The City of Grovetown was chartered by the Georgia Legislature and officially incorporated in 1881. The name of the small village purportedly came from the old Grove Baptist Church that was founded in 1808.
A Southern poet famous in the post-Civil War era, Paul Hamilton Hayne, moved to Copse Hill (in the Parham Road area) in the 1860s. As a man of letters (author, poet, and editor), Hayne solicited the postal service to establish the Grovetown Post Office. The first U.S. mail service was inaugurated in Grovetown on September 28, 1877, with Charles Clifford as postmaster. Mr. Clifford was also the train depot agent and owner of the local corner store, and helped write the first City charter for Grovetown.
The first railroad depot was a small structure built between 1878 and 1879. The last depot was an ornate structure built in 1891, at a cost of $5,041.74. It served the residents of Grovetown until 1970, when passenger trains no longer ran the Augusta-Atlanta line. It was demolished in 1973.
Many wealthy and influential Augusta residents had summer homes in Grovetown, escaping the heat and disease in the swampy river areas of the city. They commuted on the old "Picayune" train, relying on its frequent service. The old Rosland Hotel, later known as "The Eagle," was built in the 1880s. Its huge rotunda was frequently used for church gatherings, suppers, parties, and dances. The hotel later became a boarding house and burned in the 1970s. The Church of Christ is now located on that site.
Several country stores were established on Old Wrightsboro Road near the railroad crossing. The last of these was S.F. Poole's store, where the gazebo now stands, with the "philosophers' bench" by the door. During the early days of the city, many famous residents have lived in the Grovetown area: Hayne, the literary figure; Stewart Phinizy and James Tobin, cotton brokers; Charles Phinizy, banker and railroad president; Dr. H.H. Steiner, prominent physician; and John Dodge, pharmacist and harness racing enthusiast. Mr. Dodge brought his stable from Ohio and built a large home and race track on Dodge Lane.
With the construction of Camp Gordon in 1942, Grovetown experienced rapid growth, no longer remaining a small agricultural town. Camp Gordon, later Fort Gordon, took advantage of the railroad and many military families looked to Grovetown for housing. Gradually, more and more retired military saw the benefits of living in this small town, and its population began to grow and stabilize.
Population & Culture
Currently, Grovetown has a population of approximately 17,000. It is one of two chartered cities in Columbia County. Current annexation and multi-housing construction has increased the population potential of this formerly quiet town.
A variety of stores, dining establishments, expanded schools, and churches add to the town's culture.
City services have also increased with recreational facilities, an increased public safety department, two fire stations, water and sewer services, a new City Hall, and the Grovetown Museum. A quiet village no more, Grovetown remains great place to live and raise a family.
Note: This brief history was provided by the Grovetown Museum, located at 106 E. Robinson Avenue. It is open from 12PM-4PM, Thursday-Saturday. You may call the museum at 706-863-4576, ext. 334.