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Lamar County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1931
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival
DesignerEugene C. Wachendorff
Seat InformationThe 1920 constitutional amendment creating Lamar County provided that Barnesville serve as county seat. Barnesville began in 1820 as a stagecoach stop in what was then Monroe County on the old Alabama Road running from Macon westward. It was named for Gideon Barnes, who operated a stage line and owned a tavern here. In 1822, Barnesville was included in the portion of Monroe County used to create Pike County. The legislature incorporated Barnesville by an act of Feb. 20, 1854 (Ga. Laws 1853-54, p. 211).
Courthouse DetailsFor the first decade after its creation, Lamar County did not have a courthouse. Rather, county officials rented office space in Barnesville, while the local Masonic Hall was used for court sessions. A new courthouse was constructed in 1931, and this building is still in use. In 1986, the courthouse windows were altered.
County Data
Population 200015,912
Population Growth15.1
County SeatBarnesville
County Area185.5 Square Miles
Location MapLamar County Location Map

On Aug. 17, 1920, the General Assembly proposed a constitutional amendment to create Lamar County from Monroe and Pike counties (Ga. Laws 1920, p. 45). In that year’s general election, Georgia voters ratified the proposed amendment on Nov. 2, 1920, which marks the date of Lamar County’s creation (although a state historical marker on the courthouse grounds incorrectly cites the county’s creation as the day the legislative act proposing the constitutional amendment was approved).

According to the 1920 constitutional amendment, Lamar County’s boundaries were defined as:

  Beginning at the northwest corner of land lot 185 adjoining Spalding and Pike County line in the 2nd District of Pike County and running along land lot lines southward to northwest corner of land lot 75 in the 8th District, Pike County, Georgia; thence west along land lot line between land lots 86 and 87 to the northwest corner of land lot 86; thence south along line between land lots 86 and 107 to northwest corner of land lot 85; thence west along lines between land lots 107 and 108 to northwest corner land lot 108; thence south along land lot line to Upson County lines at southwest corner land lot 112 in 8th District, Pike County, Georgia; thence east along land lot lines between Pike and Upson to Pike and Monroe County lines at southeast corner land lot 113 in Pike County, Georgia; thence south along line between Upson and Monroe County to southwest corner of land lot 130 in 11th land District of Monroe County; thence east along land lot line to southeast corner of land lot 28 in 11th District, Monroe County, and thence north along land lot line to northeast corner land lot 29; thence east along land lot lines to south corner of land lot 8, Monroe County, Georgia, 11th District, and thence north along lines between land districts 11 and 12, 7 and 6 and 3 and 4 to Butts County line at northeast corner of land lot 247 in 3rd District of Monroe County, Georgia; thence west to northwest corner of land lot 138, Monroe County, Georgia, said land lot being in 3rd District, Monroe County; thence southward along present county lines between counties of Monroe and Spalding to present Pike County line; thence west along county line between counties of Spalding and Pike to beginning point, on northwest corner of lot of land 185 in the 2nd District of Pike County, Georgia, the present county lines between Monroe and Butts, Monroe and Spalding, Pike and Spalding being the northern boundary line of the proposed County of Lamar.

Why was Lamar County created by constitutional amendment instead of an act of the General Assembly? In 1904, Georgia voters had approved a constitutional amendment limiting the number of counties in the state to 145. The next year, the General Assembly created eight new counties, bringing the total number to 145—the constitutional limit. Nevertheless, there was continuing pressure to create more counties. Beginning in 1906, lawmakers got around the 145-county limitation by creating new counties through constitutional amendments that were not subject to the limitation. By 1924, Georgia had 161 counties—16 of which had been created by constitutional amendment. On Jan. 1, 1932, Milton and Campbell counties merged with Fulton, leaving 159 counties. In 1945, Georgia voters ratified a new constitution—one which provided an absolute limit of 159 counties, with an additional provision that no new country could be created except through consolidation of existing counties.

Lamar County was named for Georgia-born Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-1893). Lamar had served as a U.S. Representative and Senator from Mississippi, and as U.S. Secretary of Interior under Pres. Grover Cleveland. At the time of his death in Vineville, Ga., Lamar was serving as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Legal OrganThe Herald-Gazette
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Historical Population
2010 18,317
2000 15,912
1990 13,038
1980 12,215
1970 10,688
1960 10,240
1950 10,242
1940 10,091
1930 9,745