Butts County Courthouse in Jackson
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Samuel Butts|
|• Total||188 sq mi (490 km2)|
|• Land||184 sq mi (480 km2)|
|• Water||3.6 sq mi (9 km2) 1.9%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||128/sq mi (49/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Butts County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,655. The county seat is Jackson. The county was created on December 24, 1825.
Butts County is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Butts County has one radio station: WJGA FM 92.1 and one local newspaper, the Jackson Progress-Argus.
Butts County was formed on December 24, 1825 as the sixty-fourth county in Georgia from portions of Henry County and Monroe County. It was named by the Georgia General Assembly in honor of Samuel Butts, an officer who was killed in the Creek War in 1814. A year later, Jackson was created as the first city in the new county and became the county seat. Other towns followed, including Indian Springs (1837); Flovilla (1883); Jenkinsburg (1889); and Pepperton (1897). Indian Springs later disincorporated and Pepperton was merged with Jackson in 1966, leaving just three incorporated cities in Butts County. In recent years, Indian Springs has again become a tourist destination including many historic sites, shops, eating establishment and the famous Indian Springs Hotel as its centerpiece.
Much of Butts County and its cities were destroyed by the army of General William T. Sherman in its infamous March to the Sea during the American Civil War. Butts County struggled for decades afterwards to become economically stable again. The arrival of the first railroad train on May 5, 1882 started the resurgence and growth followed. In 1898, caught up in the post-reconstruction fervor that had infected most Georgia counties, Butts County erected a monumental courthouse as a sign of its new prosperity. This building is still in use as a courthouse to this day. The construction of the Lloyd Shoals dam in 1910 created Jackson Lake, a prime recreational lake located primarily in Butts County.
Progress milestones in Butts County include the first telephones in 1884; first waterworks in 1905; electric lights on February 19, 1907; and traffic lights in 1926.
In 2007, Butts County, along with the city of Flovilla were both designated as Georgia Signature Communities by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. This prestigious designation was given to a total of 12 communities in Georgia that year.
Butts County has gained attention in recent years as being a frequent backdrop for a number of movies and television shows. Most recently, the Netflix series Stranger Things made the Butts County city of Jackson, Georgia the backdrop of the show's fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, turning the downtown area into a 1980s Indiana small town. In addition to the many buildings of the downtown that are visible in various scenes, the exterior of the Butts County Courthouse is featured, standing in for the Hawkins library.
The fact that Butts County serves as the filming location for key events in the show has already led fans there after just two seasons. Other shows which have filmed in the area include The Originals, a television show, and a recent remake of Endless Love by Universal Studios.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 188 square miles (490 km2), of which 184 square miles (480 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) (1.9%) is water. The entirety of Butts County is located in the Upper Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin.
Butts County is governed by a Board of Commissioners composed of one commissioner from each of the county's five electoral districts. The commission members serve four year, staggered terms. The Board is presided over by the Chairman, elected annually from the members of the Commission to chair the meetings of the Board. The Board employs a County Administrator, Deputy County Administrator, County Clerk and nine department managers to oversee the daily affairs of the government.
There are four Constitutional Officers and three Elected Officials who are elected at-large by the voters of the county. The Constitutional Officers include the Sheriff; Tax Commissioner; Probate Judge and Clerk of the Superior Court. Elected officials include the Magistrate Judge; Coroner and County Surveyor. Other services are provided by departments headed by appointees of the Board of Commissioners.
In 2008, a movement began to create an elected, at-large chairman position to serve as presiding officer over the Board of Commissioners. This movement lost ground in 2009 and has not been revisited.
The Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison of the Georgia Department of Corrections is a maximum security prison in unincorporated Butts County. It is home to Georgia's death row for men and Georgia's execution facility. The prison is also home to maximum security general population (non-death row).
1821-The Indian Springs Hotel, now a museum, was the site of the signing of the treaty that ceded all Native American land in Butts County to the government. Today it is operated as a museum and had been carefully preserved by generations of historical society members. Indian Springs State Park surrounds the hotel and is the oldest State Park in the nation.
1911-Jackson Lake, created by the damming of the Ocmulgee River, is now a prime recreational venue that attracts many visitors from all over middle and North Georgia.
1929-Fresh Air Barbecue, the oldest functioning barbecue restaurant still in its original location in Georgia, was awarded the title of Georgia's Best Barbecue in 1984.
1966-Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison, (formerly Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center, and often shortened to Georgia Diagnostic Prison.), is the largest employer in Butts County. The prison is a maximum security prison that also houses the death row inmates. Until recent years, it was the location of the electric chair until this was replaced by lethal injection.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,522 people, 6,455 households, and 4,867 families residing in the county. The population density was 105 people per square mile (40/km²). There were 7,380 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 69.22% White, 28.82% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 1.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,455 households out of which 34.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.00% were married couples living together, 13.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.60% were non-families. 20.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.10% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 33.00% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 10.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 114.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $39,879, and the median income for a family was $44,937. Males had a median income of $33,155 versus $21,869 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,016. About 8.60% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.00% of those under age 18 and 16.70% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 23,655 people, 7,881 households, and 5,834 families residing in the county. The population density was 128.3 inhabitants per square mile (49.5/km2). There were 9,357 housing units at an average density of 50.7 per square mile (19.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 69.9% white, 27.3% black or African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 22.3% were American, 10.4% were Irish, 9.8% were English, and 6.8% were German.
Of the 7,881 households, 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.0% were non-families, and 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.13. The median age was 38.1 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $52,257 and the median income for a family was $59,511. Males had a median income of $38,801 versus $31,310 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,963. About 9.0% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.
Georgia’s small towns outside of Atlanta, including Douglasville, Conyers, Jackson, Winston and Fayetteville, easily pass for the Midwest, and Jackson’s intact downtown isn’t a far stretch from 1983 Hawkins on film.
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