The seat of Pulaski County, Hawkinsville lies in south central Georgia on the banks of the Ocmulgee River. Situated about forty-six miles south of Macon, Hawkinsville plays a significant role in the state's agriculture, industry,
Ten highways run through the town, which is nicknamed Hub City and Georgia's Highway Hub. This intersection of state and federal highways provides Hawkinsville industries, which include textiles and paper, convenient access to Georgia's ports.
Artist Nell Choate Jones is a native of Hawkinsville.
Hawkinsville is named for Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, who served as the principal temporary agent for Indian affairs south of the Ohio River from 1796 until 1803, when he became the principal agent for the Creeks. Hawkins's close relationship with the Creek Nation—he lived among them and eventually married a Creek woman—helped to preserve peace between the Native American people and the newly formed United States.
Trade via the Ocmulgee reached its heyday during the first four decades of the century. During the 1850s, however, river commerce competed heavily with Georgia's rapidly spreading railroads. After Union general William T. Sherman destroyed much of the railroad system during his march to the sea in 1864, the Ocmulgee saw a resurgence of traffic to the coast. During the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Hawkinsville served as the upriver terminus for most of the steamboats traveling the Ocmulgee.
In 2007 the Sam Way, Sr. Learning Center, a satellite campus of Middle Georgia Technical College, opened in Hawkinsville.
Over the years Hawkinsville has established itself as an equestrian center. Organized in 1894, the Pulaski County Fair Association featured among its annual livestock expositions speed demonstrations of trotters and pacers. In the 1920s the Fair Association constructed new livestock buildings, a racetrack, and an athletic field. By 1926 harness horsemen from across the country had chosen Hawkinsville as a winter training venue.
The Old Opera House has undergone two renovations and now boasts advanced lighting, sound, projection, and telecommunications systems. Today the home of the Hawkinsville–Pulaski County Arts Council, the Old Opera House hosts regular dramatic performances, ceremonies, and meetings, all of which draw audiences from across the state.
James A. Crutchfield, "The Flood of 1994," It Happened in Georgia (Helena, Mont.: TwoDot, 2000).
Hawkinsville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, comp., History of Pulaski County: Official History (Atlanta: Walter W. Brown Publishing Company, 1935).
Carlton A. Morrison, Running the River: Poleboats, Steamboats, and Timber Rafts on the Altamaha, Ocmulgee, Oconee, and Ohoopee (St. Simons Island, Ga.: Saltmarsh Press, 2003).
Nancy Lawson Remler, Armstrong Atlantic State University
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.