May 6, 2004
Thomasville-- Thomas County was formed in 1825 from parts of Irwin and Decatur Counties, and is named for Major General Jett Thomas, a member of the State Militia during the war of 1812.
The county seat, Thomasville, is one of the most picturesque towns in South Georgia, and it was one of the first to become a designated Main Street town. Since 1982, $45 million has been reinvested in downtown improvements. It's evident in the beautiful bricked street, the quaint shops and eateries, and the successful business.
And this lovely downtown takes on a Victorian air every Christmas. Thousands of people walk the streets or ride in horse drawn carriages during the annual Victorian Christmas celebration.
"Its just a wonderful evening," says Main Street Executive Director Sharlene Celaya. "It's a great time to be out and be celebrating Christmas." This December, the city will hold its 18th annual Victorian Christmas.
Thomasville is the home of Flowers Foods, one of the largest bakery foods companies in the United States. Founded in 1919, Flowers Foods produces fresh breads, rolls, and snack cakes and frozen breads and rolls and enjoys more than $1.4 billion in annual sales. Flowers operates 26 bakeries in 17 states.
And not to be outdone in this day of healthy eating, Flower's has come up with a health-conscious Wheat 'n Soy bread, It has 4.3 grams of soy protein per slice and only seven grams of carbs per slice.
Thomasville is also the home of Archbold Hospital. Since it opened in 1925, it has grown tremendously. Archbold has this area's only certified trauma center, which was upgraded two years ago to a Level Two trauma center. Only 12 hospitals operate designated trauma centers in Georgia,and Archbold is the only one in south Georgia. And Archbold has been named by U.S. News & World Report one of America's Best Hospitals.
Plantations are plentiful, but they aren't the only mark northerners left on Thomas County. Other northern visitors built winter cottages in the downtown area, many of which have been restored. The Lapham-Patterson House, a Victorian house museum now open to the public. It was built in 1885 as a winter residence of Charles W. Lapham of Chicago. It has an unusual architectural styles with no square rooms or right angles.
Another Thomasville landmark is the Big Oak tree on Crawford Street. This majestic live oak is 68 feet tall, has a limb spread of 162 feet, and a trunk circumference of 24 feet. And President Dwight Eisenhower, who visited plantations here, was so impressed with this tree that he photographed it.
Thomasville is, of course, synonymous with roses. This is the Rose City and every spring, the town comes alive with the annual Rose Festival.
The City plants and maintains more than seven thousand roses, and that's in addition to the roses grown by the people who live here. The annual festival attracts growers from all over the world who display their prize roses for a panel judges.
It was just two weeks ago that the city enjoyed it's 83rd annual Rose Festival.
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