Fort Stewart Community
Millions of visitors are drawn annually to the piney wood forests of northern Georgia and the coastal waters of Savanna. Antebellum homes. Carriage rides and historic churches. Southern living as it was in the late 1800s. A tourist paradise.
But just a few miles away are the true small, southern towns … towns that take pride in their historic past, plan for a modern future and honor their military heroes. This is where you will find the Soldiers, families and civilians who work at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
The warmth and support we get outside our gates, in nearly 17 surrounding counties, is hard to match. But we are committed to be good neighbors.
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield support these communities by strengthening emergency services/preparedness, addressing environmental concerns, supporting local schools, sharing recreational assets with local residents, opening post entertainment events to the general public, supporting and participating in local community events, partnering with community hospitals, contributing to charities and providing speakers for various programs.
Community involvement extends to sharing our recreational assets with local residents. Hunter Army Airfield’s Lotts Island Recreation facility opened to the general public in June 2001 under a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Savannah. This partnership allows the public access to recreational areas, deep water and a marina. Additionally, two golf courses and three bowling facilities are open to the public. The golf courses host approximately 50,000 rounds and 50 tournaments a year. The Golf Club Professionals conduct free lessons, and have active youth summer programs.
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield are a sportsman’s paradise, with fishing ponds, river landings and hunting areas that make it one of the finest outdoor recreational areas in the state. Fort Stewart’s Fish and Wildlife Division conducts an annual children’s fishing derby that draws children from all over the area. It is also open to the public entertainment activities such as golf tournaments, carnivals, concerts, community marathons and open houses. Such events are well-attended. However, community involvement doesn’t end with social and recreational partnering.
Our commitment to the community is to be a good citizen. The Combined Federal Campaign generates charitable contributions to local organizations, and our Chaplains Office’s Toys for Tots Christmas gift collection collects gifts for needy children in the local area. Additionally, a cooperative agreement established in early 1940 regarding cemeteries existing before Fort Stewart was established is still on-going. We continuously coordinate for individuals and family groups to host annual reunions and visits, place markers, and research family records and genealogy.
Following are some of the nearby counties and cities where our Soldiers and families live and play.
Liberty County is a fascinating portrait of the Old South and the new, of comforting tradition and of well-planned, cutting-edge progress of an advancing community. Visionary leaders preserved what is best about this historic, coastal community, while carefully managing incredible growth and preparing for the next century with futuristic schools, technology and infrastructure. From moss-covered live oaks to miles of riverfront and marsh-front property; from large corporations and industries to small, one-man operations; from many ethnic backgrounds to your basic, hospitable Southern folks — Liberty County has a little bit of it all.
Although Hinesville as a township is young in years, it is located in a county with a long and proud history. The unrecorded history of this region lies buried in the secret reaches of time; the recorded history dates back to the time of Spain’s colonial empire in America.
Midway is a quaint community located near the crossroads of U.S. highways 84 and 17. It hosts many Revolutionary War landmarks and historical sites, including the Midway Congregational Church, erected in 1792, and the Midway Cemetery, which dates back to 1754. The Midway Museum was built to preserve and display the history of Liberty County. It is a drawing point for many tourists and is part of the Historic Liberty Trail.
The first mention of Sunbury is found in the memoirs of Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe by Robert Wright, London, 1857, in which he tells of Oglethorpe’s exploratory expedition to the southern frontiers of Georgia. The name Sunbury comes from two Saxon words: sunna, the sun, and byri, a town, and denotes a place exposed to the sun.
When the pioneers began moving into the lower part of the Midway country known as the North Newport District, they took advantage of the most desirable locations for their rice plantations. By an act of the Georgia legislature,
Feb. 1, 1797, “a place to be called Riceborough” was designated as the new site for the courthouse and other public buildings.
This was an important port from which the planters shipped large quantities of rice that made the name Riceborough appropriate.
Named as a tribute to its first settler Andrew Walthour, Walthourville is 6 miles from the Fort Stewart installation. In the early 1900s, Walthourville was noted for its beautiful homes.
Situated approximately 4 miles from Fort Stewart, Allenhurst was named for Byers Allen, who came there in the early 1900s to locate a sawmill.
The Gum branch community has often been referred to as the “backbone of Liberty County.” It was established in the early 1800s by pioneers seeking rich farmlands on which to build their homes and rear their families. It is located about 10 miles west of Hinesville.
The history of Long County is actually the history also of Liberty County, for it was a part of Liberty until Aug. 14, 1920, when the Georgia Legislature created the new county and named it Long, in honor of Dr. Crawford W. Long, of Jefferson, Ga., who discovered the use of ether as an anesthetic. There is only one incorporated town in the county: Ludowici.
Deep in the heart of southeast Georgia, on the banks of the mighty Altamaha River, Wayne County beckons visitors and newcomers alike. Visitors and residents often call Wayne County “a little piece of paradise.” The beauty of the natural environment, the diversity of recreational opportunities, and the welcoming small-town atmosphere has become known far and wide among outdoorsmen and visitors.
Jesup is the county seat of Wayne County located on the Altamaha River, the largest river in the Southeast with 157 miles of fishing, camping, canoeing, boating and water skiing. A national scenic river, the Altamaha is a favorite site of nature photographers. Boat landings can be found at various points within the county and along the entire river.
About 5 miles from Jesup, on the banks of the Altamaha River, is historic Doctortown. This site was once a thriving town, sawmill, railroad and steamboat center.
Bryan County was created by legislative act Dec. 19, 1793. It was named for Jonathan Bryan, 1708-1788, a Revolutionary patriot and a member of the Executive Council. Parts of Bryan County were taken from Chatham County, Effingham County and Liberty County.
Bryan County was physically divided when the U.S. Army acquired some of its land for what is now Fort Stewart. The county seat is Pembroke to the north. The city of Richmond Hill is in the southern part of the county.
The city of Pembroke is called “a 19th-century railroad town.” It was named after Judge Pembroke Williams, a prominent local resident of the late 1800s. The city was a rail hub for naval supplies and farm produce for most of its existence. Chartered by the state in 1905, Pembroke is a bustling small-town community just 20 minutes from Savannah, Statesboro, Claxton and Hinesville, with easy access to the interstate highways. Pembroke is the county seat of Bryan County.
Located about midway between Fort Stewart and Savannah, Richmond Hill is a thriving community along Georgia’s Colonial Coast, and is one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation. Located in South Bryan County, 20 miles from Savannah, it is growing as an alternative to the increasing population in Savannah.
Richmond Hill boasts a rich heritage. In 1924, Henry Ford came to what was then called Ways Station. Ford built school houses, kindergartens, medical clinics, a church, a sawmill and his own winter retreat mansion called Richmond Hill, thus the namesake for the city.
In the early 1970s, Richmond Hill was discovered as a bedroom community for Savannah. Richmond Hill is booming and is ranked as one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Industry in Richmond Hill includes Hobart Corporation, makers of restaurant equipment, and Coleman-American Moving Services Inc. Shrimping and fishing in nearby waters also supports many in the Richmond Hill area. Richmond Hill is home to schools Richmond Hill high, middle, elementary and primary schools. More information can be found at www.richmondhillga.com.
Historic Fort McAllister’s fall during the Civil War marked the real end of Sherman’s march to the sea. Its December 1864 loss made further defense of Savannah useless, and seven days later the city was evacuated. Located on the south bank of the Ogeechee River, east of Richmond Hill on Georgia 144, Fort McAllister is an outstanding example of the earthwork fortifications that guarded Savannah from attack by sea. The fort has been restored. An excellent museum there contains many mementos of the fort, as well as the famed Confederate blockade-runner, Nashville, destroyed in 1863 by the monitor Montauk in the Ogeechee River above the fortification.
Tattnall County has five incorporated municipalities: Glennville, Reidsville, Collins, Cobbtown and Manassas. Tattnall County provides its residents and visitors with a unique blend of history and tradition, and all the amenities one would come to expect from a progressive community poised to embrace the future.
It is the largest town located in Tattnall County and one of the largest agricultural-livestock producing areas in the Southeastern United States. Located 19 miles from the main post, its boundaries adjoin the Fort Stewart reservation. Glennville is called “the accommodating city” and has a current population of more than 5,000. Glennville has ample schools and churches. It is the largest producer of “Vidalia Sweets” in the United States and hosts the annual Sweet Onion Festival in May. The town also has the largest cricket farm in the United States. Other industries include four local manufacturing companies employing more than 900 area employees, including the largest manufacturer of lawn mower parts in the world.
The city of Reidsville came into existence because it was the center of the county. Therefore, it became the county seat of Tattnall County government in 1832. Reidsville is known as “Friendship City, U.S.A.” Reidsville is the proud home of the Georgia State Prison and Rogers Correctional Institute. Both are major correctional facilities in Georgia. The Alexander Hotel is listed on the National Historic Register and is a point of community pride. Reidsville also has the only state park located in the city limits of a municipality. Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park covers 280 acres.
— The Martin Luther King Jr. Parade is held in Glennville on the second Saturday in January.
— Battle at Manassas — third week in March. A Civil War re-enactment in Manassas located between Reidsville and Claxton on U.S. Highway 280.
— The annual Easter egg hunt is held on the Saturday before Easter at the Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park.
— The Glennville Sweet Onion Festival features arts, crafts, entertainment and a wide range of foods celebrating the harvest of the Vidalia sweet onion. This festival is held on the second Saturday in May at the State Farmers Market in Glennville.
— The July Fourth celebration and fireworks is held every year at the Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville.
— Wiregrass Festival and Hobby Show — Held Saturday in September in Reidsville at Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park.
— Farm/City Week is a national observance to promote awareness of the relationship between the farming industry and cities. This event begins on the Friday before Thanksgiving and concludes the day before Thanksgiving Day. Also, the Reidsville Christmas Festival and Parade is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Different celebration themes are planned each year.
— Celebrations in Tattnall County in December:
(Glennville) Celebration of the Season is held the first Friday in December.
(Cobbtown) Christmas Cobbtown Style is held the first Saturday in December.
Evans County was formed in 1914 from portions of Tattnall and Bulloch counties. Principle communities in Evans County include the county seat Claxton, Bellville, Daisy and Hagan.
Claxton, located approximately 37 miles northwest of Fort Stewart, is the county seat of Evans County. It is a growing community that has been known for many years as the community where the internationally famous Claxton Fruitcakes are baked and shipped worldwide.
Claxton Poultry provides jobs for the community and ships poultry products to all sections of the United States and around the world. Other manufacturing facilities employ more than 300 area people. Wilbanks Apiaries is a beekeeping and bee-growing, family-owned business that has spanned five generations. Sherman International Corp. makes pre-stressed concrete utility poles and ships to points all along the Eastern Seaboard.
Claxton hosts the Rattlesnake Roundup each March. Hundreds of rattlers are sold, still alive, to colleges and research facilities throughout the country. A two-day arts and crafts show accompanies the events, as well as the area’s largest parade of the year, which draws thousands of people to the Claxton area.
U.S. highways 280 and 25/301 intersect in Claxton, providing access to many other areas. Interstate 16 is 11 miles from the city while Interstate 95 is 35 miles away.
McIntosh County split from Liberty County in 1793 and was named for Lachlan McIntosh, a general in the Continental Army. McIntosh County has the distinction of being the only county in Georgia with no traffic lights. Darien, its county seat, is the second-oldest planned city in the state and the site of the first English fort in Georgia. Fort King George, built in 1721, is a state historic site open to the public — $5 for adults, $2.50 for children and $4.50 for seniors.
A mostly rural community well-known for its fresh, local seafood, McIntosh County is home to a thriving shrimping industry. In fact, the annual Blessing of the Fleet each spring brings thousands to the tiny community of Darien to wish the shrimp boat crews a safe, bountiful harvest of wild Georgia shrimp. The county is a favorite destination of outdoorsmen for its hunting and fishing opportunities, including the Altamaha River, Buttermilk Sound, Sapelo Sound and Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge. Darien’s Prime Outlets shopping center is a major attraction for travelers on Interstate 95. To seafood lovers, however, McIntosh County’s many seafood restaurants are its greatest asset and well worth the short drive from Fort Stewart.
Those who are fortunate enough to call Glynn County their home recognize its magical qualities. Those who visit Brunswick and the Golden Isles are enchanted by the rich, natural landscape found only in that corner of the state. Glynn County is unique for many reasons. Not only does it offer a dreamlike getaway, but also a sense of permanence and community to many. With natural amenities, beautiful houses, safe neighborhoods and no limit of activities, Glynn County is the perfect place to call home.
Brunswick was a Colonial outpost that grew to become a Victorian town of great charm and beauty. Today it is a busy port city proclaimed as the shrimp capital of the world, not to mention its world-famous Brunswick stew. Its quaint, tree-lined streets rest in harmonious counterpoint to the bustling commerce of Main Street and the port. The English flavor of the community is apparent as you stroll along the brick streets lined with historic buildings and stately homes. In fact, John Glynn, an Englishman who befriended the Colonies during the American Revolution, designed the town. Glynn’s seaport city still retains his original grid, as well as 36 of the architecturally significant buildings that have been standing since 1819.
St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island is graced both with historic remnants of earlier eras and an abundance of resorts that offer virtually every kind of vacation enjoyment. Beauty, history and relaxation greet the vacationer on this, the largest of the Golden Isles.
Jekyll Island, with 10 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach, is the home of the restored Jekyll Island Historic District, as well as a fascinating variety of sights and recreation. Once an outpost supporting the English at Fort Frederica, Jekyll Island became the private winter getaway for the world’s wealthiest families from 1886 until 1942. In 1947 it was sold to the state of Georgia.
Chatham County is located on the southeast coast of Georgia. There are eight municipalities within the county: Savannah (county seat), Bloomingdale, Garden City, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt, Tybee Island and Vernonburg.
Pooler, a community minutes west of Savannah, is thriving with diverse growth. A school system that ranks near the top of its class, a low crime rate and an excellent recreation system all fuel a residential growth that generates nearly 300 homes a year. A central location that is near the Georgia Ports, Savannah International Airport and accessible by Interstate 95, Interstate 16 and U.S. Highway 80 make Pooler attractive to retail and industrial growth.
Georgia’s first city, a historic city with a revered past, has a vibrant present and an exciting future. Savannah has an atmosphere and charm fostered by residents who have cherished and preserved its past. Their love of history is embodied in the beautifully restored homes, churches and public buildings that grace the city’s unique, tree-filled squares, and that affection has given rise to a tourism industry that’s boomed dramatically since the mid-’90s.
Energized by the upsurge in tourism and other positive economic factors, Savannah has entered the 21st century in the enviable position of being able to use their past to enhance our present and future. The Landmark Historic District is in the midst of a commercial revitalization that is spreading to the midtown Victorian District and spilling over into the eastside islands, the fast-growing Southside and the industrialized areas west of Savannah.
Savannah is not only a top tourist destination, but also an ideal city for business or family. Its diverse economy forms a strong business and employment base ranging from manufacturing to distribution, from tourism to military, from health care to port operations and retail sectors.
Sand, sea and salty breezes have a charm all their own, but when combined with a dash of history, fresh local cuisine and an array of outdoor adventures there’s a guaranteed draw to Tybee Island. Tybee Island is located 20 minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia’s first city. This barrier island boasts 7 miles of beaches backed by sea oat-covered sand dunes that are perfect for sunbathing, people-watching and frolicking in the sand and surf of the Atlantic Ocean. Tybee Island meant “salt” to Native Americans who once inhabited the island, but today brings to mind a splendid setting to be enjoyed by the whole family. The island’s south-end pier and pavilion provide the perfect venue for strolling above the waves for a picturesque view or reeling in the day’s catch from the sea. During the spring and summer visitors can even enjoy live music and special events on the pier. Tybee Island is the history buff’s dream!
Tybee’s location in the southern coast made Tybee an important fortification during many of America’s wars. Tybee’s Fort Screven was the site of Spanish-American War-era fortification, and just west of the island on U.S. Highway 80 is Fort Pulaski, a colossal brick edifice that played a vital role in the Civil War. The Tybee Lighthouse is Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse, towering over the coastline at 154 feet. All facilities are open for tours.
Tybee Island offers an assortment of activities for nature-bound explorers; visitors can choose from boat cruises, fishing trips, kayaking, bike riding and bird-watching through the surrounding Lowcountry. Tybee Marine Science Center offers beach walks and touch tanks to help us better understand the creatures of the sea. On warm days, dolphins can be seen playing from the shore or by guided tour, much to the delight of children of all ages.