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Douglas-Coffee County, Georgia
The town of Douglas was established in 1858 and was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas, a powerful advocate of popular sovereignty at that time.
From 1854, when Coffee County was created, until the 1880s, only a white frame courthouse, a hotel, a store or two, and a few houses occupied the site in the middle of the piney woods. Petitions to move the courthouse to Pearson, a more prosperous Coffee County town and nearer to the rail line, were circulated in 1887. In 1888 Benajah Peterson, the principal property owner, joined with others to save Douglas. They built a new courthouse, new churches, new commercial buildings and residences, a new school, a sawmill, a turpentine still, and a cotton gin during the 1890s. Three railroads were built to Douglas.
After the war, Douglas was one of the first small cities in the nation to develop and implement an urban renewal program to abolish slum housing and its effects throughout the city.
By the 1960s poultry processing and manufactured housing were the major industries in the city. Retail sales and services and wholesale distribution centers provided jobs for Douglas area residents at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The city has two areas listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the downtown historic district and the Gaskin Avenue historic district were created in 1989.
Douglas has been recognized for its excellent recreation programs. It has ten public parks and offers year-round activities for all age and interest groups. General Coffee State Park lies only a few minutes to the east of Douglas, and there are four golf courses in or near the city.
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