Augusta, Georgia
Augusta–Richmond County
Downtown Augusta on Broad Street
Augusta National Golf Club
Riverwalk Augusta on the Savannah River
The University Hall at Augusta University
Sacred Heart Cultural Center
The Augusta Canal with the Enterprise Mill in the background
Old Government House
Official logo of Augusta, Georgia
Nickname(s): 
"The Garden City"
Motto(s): 
Location within Richmond County
Location within Richmond County
Coordinates: 33°28′N 81°58′W / 33.467°N 81.967°W / 33.467; -81.967
CountryUnited States
StateGeorgia
CountiesRichmond , Columbia
Established1736[1]
City-county consolidation1996[1]
Government
 • MayorHardie Davis (D)
Area
 • Consolidated city-county306.5 sq mi (793 km2)
 • Land302.1 sq mi (782 km2)
 • Water4.3 sq mi (11.3 km2)
 • Urban
259.52 sq mi (672.2 km2)
Elevation136 ft (45 m)
Population
 • Consolidated city-county195,844
 • Estimate 
(2018)[4]
196,939
 • RankUS: 122nd
 • Density654.2/sq mi (252.6/km2)
 • Urban
386,787 (US: 98th)
 • Urban density1,490.4/sq mi (575.4/km2)
 • Metro
600,151 (US: 93rd)
 • CSRA
709,433
 • Change 2011–2014
Increase3.32%
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
30901, 30904, 30906, 30907, 30909, 30912,[5] 30815
Area code(s)706, 762[6][7]
WebsiteAugustaGA.gov

Augusta (/əˈɡʌstə/), officially Augusta–Richmond County, is a consolidated city-county on the central eastern border of the U.S. state of Georgia. The city lies across the Savannah River from South Carolina at the head of its navigable portion. Georgia's second-largest city after Atlanta, Augusta is located in the Fall Line section of the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Augusta–Richmond County had a 2017 estimated population of 197,166, not counting the unconsolidated cities of Blythe and Hephzibah.[3] It is the 123rd largest city in the United States. The process of consolidation between the City of Augusta and Richmond County began with a 1995 referendum in the two jurisdictions. The merger was completed on July 1, 1996. Augusta is the principal city of the Augusta metropolitan area. In 2017 it had an estimated population of 600,151, making it the second-largest metro area in the state. It is the 93rd largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Augusta was established in 1736 and is named for Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719–1772), the bride of Frederick, Prince of Wales and the mother of the British monarch George III.[1] During the American Civil War, Augusta housed the principal Confederate powder works.[8] Augusta's warm climate made it a major resort town of the Eastern United States in the early and mid-20th century. Internationally, Augusta is best known for hosting The Masters golf tournament each spring. The Masters brings over 200,000 visitors from across the world to the Augusta National Golf Club. Membership at Augusta National is widely considered to be the most exclusive in the sport of golf across the world.

Augusta lies approximately two hours east of downtown Atlanta by car via I-20. The city is home to Fort Gordon, a major U.S. Army base. In 2016, it was announced that the new National Cyber Security Headquarters would be based in Augusta, bringing as many as 10,000 cyber security specialists to the Fort Gordon area.

History

The area along the river was long inhabited by varying cultures of indigenous peoples, who relied on the river for fish, water and transportation. The site of Augusta was used by Native Americans as a place to cross the Savannah River, because of its location on the fall line.

In 1735, two years after James Oglethorpe founded Savannah, he sent a detachment of troops to explore the upper Savannah River. He gave them an order to build a fort at the head of the navigable part of the river. The expedition was led by Noble Jones, who created a settlement as a first line of defense for coastal areas against potential Spanish or French invasion from the interior.[9] Oglethorpe named the town in honor of Princess Augusta, the mother of King George III and the wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Oglethorpe visited Augusta in September 1739 on his return to Savannah from a perilous visit to Coweta Town, near present-day Phenix City, Alabama.[10] There, he had met with a convention of 7,000 Native American warriors and concluded a peace treaty with them in their territories in northern and western Georgia.[11] Augusta was the second state capital of Georgia from 1785 until 1795 (alternating for a period with Savannah, the first).

Augusta developed rapidly as a market town as the Black Belt in the Piedmont was developed for cotton cultivation. Invention of the cotton gin made processing of short-staple cotton profitable, and this type of cotton was well-suited to the upland areas. Cotton plantations were worked by slave labor, with hundreds of thousands of slaves shipped from the Upper South to the Deep South in the domestic slave trade. Many of the slaves were brought from the Lowcountry, where their Gullah culture had developed on the large Sea Island cotton and rice plantations.

The city experienced the Augusta Fire of 1916, which damaged 25 blocks of the town and many buildings of historical significance.

As a major city in the area, Augusta was a center of activities during Reconstruction and after. In the mid-20th century, it was a site of civil rights demonstrations. In 1970 Charles Oatman, a mentally disabled teenager, was killed by his cellmates in an Augusta jail. A protest against his death broke out in a riot involving 500 people, after six black men were killed by police,[12] each found to have been shot in the back.[13] The noted singer and entertainer James Brown was called in to help quell lingering tensions, which he succeeded in doing.[12]

Geography

The Augusta skyline, as seen from North Augusta, South Carolina

Augusta is located near the Georgia/South Carolina border, about 150 miles (240 km) east of Atlanta and 70 miles (110 km) west of Columbia. The city is located at 33°28′12″N 81°58′30″W / 33.47000°N 81.97500°W / 33.47000; -81.97500 (33.470, −81.975).[14]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Augusta–Richmond County balance has a total area of 306.5 square miles (793.8 km2), of which 302.1 square miles (782.4 km2) is land and 4.3 square miles (11.1 km2) (1.42%) is water.

Savannah River and the Augusta Canal, with River Watch Parkway and residential areas in foreground

Augusta is located about halfway up the Savannah River on the fall line, which creates a number of small falls on the river. The city marks the end of a navigable waterway for the river and the entry to the Georgia Piedmont area.

The Clarks Hill Dam is built on the fall line near Augusta, forming Clarks Hill Lake. Farther downstream, near the border of Columbia County, is the Stevens Creek Dam, which generates hydroelectric power. Even farther downstream is the Augusta Diversion Dam, which marks the beginning of the Augusta Canal and channels Savannah River waters into the canal.[15]

Climate

As with the rest of the state, Augusta has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with short, mild winters, very hot, humid summers, and a wide diurnal temperature variation throughout much of the year, despite its low elevation and moisture. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 45.4 °F (7.4 °C) in January to 81.6 °F (27.6 °C) in July; there are 53 nights with the low reaching the freezing mark, 82 days reaching or exceeding 90 °F (32 °C), and 5.5 days reaching 100 °F (38 °C) annually. Extreme temperatures range from −1 °F (−18 °C) on January 21, 1985 up to 108 °F (42 °C) on August 10, 2007 and August 21, 1983. Snowfall is not nearly as common as in Atlanta, due largely to Augusta's elevation, with downtown Augusta being about 900 ft (270 m) lower than downtown Atlanta. Freezing rain is also a threat in wintertime.

Historic districts

Augusta Downtown Historic District is a historic district that encompasses most of downtown Augusta and its pre-Civil War area. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.[19]

Augusta also includes the: