15 Things You Might Not Know About Georgia
1. Georgia was founded in 1732 by British Member of Parliament James Oglethorpe as a felon colony. Oglethorpe wanted to use the colony as a place for prisoners who could not pay their debts. The social reformer believed that many debtors were released back into cities without any form of support. He wanted to take these people and give them a second chance in a new place.
2. There is a tree in Athens, Georgia, that owns itself and an 8 foot radius of land. Professor William Jackson deeded the tree and the land to the tree in the early 19th century. That tree blew down in the '40s and was replaced with a new tree from the original’s acorn.
3. Georgia is known as the Peach State, but it’s also the country's top producer of pecans, peanuts, and vidalia onions. The state’s onions are considered some of the sweetest in the world.
4. Speaking of peanuts, Ashburn, Georgia, is home to the world largest (fake) one. The giant legume sits on top of a yellow crown.
5. Stretching over two acres, the world’s largest drive-in restaurant can be found in Atlanta. The Varsity can fit 600 vehicles.
6. Approximately 4,000 people come to Tallapoosa, Georgia, every year to see a taxidermy opossum dropped on New Year's Eve. Each year since the early 2000s, a stuffed opossum named Spencer has been lowered from one of the city's oldest buildings in a Christmas lights-covered ball at midnight. The annual Possum Drop, as it's called, is rounded out with fireworks, live music, and the crowning of a (human) Possum King and Queen.
7. Georgia actually has a state ‘possum—his name is Pogo. You can watch his antics in this animated cartoon.
8. Atlanta is known as the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement; you can find Martin Luther King Jr.’s house on Auburn Ave.
9. There are over 55 streets in Atlanta with the name “Peachtree.” Some historians believe that the streets are a reference to the Native American village “Standing Pitch Tree,” a Creek Indian settlement near Atlanta, and not the fruit.
10. In Georgia, funeral directors can lose their licenses if they use obscene language in the company of a corpse.
11. General Sherman of the Union Army burned Atlanta to the ground during the Civil War. When the city was rebuilt after the war, it adopted the symbol of the phoenix to symbolize how it rose from the ashes.
12. The Augusta National Golf Club hosts the Masters Tournament annually. Previously known as the Augusta National Invitational, the event was created after the Club was denied as a venue for the US Open. The first tournament, in 1934, owed its success to co-founder Bobby Jones, who ended his four-year hiatus to play.
13. Stone Mountain Park claims to house the largest piece of exposed granite in the world. Granite mined from the mountain was used for many notable projects, including the Georgia Capitol Building.
14. Live shrimp can be found at the top of Stone Mountain, 1,683 feet above sea level. Depressions in the stone gather rainwater that provides a habitat for the animals.
15. Cumberland Island, Georgia, is inhabited by wild horses.