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Georgia’s past comes alive in a pivotal small town

Once considered the political and social center of Georgia, Milledgeville is rich in the storied history of the Antebellum South. Today, its quaint downtown, proximity to the Oconee River and historic roots draw a steady stream of visitors attracted by the weather, year-round activities and classic Southern charm.

Sherman’s March and More

From the earliest days, the Oconee River has been an important source of water power for Milledgeville. In 1892, a grist mill was built on the shoal of the river. In the early 1900s, the mill was converted to a hydro-electric plant, becoming the first source of electricity for the Milledgeville area. Portions of the dam and mill structure are still visible in the river just north of the bridge.

Milledgeville was established on land that had been owned by the Native American Creek, who ceded a portion of their territory through the Treaty of Fort Wilkinson in 1802. Milledgeville’s history as the former capital of Georgia is marked by many significant events.

The Old Capitol is the site where the Georgia Legislature passed the Ordinance of Secession in 1861. The historic vote created “The Republic of Georgia,” officially marking Georgia’s entry into the Confederate States of America. In the ensuing years of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman marched through Milledgeville with some 30,000 Union troops. The Union Army took over the Governor’s Mansion and left most of the town intact.

During Reconstruction, Georgia’s capital was moved to Atlanta, signaling a new era of the state. Since 1879, the Old Capitol has been home to Georgia Military College. The iconic building is considered to be the first example in the United States of Gothic architecture used to create a public facility.


Stephen Matthew Milligan

Make sure you visit Andalusia Farms, the home of writer Flannery O’Connor. Tour her house and walk the grounds, which helped inspire the author to pen some of American literature’s most classic novels and short stories.

Rolling on the River

The Oconee River Greenway Park and Riverwalk showcases Milledgeville at its best. It offers boardwalks for locals and visitors alike to walk, jog, bicycle or relax by enjoying the calming sounds and beautiful scenery of the Oconee River.

Lake Sinclair is sprawled over 15,000-plus acres and boasts 500 miles of shoreline. That adds up to plenty of room for fishing, skiing, swimming, boating, camping and other recreational pursuits. Milledgeville’s great climate cooperates with plans for the perfect lakeside picnic or beach outing.



Some say the best way to see downtown is on wheels. Downtown Milledgeville offers visitors a mix of quaint shops, historic mansions and museums, all of which can be seen from aboard a trolley. A trolley ride along the Antebellum Trail meanders through neighborhoods with grand old homes surrounded by signature oak trees. Be sure to keep an eye out for those famous Southern porches, complete with their requisite rocking chairs. The guided trolley tour includes excursions allowing riders to visit such historic sites as St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Rose Hill, the Brown/Stetson/Sanford House and the Old State Capitol.

The Old Capitol Building is not only home to Georgia Military College, but it also houses the Old Capital Museum. The museum is a showcase for Milledgeville’s Civil War history and its Native American roots.

Stop by the Georgia College State University Natural History Museum to see fossils found in Georgia as well as from around the world. For a combined celebration of history with an added vibrancy of art, visit galleries such as Blackbridge Hall or the John Marlor Arts Center.

If shopping for antiques is a favorite pastime, head to downtown Milledgeville to find numerous antique shops from which to choose. One unique gem is a jewelry store celebrating more than 100 years in business. For a fresh take on produce, visit the Milledgeville Marketplace Farmers’ Market. For a little bit of everything, visit downtown’s Main Street on “First Fridays.” Downtown merchants, restaurants and cultural attractions all pitch in to kick off the first Friday of the month (check times and schedules) with family-friendly fun. In fact, Milledgeville is host to a number of events, including a charity bass fishing tournament, concerts, film festivals, art exhibits and more. Up and coming Georgia musicians hone their craft at local pubs and other hot spots.

Where to Dine

From “down home” barbeque to Japanese bento boxes, Milledgeville has a surprising mix of dining choices. Locals say to follow your nose toward the aromas of savory pizza fresh from the oven and let your unquenched thirst lead you to locally brewed craft beers. There are restaurants specializing in every cuisine, ranging from traditional Southern to authentic Italian. Of course, be sure to save room for decadent treats waiting to entice at the local ice cream parlor.

Biking Through the South

Explore the southern charm and beautiful scenic byways of the Antebellum Trail Bicycle Route, a 170-mile trek that connects with Milledgevile and winds through a collection of Georgia’s most beautiful antebellum centers.

In each town along the way, visitors can experience an abundance of unique history, much of it tied to the American Civil War and our country’s Native American heritage.

The town centers of Athens and Macon—the largest stops along the route—provide travelers with a wide variety of dining and shopping options.

For More Information

Milledgeville-Baldwin Convention & Visitors Bureau

800- 653-1804



Georgia Department of Economic Development