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Bacon County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1919
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival
DesignerJ.J. Baldwin
Seat InformationThe proposed constitutional amendment creating Bacon County designated Alma as county seat. Alma was first settled around 1900 following the building of a train station on a new east-to-west branch railroad that was built through southern Appling County and northern Pierce County to allow rail access to Brunswick and Savannah without having to go through Waycross. Within a few years, though the exact date is not known, community leaders applied to the Appling County superior court and received a charter of incorporation as the town of Alma. Apparently, there were legal questions about this approach to municipal incorporation, so legislation subsequently was introduced in the Georgia General Assembly to re-incorporate Alma with a legislative, rather than judicial, charter. On Aug. 21, 1906, that act was approved. As to the origin of the name of the town, Kenneth Krakow records that while local residents were searching for a name for their new community, a visiting salesman from Macon suggested the first name of his wife, Alma Sheridan. An alternative -- though less credible -- explanation was offered by Bernice McCullar. In her 1972 volume This Is Your Georgia, she wrote that Alma was a coined word created from the first letter of the last four state capitals of Georgia -- Augusta, Louisville, Milledgeville, and Atlanta. If, however, the town name was meant to be an acronym of Georgia capital cities, why was Savannah -- the state's first capital -- excluded? McCullar offered no explanation, and it may be that this was but one of the many anecdotal and undocumented accounts in her popularized account of Georgia history.
Courthouse DetailsIt is not known what served as Bacon County courthouse for the four years after its creation in 1914. In any event, a two-story brick courthouse was completed in 1919 and still serves today.
County Data
Population 200010,103
Population Growth9.8
County SeatAlma
County Area285.9 Square Miles
Location MapBacon County Location Map

On July 27, 1914, the General Assembly proposed a constitutional amendment to create a new county primarily from Appling County, with smaller portions of land taken from Pierce and Ware counties (Ga. Laws 1914, p. 23). In that year’s general election, Georgia voters ratified the proposed amendment on Nov. 3, 1914, which marks the date of Bacon County’s creation (although a state historical marker on the courthouse square incorrectly cites the county’s creation on the day the legislative act proposing the constitutional amendment was approved). Georgia’s 151st county was named for U.S. Senator Augustus Octavius Bacon, who had died in February 1914. 

Why was Bacon 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 (see text) that no new country could be created except through consolidation of existing counties. 

As an interesting note, Bacon is one of 25 Georgia counties that still have their original boundaries provided at the time of creation.

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganThe Alma Times
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
2010 11,096
2000 10,103
1990 9,566
1980 9,379
1970 8,233
1960 8,359
1950 8,940
1940 8,096
1930 7,055
1920 6,460