As Presidents Day approaches on February 18, those looking to honor those who’ve led our great nation are encouraged to look to some of the historic sites around Georgia. A visit to one of these sites can be an excellent opportunity to learn how it contributes to American history and the Peach State. This year gear up for a history blast to the past with an adventure-filled trek across Georgia to find five spots to revisit presidential history.
F.D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President
Roosevelt’s Little White House, Warm Springs
Franklin D. Roosevelt was first attracted to the small town of Warm Springs in 1924 while looking for a cure for polio. He then constructed the Little White House as his personal retreat in 1932 and visited it frequently during his presidency until his death in 1945. Step back in time and explore the impeccably preserved house, which features FDR’s 1938 Ford convertible and the half-finished portrait that Roosevelt was sitting for at the time of his death. For those looking to extend their visit, accommodations may be found in the nearby F.D. Roosevelt State Park. For more information on this site, visit GaStateParks.org/LittleWhiteHouse.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain
Located near the Little White House and encompassing over 9,000 acres, this is the largest state park in Georgia. It features more than 40 miles of trails, most notably the popular Pine Mountain Trail. Bring a picnic lunch and relax at Dowdell’s Knob, a favorite overlook of the former president. It is marked by a life-size sculpture of Roosevelt. For those wishing to plan an overnight stay in the park, campsites and cottages are available for booking. For more information on the park, visit GaStateParks.org/FDRoosevelt.
Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President
SAM Shortline Excursion Train, Cordele
Take a trip back in time and enjoy a train ride through Georgia in vintage 1949 railcars on the SAM Shortline. This railroad runs from Cordele to Archery. The train stops in quaint towns filled with fun attractions, restaurants and shopping and one is the city of Plains, Georgia, which is the hometown and the boyhood home of former president Jimmy Carter. The city’s depot was Carter’s campaign headquarters and visitors can learn more about him at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site. For train schedule and tickets, visit GaStateParks.org/SAMShortline
Jefferson Davis, President of Confederate States during American Civil War
Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site, Fitzgerald
While the Confederate president might not be a traditional first thought for President’s Day, a visit to Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site signifies the monument where he was arrested by Union forces in 1865. Davis and his remaining staff members were camped in this pine forest, not knowing that pursuit was so close behind. At dawn, gunfire ensued until the federal forces realized they had been shooting at one another. Today, visit the monument to learn more about this battle, and the site also offers a museum and gift shop. For more information, visit GaStateParks.org/JeffersonDavisMemorial.