Camilla invites you to drop by for a spell -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Camilla invites you to drop by for a spell

September 30, 2004

Camilla-- Welcome to Mitchell County, the fourth of five stops on the fall leg of our 50th anniversary tour. Of course, Mitchell County is home to such wonderful communities as Pelham and Sale City, but today we are in the county seat, Camilla.

Mitchell County was carved out of Baker County in 1857 and named for a great Revolutionary War leader, General Henry Mitchell. He also presided over the state senate for many years.

This city was named for the general's granddaughter, Camilla Mitchell. The railroad played an important role in Camilla's development.

The old Spirit of Camilla train engine is still on display downtown.

Mitchell County's most important industry is agriculture. It generates about $162 million a year. The county is home to the Stripling Irrigation Research Park that finds ways to improve crops while conserving water. The area's largest employer by far is the Equity Group. The poultry plant employs 2800 people.

Right across the street from the McCree House, you'll find another restored Camilla landmark. The old train depot was built in 1913. It was one of the first brick depots in Georgia. It was used through the mid 70's, but then fertilizer and chemicals stored there contaminated the area. The railroad finally cleaned that up and deeded the building to the city which led a nearly one-million dollar renovation project.

Chamber Executive Director Eric Brooks: "Being right here at Broad Street and U.S. 19, it's the first thing you see when you come into town. And it was in poor condition. Basically, we started with a brick shell. So, it serves as a gateway to the city now, and it has spurred on the other renovation here in town."

The depot reopened in 2002. It includes offices, a board room where you'll find the original ticket windows, and a beautiful banquet room that's used for community events several times a week.

 This time of year in south Georgia, you may see love bugs flying around. But in the middle of summer, gnats take over. And the folks here in Camilla came up with the brilliant idea of honoring the bug we love to hate.

Every spring for the last 18 years, the city has hosted the Gnat Days Festival. Arts and crafts vendors always set up downtown for a street festival.

 You can enjoy all kinds of entertainment, such as a street dance and broadway review. It's always one of south Georgia's most memorable festivals.

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