The small town of Ludowici, incorporated in 1905, remains the only incorporated municipality in rural Long County, located in east Georgia. It was designated the county seat in 1920, when Long County was created from the western portion of Liberty County. Located between Hinesville and Jesup, Ludowici is accessible by U.S. highways 25, 84, and 301.
Development agricultural region until the 1840s, when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, running from Savannah to the western sections of the state, cut through the area. Near the cotton plantation of Allen Johnston, the railroad established a stop referred to as "Four and a Half." A railroad station was built across the tracks from Johnston's home, and a small village known as Johnston Station developed around it. The Johnston Station area remained heavily agricultural into the twentieth century, with farms and timberlands owned primarily by the Johnston, Baggs, and Chapman families.
In the early 1900s the Ludowici-Celadon Roofing Tile Company of Chicago, Illinois, began purchasing land along Jones Creek, a tributary of the Altamaha River, on the western side of Johnston Station. Chosen for its supply of quality ceramic clay, mild winters, and transportation facilities, the land became the site of a new "Dixie" plant for the production of ceramic roofing tiles. Under
In 1914 the tile company closed the plant in Ludowici and moved its operations to a plant in New Lexington, Ohio. The plant's closing has been attributed to the failure of a strong market to materialize, the decline of the local clay source, and anti-German sentiment prior to World War I (1917-18). This latter argument is supported by the renaming of the town to Liberty City briefly during the war. Traces of the old plant, known as "the factory," still exist untouched by town expansion. During the short period of the plant's operation, the town of Ludowici saw its greatest period of growth. After its closing, the local economy declined, and the area reverted to a rural, agricultural community. The town still heavily identifies itself with the manufacture of the Ludowici tiles and is distinguished from surrounding communities by a high concentration of ceramic tile roofs on a variety of vernacular-, Queen Anne –, and bungalow-style structures. Of particular interest is Joseph Bruce Daniel's Queen Anne house at Celadon and Gill streets, whose original roofing material was replaced with an experimental green, or celadon, glazed tile.
AcrossFort Stewart. During the mid-twentieth century, Ludowici attracted national attention and negative publicity as a speed trap that snared tourists on their way to and from Florida. In recent years, however, the town has enjoyed increased notice as a tourist destination along the Wiregrass Trail.
The Altamaha Technical College operates a satellite campus in Ludowici.
According to the 2000 U.S. census, the population of Ludowici was 1,440, an increase of 11.5 percent since 1990. The local government is led by a mayor and five-member council.
Media Gallery: Ludowici