Tifton, Georgia

Tifton, Georgia
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton City Hall
Nickname(s): Friendly City
Location in Tift County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 31°27′48″N 83°30′36″W / 31.46333°N 83.51°W / 31.46333; -83.51Coordinates: 31°27′48″N 83°30′36″W / 31.46333°N 83.51°W / 31.46333; -83.51
Country United States
State Georgia
County Tift
 - Mayor Jamie Cater
 - City Manager Michael Vollmer
 - Total 9.0 sq mi (23.4 km2)
 - Land 8.9 sq mi (23.1 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 354 ft (108 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 15,060
 - Density 1,686.2/sq mi (651.1/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 31793-31794
Area code(s) 229
FIPS code 13-76476[1]
GNIS feature ID 0324159[2]
Website http://www.tifton.net

Tifton is a city in Tift County, Georgia, United States. The population was 15,060 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Tift County.[3]



Major highways


Henry Tift Myers Airport (IATA: TMA, ICAO: KTMA, FAA LID: TMA) is a public airport located two miles (3 km) southeast of Tifton, serving the general aviation community, with no scheduled commercial airline service.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 15,060 people, 5,532 households, and 3,601 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,686.2 people per square mile (651.1/km²). There were 6,102 housing units at an average density of 683.2 per square mile (263.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.26% White, 31.57% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.64% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.61% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.56% of the population.

There were 5,532 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.08.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,234, and the median income for a family was $37,023. Males had a median income of $27,206 versus $20,174 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,455. About 20.7% of families and 26.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.0% of those under age 18 and 13.7% of those age 65 or over.


Workers in the Tifton Cotton Mills. January 1909. Photographed by Lewis Hine.

Starting in the mid-19th century, Captain Henry Harding Tift left his home in Mystic, Connecticut for South Georgia to harvest timber for the family ship building business. Little did Captain Tift know that the sawmill he built to prepare the lumber for shipping, and the train tracks that were laid to ship the lumber would be the beginning of Tifton, Georgia.[citation needed]

As Tifts Town (as it was known until 1890 when the name was changed to Tifton) grew, Captain Tift and his associates adopted the same town layout that Mystic, Connecticut had, with even numbered streets running east and west as one traveled north from the center of town, and odd numbered streets following the same suit as one traveled south. Tifton had no town square and the city was crisscrossed with rail lines, all heading from the center of town like spokes on a wagon wheel. The town boasted the same grand facilities as many small South Georgia towns a courthouse, a town hotel, commercial buildings and other features. Many of these buildings featured interesting interior and exterior architectural embellishments of the times. As the town grew, Tifton built an opera house, several silent movie theatres, churches, and saloons. At the turn of the 20th century, a thriving community had evolved from the pine forests and electrical lighting was the rage. The Myon Hotel, built in 1906 was billed as the grandest hotel south of Atlanta.[citation needed]

Progress met the south when President Eisenhower proposed a new road system that would allow travelers to get from place to place in record time.[citation needed]

The interstate was a major contributor of the demise of many downtowns. As the interstate was built, new areas of development came along side these roadways. Since WWII, many women had joined the workforce and did not have the time or luxury of staying home with children while father was at work. Quietly, the communities focus on town activities shifted from the town center to the new suburbs. Hotels were being built along the interstate to accommodate the travelers. Service stations and shopping areas were going where the development was occurring, on the interstate. The location along a major junction of highways made Tifton the ideal location for medical services serving a large (HSA 4140) geographic area.

In 2000, Tifton officially became the Reading Capital of the World, a distinction based on amassing over 2 million points in the Accelerated Reader program and achieving other goals such as increasing library circulation and reducing illiteracy rates.[citation needed] This distinction was celebrated on Nov. 15, 2000, when a packed high school stadium read aloud from Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, as a 30-foot (9.1 m) Cat in the Hat balloon swayed overhead. The crowd then read silently from books of their own, earning the city dual entries in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people reading together in one place[citation needed] as well as the most reading together silently[citation needed]. Although Tifton is the reading capital of the world, the only public bookstore in town is The Christian Bookstore on Main Street. Tifton has a public library, in addition to an extensive college library located at nearby Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. [1]

Tifton Gazette

The Tifton Gazette is a daily newspaper published in Tifton, Georgia. It is operated by South Georgia Media Group, a division of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.


In the year of 2010, Tifton welcomed the Georgia Firebirds from Waycross, Georgia to their new home. The Georgia Firebirds are defending champions of the NIFL.


Tift County School District

The Tift County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of a pre-K centre, seven elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, and an alternative school.[4] The district has 467 full-time teachers and over 7,641 students.[5]

Private schools

  • Tiftarea Academy, located in Chula, Georgia (K-12)
  • Grace Baptist Church & Christian School

Higher education

Points of interest

Until recently, Tifton was the home of the world's second largest magnolia tree, which was located in Magnolia Tree Park. In 2004, the Magnolia tree was burned in a fire. The cause of the fire has never been given by local authorities. Currently, the tree and observation area are blocked from visitors by a gate. [10] Although it no longer grows, the tree still stands. It is not known where the new second largest magnolia tree resides.


Major highways


Henry Tift Myers Airport (IATA: TMA, ICAO: KTMA, FAA LID: TMA) is a public airport located two miles (3 km) southeast of Tifton, serving the general aviation community, with no scheduled commercial airline service.


Agrirama located in Tifton, Georgia, Georgia’s Museum of Agriculture and Living History Museum opened on July 4, 1976. The grounds consist of five areas: a traditional farm community of the 1870s, an 1890s progressive farmstead, an industrial sites complex, rural town, national peanut complex, and the Museum of Agriculture Center. Over 35 structures have been relocated to the 95-acre (380,000 m2) site and faithfully restored or preserved. Costumed interpreters explain and demonstrate the life-style and activities of this time in Georgia’s history.

Notable Residents and Natives

Sister city


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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