This Sunday I thought I’d take y’all on a little stroll along the brick main street of my old stomping grounds and give you a taste of what my childhood was like in Thomasville, Georgia. T-ville covers about 15 square miles in southwest Georgia and is the second largest city of that particular region after Albany. The city was founded in 1826 and named after Jett Thomas, a general in the War of 1812. Thank you, Wikipedia!
I always thought I can from a small town, but didn’t realize how small it actually was until I just looked at the census data. In 2010, population numbers were around 18K. I swear to y’all my mother always said we had 50K people. She was either lying, dreaming, or including all the neighboring counties. I guess when I was a little girl we probably had somewhere closer to 10-15K because I know there’s been a rather large population migration in the past ten years.
So, yeah, a small town but not the smallest. You feel like you know everyone’s name without actually knowing everyone’s name, ya know? But there’s always the risk that you’re surrounded by townies who can tattle on you. That’s what my dad used as leverage against me when I started driving at 16. He said there was practically nowhere I could go in town where someone he knew wouldn’t see me and report back to him. This was a real threat.
Thomasville is known as the City of Roses, and we host a large Rose Festival every year. We even used to get the day off from school. A town holiday! We’d line up along Broad Street and watch the Rose parade ramble past filled with tractors, beauty queens, and marching bands.
Broad Street is a bit of a novelty in and of itself in that it’s still paved in its original brick cobblestone. Our downtown is historic and feels like it never left the 19th Century. That’s why every Christmas downtown morphs into the Victorian era for Victorian Christmas. Shop owners dress up in old-timey garb, traditional Victorian crafts and gifts are made and sold, and a great (how ever many greats is required) grandson of Charles Dickens reads A Christmas Carol.
Tourists can also visit a really old tree we affectionately call the ‘Big Oak’ which is a Live Oak older than 320 years. If that’s not enough to entertain you, we have several history museums, open plantations, and some really great little shops and restaurants. Plus, the beach is only a little over an hour away.
From a local perspective, Thomasville is quaint, quiet, and fairly conservative. Churches are found on most corners which was odd for me since I grew up outside the church. It was a great place to grow up, though. I just started to feel a bit too stifled the older I got. I wouldn’t call T-ville rigid in her beliefs, but she can be a stubborn mule when it comes to progression. All that aside, the community is also filled with lovely, sweet people who will give you the shirt off their backs. When tragedy occurs, you barely have to lift a finger because the whole town takes over. After funerals, you’ll find enough food in your house to feed a small army for months. There’s something special in that.