Blakely, the seat of Early County and nicknamed the "Peanut Capital of the World," is located in southwest Georgia just east of the Alabama state line and fifty-two miles southwest of Albany. Satellite campuses of Bainbridge College and Albany Technical College serve the area.
Establishment and Early Years
The city of
Although it was incorporated much later, Blakely was established in 1825. Blakely is now known for its production of peanuts, but cotton was the predominant industry before the outbreak of the Civil War (1861-65). After the war the timber industry, particularly the harvesting of hardwoods, emerged as an equally important economic activity.
With slow but
Such daunting statistics aside, the area has significant natural and historical attractions. Kolomoki Mounds State Historic Park in Blakely is one of the largest mound complexes in the state. The last wooden Confederate flagpole in Georgia, erected by
Early County produces more peanuts than any other county in the nation, thus earning Blakely the nickname "Peanut Capital of the World." Although more acres in Early County are planted in cotton, peanuts account for millions of dollars more in income and thus remain the most important cash crop in the county. A peanut monument is located in Blakely's courthouse square.
In January 2009 a salmonella outbreak, which caused illness in more than 500 people and made national headlines, was traced to the Peanut Corporation of America's peanut-processing plant in Blakely.
Mary Grist Whitehead, "Narration for Early County Sesquicentennial Celebration, December, 1968," in Collections of Early County Historical Society, vol. 1 (Blakely, Ga.: Early County Historical Society, 1971).
W. Michael Kirkland, Bainbridge College
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