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Echols County



Courthouse
County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

LocationStatenville
Date Built1956
Architecture StyleModern
DesignerW. Conner Thomson
Seat InformationThe 1858 act creating Echols County named Harris Tomlinson, Guilford Register, and William B. Cruise as commissioners with authority to select the site and purchase land for location of the county seat. The legislation further provided that voters of the county assemble at the town of Troublesome on the first Monday in April 1859 and elect county officials. If, by the time of the election, the commissioners had not selected a county seat, the newly elected justices of the inferior court would be empowered to select the county seat. In 1859, either the commissioners or the inferior court designated Statenville as county seat. The settlement had been named for the community's first store owner, Capt. James Staten. [Click here for more information on James Staten] The General Assembly incorporated Statenville by an act of Dec. 13, 1859 (Ga. Laws 1859, p. 200). (Unfortunately, the act incorrectly identified the new town as "Statesville" rather than "Statenville" -- a mistake that has never been corrected. Nevertheless, highway maps and local residents identify the town as "Statenville.") In 1958, the General Assembly approved a local act redrawing the boundaries of Statenville. According to the legislation, the town's new boundaries consisted of the Echols County courthouse square -- meaning that the city had no official population. In 1965, the legislature approved a local act giving Statenville a new city charter (and one that spelled its name correctly). The legislation required approval in a referendum, but Statenville voters turned down the new charter. By the early 1990s, Statenville was one of over 100 official towns that provided few if any services to their citizens. Some of these towns had long been inactive-- but legally they retained the status of an incorporated municipality. In an effort to deal with this problem, the General Assembly enacted legislation mandating that any incorporated city in Georgia must provide its citizens with at least three municipal services or lose its charter (O.C.G.A. sec. 36-30-7.1). Though given a grace period to comply, over 100 small or inactive towns -- including Statenville -- lost their municipal charters on July 1, 1995. At that point, they became unincorporated communities under the jurisdiction of their county governments. Today, Echols, Columbia, and Crawford are the only Georgia counties with an unincorporated community serving as county seat.
Courthouse DetailsThe 1858 act creating Echols County provided for election of county officials on the first Monday of April 1859. At that time, the newly elected justices of the inferior court were empowered to provide for erection of a courthouse and other public buildings. In 1859, Echols County's first courthouse -- a frame building -- was constructed in Statenville. Sometime in the 1870s, a two-story wooden courthouse was completed, though it burned in 1897. The county courts used the Masonic Hall or rented meeting rooms until a new two-story structure was completed in 1899. The current courthouse was completed and occupied in 1956.
County Data
Population4034
Population 20003754
Population Growth7.5
County SeatStatenville
County Area420.8 Square Miles
Location MapEchols County Location Map
History

Echols County was created from Clinch and Lowndes counties on Dec. 13, 1858 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1858, p. 37). Georgia’s 132nd county was named for Brig. Gen. Robert Echols (1798-1847), a Georgian who died during the Mexican War. Prior to the war, Echols had represented Walton County in the Georgia House of Representatives (1824-1829) and in the Georgia Senate (1830-1844), including six years as president of that body (1835-37, 1839, and 1841-42). [Click here for more information on Robert Echols]

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Historical Population
YearPopulation
2010 4,034
2000 3,754
1990 2,334
1980 2,297
1970 1,924
1960 1,876
1950 2,494
1940 2,964
1930 2,744
1920 3,313
1910 3,309
1900 3,209
1890 3,079
1880 2,553
1870 1,978
1860 1,491