From its humble rural beginnings to today’s bustling small city, our history is evident everywhere. The city of Forsyth was named for the eminent statesman and the 33rd Governor of Georgia, John Forsyth. Incorporated on December 10th, 1823, by an act of the Georgia General Assembly, Forsyth serves as the county seat for Monroe County. The land for the city of Forsyth was purchased for $700 for a 202 ½ acre plot. The town was laid off into lots of 2 ½ acres each, extending within a ½ mile from the courthouse square. By 1828, the town had a population of 600 and boasted residences, business enterprises, churches, schools and many trades and professions.
Forsyth has long been a hub for transportation, beginning with the trails of the Creek Nation, stagecoach routes, the railroad in 1838, state highways and most recently, the construction of I-75 in the 1960s. No matter the era, travelers have needed a place to rest. Today, 11 hotels and one KOA campground are within the city limits. The Lancaster Hotel, pictured here, once located across from the train depot, was a grand example of a haven for weary travelers until it burned in 1910. Forsyth continues to preserve many residential and commercial properties on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown commercial district around the Historic Courthouse Square has 80 alone!
Forsyth’s earliest rural roots are still a prominent feature of the town despite becoming more of a suburban community in the last 50 years. It maintains its small-town charm and has countless outdoor/recreation attractions. Currently, the town has approximately 4,500 residents and great amenities. Its central location has made it convenient for some state offices and training centers, such as the Department of Corrections and the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. Forsyth has been designated Georgia’s Public Safety Capital.
The year 2023 marks the 200th year commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the city of Forsyth, commonly known as its bicentennial year. To celebrate, the Bicentennial Committee is organizing events and activities to commemorate this milestone throughout the year! A series of activities and events such as ceremonies with elected officials, a historic photo tour displayed at the Forsyth City Hall, weekly Forsyth Facts published in the Reporter and on social media, an aviation fly-over, music concerts, tethered hot air balloon rides, food trucks, games, arts & crafts, fireworks, a kids’ corner, and many other celebratory activities. You can even write your letter to the future, too!
The Bicentennial Celebration Days festival will kick off September 22nd with the Retro Music Fest, followed by two days of celebration on September 23 & 24, 2023.
Bicentennial Celebration Days will conclude with a birthday party and the interment of a time capsule near the Bicentennial Legacy Tree, containing letters to the future from community members on December 9th, 2023. The bicentennial commemoration celebrates the history of Forsyth and her people; the feeling of community and nostalgia that the celebrations inspire is beneficial to our community’s past and future and will remain long beyond 2023!
To coordinate the festivities, the Mayor and Council established the Forsyth Bicentennial Committee, composed of volunteers. The group of thirteen has been working with innumerable individuals, agencies, businesses and organizations to create events throughout 2023 to celebrate Forsyth’s rich heritage. Current members of the Forsyth Bicentennial Committee are Gilda Stanbery, Kemie Childs, Debbie Menard, Steve Reece, Regina Ivie, Rebecca Stone, Richard Dumas, Katie Rowland, Winifred Berry, Glenn Watson, Annie Evans, Lois Allen and Lloyd Strickland.
Follow us on FB and IG, or check out our website for more on what is coming up!