In February, 1794 the Georgia Legislature formed and defined Washington County. It was the ninth county formed in Georgia and is said to be the first county in the nation named for George Washington. It included all the territory from what is today Athens extending from the Ogeechee River to the Oconee River and south to Liberty County. Today, Washington County encompasses 674 square miles.
Washington County, once known as the “Kaolin Capital of the World” because of its abundance of kaolin, is located on what is known as the “fall line”. It is an important county because of its location and the quality of its people, many living in the county today being descendants of the early settlers. Washington County is centered between Atlanta and Savannah and between Macon and Augusta. Sandersville, once known as Saunders Cross Roads, is the county seat.
Not only rich in history, it can also proudly boast of many great athletes that have called Washington County home. From baseball to football to basketball, Washington County has proudly watched these young people grow and succeed in school, sports and in life.
We are Washington County, connecting history, industry and family. Washington County, a great place to grow a family, a great place to grow a business.
Sandersville, Georgia The Heart of Washington County A Day Tour of historic Sandersville
Located in the center of a region between four of Georgia’s largest cities, Sandersville is a quaint jewel of a town founded in 1796 at Native American crossroads and incorporated in 1812. Come see what we have to offer: the Brown House where Sherman spent the night on the March to the Sea, the old Sheriff’s house and jail where nine of Washington County’s sheriffs lived and worked, the T.J. Elder Center honoring a pioneering African-American educator, the Charles E. Choate architecture exhibit, the Old City Cemetery where Georgia Governor Thomas W. Hardwick is buried, and much more. Take a stroll around Sandersville’s well preserved 19th century downtown and enjoy the shops and restaurants. Come spend a day with us in the heart of Washington County!
Begin your visit at the Brown House Museum, the 1850 antebellum home that hosted in 1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman on his devastating March to the Sea. The home also features exhibits such as Washington County Pottery and a War Room featuring memorabilia from various wars, and learn about the Brown family itself. The Washington County Historical Society is headquartered here. Then you may want to take a stroll down beautiful North Harris Street to the Square for lunch. Enjoy the walk past fine homes of Sandersville on “Silk Stocking Street” that bankers, Civil War heroes, and railroad men built. Ask about the recorded tour of this street. A meal at one of our city’s restaurants will hit the spot. Be sure to shop for antiques, clothes, jewelry, and many other items at the boutiques and shops located around the Square. Find local items to purchase, for example the official State of Georgia plate collection used by our current Governor and Washington County native Nathan Deal and former President Jimmy Carter. There is also the Washington County pewter plate collection. Find copies of local author William Rawlings’ books full of intrigue, romance, and history. If you visit on a Saturday, the Farmer’s market will be in full swing with local produce and goods on the Square as well!
After lunch you will want to take a tour of the Sheriff’s House and Jail that is also home to the Historical Society’s Genealogical Research Center. The 1891 building was home to nine of Washington County’s sheriffs and their families while the criminal element was housed in the rear. You will learn about escape attempts and the tragedy of Essie English, a daughter of Sheriff Wilson Matthew English. To end your visit decide to tour the circa 1831 Old City Cemetery where many local, state, and national leaders are buried and where you can gaze upon the Brantley-Pringle Mausoleum or the rare zinc monument of Ernestine Artman Roberts. Or you may choose the T.J. Elder Community Center that memorializes the life of African-American educator Thomas Jefferson Elder. A tour of the privately owned Forest Grove Plantation which today operates as an organic farm can be arranged. Or why not tour the Charles Edward Choate Architecture Exhibit housed in the Washington County Chamber of Commerce office that features original artwork in watercolor and pen and ink by native artist Sterling Everett. There you can also learn about other Washington County historic sites like Hamburg State Park.
Operation times of the various attractions vary. To arrange a visit and general questions, please contact: Elaine Bussell Administrative Assistant Washington County Chamber of Commerce 603 South Harris Street Sandersville, Georgia 31082 478-552-3288
Mailing Address: 603 South Harris Street Sandersville, GA 31082
Physical Address: 603 South Harris Street Sandersville, GA 31082