25 Peachy Facts About Georgia
There’s lot more to Georgia beyond the three P’s (peaches, pecans, and peanuts, of course). From pirates to monster pigs, here are 25 things you might not have heard about the Empire State of the South.
1. The southern state is home to the largest Hindu Temple of its kind outside of India. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta is part of a series of temples whose pieces were carved in India and shipped around the world to be assembled on site. At 75 feet tall, the structure is the city’s tallest (that city being Lilburn, which is just outside Atlanta).
2. Savannah's Pirate’s House restaurant is thought to be the oldest standing building in the state. It was frequented by real-life pirates and other seafarers during the 18th century, and is rumored to have inspired parts of Treasure Island.
3. Marshall Forest in Rome, Georgia, is the only natural forest located within U.S. city limits.
4. Reaching 4,784 feet above sea level, Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest peak. Its unusual name comes from a translation error. The original Cherokee name for the mountain was Itse’yi, which means “Green Place.” White settlers misheard the term as Untsai’yi, which is the Cherokee word for brass.
5. In Gainesville, “the Poultry Capital of the World,” it’s technically illegal to eat chicken with a fork.
6. Visitors flying into Savannah Airport should keep an eye out for two graves in the middle of Runway 10. After paving over the graves to extend the runway, the airport was courteous enough to lay a pair of headstones into the tarmac. No other known graves on earth can be found embedded in an airport runway.
7. For a brief period in 1947, three men simultaneously claimed to be the governor of Georgia. This followed the death of the actual elected governor, Eugene Talmadge, who passed away before the inauguration ceremony. The “three governor controversy” was eventually resolved by the State Supreme Court.
9. If the confederacy had won the war, Stone Mountain may have taken the place of Mount Rushmore as a beloved national icon. The massive carving depicts Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee riding horses while holding their hats over their hearts. Not only is it larger than the South Dakota monument, it’s the biggest high relief sculpture in the world.
10. The S.S. Savannah set sail from Georgia in 1819 and became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic when it landed in Liverpool 29 days later.
11. The campus of Berry College in Rome is the largest in the world. Spanning 28,000 acres, the campus is home to a wildlife sanctuary, a working mill, and a plantation home featured in the film Sweet Home Alabama.
12. Athens, Georgia, is the home of The Tree That Owns Itself. It stands in place of an actual tree that was granted legal autonomy by its owner in the early 19th century. When the original was toppled by a thunderstorm in 1942, locals rallied to plant a replacement.
13. In 1886, Coca-Cola was sold for the first time at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta for five cents a glass.
14. Covering 700 square miles, Okefenokee Swamp is the largest in North America (the name is also really fun to say).
15. In 2004, photos spread of a monstrous wild hog that was shot and killed on a Georgia hunting reserve. The beast, dubbed “Hogzilla,” was initially rumored to stretch 12 feet long and weigh half a ton. Experts eventually confirmed its existence, but determined that the specimen was actually less than 8 feet long and weighed 800 pounds.
17. Georgia founder James Ogelthorpe initially envisioned the colony as a refuge for the indebted prisoners of London.
18. In 1943, Georgia became the first state to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.
20. Outside of former peanut farmer Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, Georgia, resides a 13-foot-tall peanut statue that bears his toothy grin.
21. Founded as the “Georgia Female College” in 1836, Wesleyan is the oldest women’s college in the world.
22. "Statesboro Blues," made popular by the Allman Brothers and Taj Mahal, is a cover of Blues legend "Blind Willie" McTell's 1928 tune. Although McTell—who could read and write music in Braille—was born in Thomson, Georgia, he referred to Statesboro, in Bulloch County, as "my real home."
23. Decatur, Georgia, is the site of the very first Waffle House. Today the restaurant acts as the Waffle House Museum featuring memorabilia from the chain’s 60 year history.
24. Punxsutawney has Phil, and Atlanta has General Beauregard Lee. Every Groundhog Day locals tune in to see Beau’s weather forecast for the year. He spends the rest of his days residing in his groundhog-sized white, columned mansion dubbed “Weathering Heights.”
25. Atlanta’s 68 streets with “Peachtree” in the name outnumber actual peach trees in the city.