The town site, the area of the confluence of Twenty Mile Creek and Seventeen Mile Creek, was occupied for thousands of years by Native Americans. Methodist revivals and baptisms were held at Twenty Mile Creek as early as the 1830s.
The town of Douglas was established in 1858 and was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas, a powerful advocate of popular sovereignty at that time.
Douglas was chartered as a town in 1895 and as a city in 1897. The Georgia and Florida Railroad located its offices and shops in Douglas in 1909. During the 1920s and 1930s Douglas became one of the major tobacco markets in the state. This era of the city's history is depicted in the Heritage Station Museum, located in the old Georgia and Florida Railroad depot.
The Eleventh District Agricultural College was established in Douglas in 1907. It became the first state junior college, South Georgia College, in 1927.
An airport was constructed on the campus of the junior college in 1928. It served as a landing field for the Dixie and Northern Air Line and as an aviation school for Dixie Aviation. During World War II (1941-45) the field was used as a primary pilot-training base for the army air corps. Today the airport has a 6,000-foot runway.
After the war Douglas was one of the first small cities in the nation to develop and implement an urban renewal program to abolish slum housing and its effects throughout the city.
The city has two areas listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the downtown historic district and the Gaskin Avenue historic district were created in 1989.
C. T. Trowell, Douglas before Memory: 1854-1905 (Douglas, Ga.: Douglas Historic Commission, 1995); serialized in the Douglas Enterprise, January–December 1996.
Warren P. Ward, Ward's History of Coffee County (1930; reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1978).
C. T. Trowell, South Georgia College
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