The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Augusta (Georgia)
AUGUSTA, a city of Georgia, capital of Richmond county, at the head of navigation on the Savannah river, 132 m. by railroad N. N. W. of the city of Savannah, and 137 m. N. W. of Charleston, S. C.; pop. in 1860, 12,493, of whom 4,049 were colored; in 1870, 15,386, of whom 6,390 were colored. It was laid out in 1735, and became an important point in military operations during the revolutionary war, being alternately in the possession of the royal troops and the Americans. The city was incorporated in 1798, and the chief magistrate bore the appellation of intendant until 1818, when the first mayor was elected. The city is very handsomely laid out on an extended plain on the W. bank of the Savannah river, with wide streets crossing each other at right angles. The principal business thoroughfare, Broad street, is 2 m. long and 165 ft. wide. Greene street, the most beautiful in the city, is 168 ft. wide, and has a row of stately shade trees on either side along its entire length. The principal buildings are the city hall, masonic hall, odd fellows' hall, and the opera house. The city hall was completed in 1824 at a cost of $100,000. In front of it stands a granite monument 45 ft. high, erected by the city in 1849 to the memory of Hall, Gwinnett, and Walton, signers of the Declaration of Independence. An orphan asylum, 178 ft. by 78, is building at a cost of $150,000. The medical college of Georgia, situated here, in 1868 had 8 professors, 97 students, and a library of 4,000 volumes. The city water works were completed at a heavy cost in 1861. The water is drawn from the canal and forced into a tank holding 185,000 gallons in a cylindrical brick tower standing 115 ft. above the general level of the city. The Augusta canal, 9 m. long, brings the waters of the Savannah river near the city, some 40 ft. above the level, and thus affords inexhaustible power for factories. Chief among these is the “Augusta Factory,” with 508 looms, employing 500 hands and producing in 1871 8,527,728 yards of cloth. There are 5 extensive flouring mills, which in 1871 consumed about 409,000 bushels of corn and wheat. In 1871 the city contained 6 banks, 4 founderies (besides the extensive foundery and machine shops of the Georgia railroad), 2 tobacco factories, 4 hotels, 21 churches (8 of which are for colored people), 2 academies, an arsenal, several hospitals, and many benevolent societies. There were 700 white and 500 colored pupils enrolled in the public schools. There are 2 daily newspapers, 2 weekly, 1 semi-monthly, and 1 monthly published here. In 1869 the assessed value of real estate, exclusive of the Augusta factory property, was $6,300,000, and in 1871, $6,593,420. For the year ending April 1, 1869, the sales of cotton amounted to $8,246,867, and for the year ending April 1, 1871, $11,575,846. The bonded debt of the city on Jan. 1, 1871, was $1,355,250, while the assets amounted to $1,302,610. Augusta has railroad communication with all the leading markets of the country. The Central railroad extends from Augusta to Savannah and Macon; the Charlotte, Columbia, and Augusta, from Augusta to Charlotte, N. C., via Columbia, S. C., being an important link in the great short passenger route between New York and New Orleans; the main line of the Georgia railroad extends from Augusta to Atlanta, with branches to Washington, Warrenton, and Athens. The Macon and Augusta railroad affords connection with the former city, and the South Carolina railroad connects Augusta with Charleston, Columbia, and Camden, and with the Wilmington and Manchester railroad at Kingville. Several other railroads are projected, the most important of which is the Port Royal railroad to Port Royal, S. C., a distance of 110 m., which will give Augusta a shorter route to the seaboard.—The arsenal at Augusta was seized by the confederate authorities Jan. 24, 1861.