Disappearing Georgia: Towns Becoming Lost to Urban Sprawl

WINDER, Ga. — There’s little that remains of the city of Russell. Perhaps, just a few businesses that bear Russell in their names.

Of course, the former Barrow County city has a deep history. Chartered on Dec. 18, 1902, the city was named for Richard B. Russell Sr., who served as the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1922-1938. His son, Richard B. Russell Jr. was later governor and a U.S. Senator. The Russell family would run from their house to the nearby train tracks and catch a train the Atlanta.

At the behest of the General Assembly, Russell and 186 other inactive cities throughout Georgia lost their charters. All that remains is what can be found in the history books or the archives of people’s minds.

The same could be said for any number of communities statewide. Try, Redstone in Jackson County.

Recently, the Georgia Department of Transportation said it removed 488 communities statewide from the official state map. It makes the map less cluttered, DOT said. Then, the state agency decided it might change its mind.

“It’s about history and heritage,” state Rep. Tim Bearden, R- Carrollton, told The Associated Press recently. “And if you’re going down the road and you’re trying to find an area that’s been on the map and they’re not, they make good landmarks.”

It’s an interesting issue. But, I also find these small communities that barely exist, such as Russell, to be very interesting. They’re full of history that many people probably don’t know about.

Never mind what I think. What do you think about the many disappearing small communities in Georgia? In places like Barrow and Jackson counties, which are feeling the so-called “development pressure,” these once prideful communities might be buried beneath strip shopping centers.

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About Todd DeFeo 1269 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.