Sylvania, the seat of Screven County, is located in east central Georgia, about fifty-four miles southeast of Augusta and fifty-eight miles northwest of Savannah. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the population was 2,675.
During Union general William T. Sherman's march to the sea, the cavalry of Judson Kilpatrick, another Union general, passed through Sylvania in December 1864. Despite local legend that the county courthouse was burned at that time, there is no evidence to support the story, and a prominent
A massive fire devastated most of the wooden commercial structures surrounding Sylvania's square in about three hours on the night of January 8, 1897. Many private residences were also burned. Although the courthouse was consumed by the flames, county records were saved in a nearby brick annex that had only recently been built for storage. A new courthouse was erected that same year by builder Algernon Blair and stood until 1963. Modern Sylvania's downtown is the home of masonry buildings that reflect the small-town architecture of the 1920s and 1930s.
A two-story wooden public school, known officially as the Sylvania High School (later Screven County High School), although it included primary and intermediate grade pupils, opened in Sylvania for white students in 1903. A school for African American students was built in 1919. Originally called the Screven County High and Agricultural School, the name was later changed to Screven County Training School and then to Central High School. The separate schools were integrated in the 1970s.
Sylvania calls itself the "Azalea and Dogwood City" and the "Welcome Station City." Popular events held there include the Annual Screven County Livestock Festival in April and the Annual Air Exposition held in the fall.
[Clyde] Dixon Hollingsworth, ed., The History of Screven County, Georgia (Dallas, Tex.: Curtis Media, 1989).
Clyde D. Hollingsworth, Pioneer Days: A History of the Early Years in Screven County, Georgia (; reprint, Sylvania, Ga.: Partridge Pond Press, ).
[Clyde] Dixon Hollingsworth, Screven County through the Years (Sylvania, Ga.: Partridge Pond Press, 1993).
Angela Lee-Ford, Screven and Jenkins Counties (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Press, 1999).
Russell K. Brown, Grovetown
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