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Peek at the Past

A City of Living History

Thomas County was formed in 1825 by legislation introduced by Thomas J. Johnson, owner-builder of Pebble Hill Plantation.  One year later, on December 22nd, 1826, a location was established for the new county seat, Thomasville.  The city and county are believed to have been named for Major General Jett Thomas, a member of the state militia during the War of 1812.  Without a railroad until 1861, Thomas County residents became largely self-sufficient.  Agriculture was diversified and business methods were modified. 


Piney Woods Hotel

This photograph of the Piney Woods Hotel was taken around 1889.  At this same time, the Thomasville Opera House was being constructed. 


As the terminus for the railroad, Thomasville was accessible from the north and, during the late 1800s, became known as the "Winter Resort of the South."  In the beginning of this era, Northerners and other visitors came to Thomasville for their health, breathing the pine-scented air as a curative for pulmonary ailments.  They were soon joined by friends to enjoy hunting, fishing, golf, horse racing, bicycling, and a bustling social life. 


Broad Street Bricks

This photo, taken by Hansell Watt around 1910, shows South Broad Street soon after it was paved with bricks.  Horses and wagons shared the street with automobiles.  

Thomasville's luxurious hotels regularly hosted America's wealthiest families as their guests.  Once they discovered that it cost less to purchase land than to rent hotel rooms, these wealthy families bought property and built grand Victorian mansions and plantations homes.  Many of these plantations are still owned by the families who built them and are visited year round.  Many of the "winter cottages" built during the 1880s have been lovingly restored and are included on the Historic Walking and Driving Tour of Thomasville's Historic Districts. 


Cows on Broad Street

This photograph was probably taken around 1919 for a newspaper promoting Thomas and Grady County agriculture.


Although the grand hotel era ended with the extension of the railroad into south Florida, Thomasville and Thomas County have continued the long-standing tradition of cultural and economic diversity and the preservation of the area's rich heritage.


First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church's second building, c. 1925, featured a corner entrance within the tower and Gothic stained-glass windows.

Masury Hotel

The Masury Hotel

Opened at Broad and Jefferson in 1889.

This photograph was taken from the Courthouse in 1908.

Confederate Monument

Confederate Monument

The Confederate Monument stood in the intersection of Broad Street and Remington Avenue when this photograph was made around 1898.  The Monument was moved to the grounds of the Thomas County Courthouse in the 1940′s. 


Photographs courtesy of Thomas County Historical Society