Augusta grew from an old river trading post existing as early as 1717 and was named by James Oglethorpe in 1735 after the mother of George III. In the American Revolution, Augusta changed hands several times and was finally taken by Continental forces under Andrew Pickens and Light-Horse Harry Lee in 1781. It was the capital of Georgia from 1785 to 1795. Augusta expanded rapidly with the tobacco and cotton industries. By 1820 the city was a trade terminus manufacturing began in 1828, when Augusta's first textile plant began operation. During the Civil War, Augusta housed the largest Confederate powderworks.
The city's historical attractions include a boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson, a U.S. arsenal (1815–1955), whose surviving buildings are part of Augusta State Univ., and old homes of Georgian and classic-revival styles. Paine College and Georgia Medical College are also in Augusta. Nearby is Fort Gordon, with training schools for military police, the signal corps, and the corps of engineers. The waterfront facing the Savannah River has been landscaped, creating a riverfront promenade along the levee with an amphitheater. The former Cotton Exchange building now serves as a visitor's center and museum.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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