier received while in captivity. He had been given medical care by Confederates and was attended by a niece of Senator Hill. After recovery, Col. La Grange was exchanged for a Confederate prisoner, and he returned to battle duty.

To show their gratitude for his sparing their homes, one of the Nancy Harts hosted a dinner for Col. La Grange. He paroled some local prisoners so they could attend. Many women of the town cooked all night to provide the meal. The next morning the Federal troops marched out, taking various men of the town as prisoners of war. They were soon released, when it was learned that General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox.

19th century

In the late 19th century, LaGrange developed as a railroad center and as an industrial center. Textile mills were developed here and elsewhere in the upland region. Initially they employed only white workers. They increased in regional, state and national economic importance into the mid-20th century.

20th century to present

Gradually in the late 20th century, much textile manufacturing moved offshore, out of the United States.

The city has transitioned to a mixed economy with some new industries. Interstates 85 and 185 pass through LaGrange, which is a transportation hub in the area. The city has industrial and commercial access, and a Wal-Mart Distribution Center was developed here.

Interface, the world's leading manufacturer of carpet tile,[8] was founded in LaGrange in 1973. It has its largest manufacturing center here. LaGrange is also the North American headquarters for Caterpillar's forestry division.

The city of LaGrange is a full-service utility provider for the region, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, refuse collection, and telecommunication. In 2000 the city was named "Intelligent Community of the Year" by the Intelligent Community Forum, joining other cities such as New York, Singapore, Seoul, Glasgow and Toronto.[9] Since 2000 the city has provided free Internet service to every household. It also has been ranked as a Georgia City of Excellence, and received a Government Technology Leadership Award.[6]

LaGrange was in the news in late January 2017 for the public apology of its police chief and mayor for the city's failure in 1940 to protect Austin Callaway, a 16-year-old African-American resident, from being lynched.[10] The police did not report nor investigate his murder very thoroughly.[10][11]

On November 8, 2021, it was announced that Upstate New York-based firearms manufacturer, Remington Arms, would be moving their global headquarters from Ilion, New York to La Grange, and would be hiring 865 people over the span of five years. Construction is expected to cost $100 million.[12]

The southern half of the city was heavily damaged by an EF2 tornado on January 12, 2023. The tornado injured four people along its path as well.[13]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has an area of 112.8 mi (181.5 km), of which 111.4 mi (179.3 km) is land and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18501,523
18702,053
18802,29511.8%
18903,09034.6%
19004,27438.3%
19105,58730.7%
192017,038205.0%
193020,13118.2%
194021,9839.2%
195025,02513.8%
196023,632−5.6%
197023,301−1.4%
198024,2043.9%
199025,5975.8%
200025,9981.6%
201029,58813.8%
202030,8584.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
LaGrange racial composition as of 2020[15]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 11,040 35.78%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 15,655 50.73%
Native American 49 0.16%
Asian 1,188 3.85%
Pacific Islander 15 0.05%
Other/mixed 1,043 3.38%
Hispanic or Latino 1,868 6.05%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 30,858 people, 11,246 households, and 6,862 families residing in the city.

Government

LaGrange City Hall

LaGrange is governed by a mayor and six-person city council. The mayor is elected citywide (at-large). Three council members are elected to one post each from each of two council districts, designated as 1a, 1b, and 1c from the first district, with similar naming for posts in the second district.[16] Candidates must declare for a post in one of the districts at the time of their filing, and must win a majority to be elected. This system was established for the first municipal election in 2011.[17] (This was in compliance with a consent decree and court order settling litigation since 1982 under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.)

Previously a smaller number of city council members were elected at-large; as each candidate had to command a majority of electors, the minority seldom could elect a candidate of their choice. The Department of Justice recorded objections to the city of LaGrange changes to election methods in October 1993 and December 1994. The 1993 objection related to the use of two at-large seats in a mixed city council plan with four single-member districts; the 1994 objection related to the use of one at-large seat in a mixed city council plan with two "super-districts" and four single-member districts.[18] From 1997, more city council seats were established in LaGrange. Municipal elections are held in odd-numbered years.[16]

Willie T Edmondson was elected Mayor on March 21, 2023. He is the first African-American elected to this position for the city of LaGrange.[19] The mayor and all council members are elected for four-year terms on a nonpartisan basis. The city council hires a full-time city manager, who oversees daily operations of city departments.

In January 2017, Police Chief Louis M. Dekmar apologized publicly for his department's failure in 1940 to protect a 16-year-old black youth, who was lynched.[20]

Education

LaGrange College is the oldest private college in Georgia
LaGrange Memorial Library[21]

Troup County School District

The Troup County School System holds pre-school to grade 12, and consists of 11 elementary schools, three middle schools (Callaway Middle School, Gardner Newman Middle School, and Long Cane Middle School), and three high schools (Callaway High School, LaGrange High School, and Troup County Comprehensive High School. The county is divided into three school zones. The county school system serves Hogansville, LaGrange and West Point. It is home to over 20 new and recently renovated schools.

Private education

Higher education

Infrastructure

Thomas W. Sheffield Terminal at LaGrange Callaway Airport

Transportation

Highways in LaGrange include Interstate 85, Interstate 185, U.S. Route 27, U.S. Route 29, Georgia State Route 219, and Georgia State Route 109.

LaGrange-Callaway Airport is southwest of the city.

Notable people

Sister cities

Sister cities include:[25]

See also

References

  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  5. ^ US 2020 Census Bureau report, LaGrange city, Georgia
  6. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Forrest Clark. "La Grange". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and University of Georgia Press. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "West Point Lake, GA". www.recreation.gov. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
  8. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934: For the Fiscal Year Ended December 30, 2018". Interface Global. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)". Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Emanuella Grinberg (January 27, 2017). "'Justice failed Austin Callaway': Town attempts to atone for 1940 lynching". CNN.
  11. ^ "Nightly News Full Broadcast (January 27th)". NBC News.
  12. ^ WKTV (November 8, 2021). "'Remington moving global headquarters to Georgia'". WKTV.
  13. ^ "January 12, 2023 Tornado Outbreak". www.weather.gov. National Weather Service Peachtree City GA. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  16. ^ a b "City Council", city of LaGrange, GA
  17. ^ "CHARTER Chapter 6 - ELECTIONS", LaGrange, GA Code of Ordinances, 2016
  18. ^ Robert Kengle, VOTING RIGHTS IN GEORGIA 1982-2006 / A REPORT OF RENEWTHEVRA.ORG, March 2006, Footnote 26, p.8
  19. ^ "Official Website of the City of LaGrange".
  20. ^ "Nearly 8 Decades Later, an Apology for a Lynching in Georgia", New York Times, 27 January 2017; accessed 27 January 2017
  21. ^ "Index of /". www.thclibrary.net.
  22. ^ LaGrange Academy
  23. ^ Gary N. Mock, "Fuller E. Callaway, LaGrange, GA," Archived 2011-08-22 at the Wayback Machine textilehistory.org/, 2009.
  24. ^ Birchmeier, Jason (2006). "Bubba Sparxxx > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2021-08-21
  25. ^ LaGrange's Sister City Program, Retrieved June 26, 2010.