Augusta (ôgŭsˈtə, əgŭsˈ–) [key]. 1 City (1990 pop. 44,639), seat of Richmond co., E Ga.; inc. 1798. At the head of navigation on the Savannah River and protected by levees, Augusta is the trade center for a broad band of counties in Georgia and South Carolina known as the Central Savannah River Area. It is also an important industrial center, manufacturing textiles, chemicals, building materials, medical supplies, tools, and wood, paper, metal, and plastic products. The city is the headquarters of the Augusta National Golf Club and sponsors the annual Masters Tournament.
Augusta grew from an old river trading post existing as early as 1717 and was named by James Oglethorpe in 1735 after the mother of George III. In the American Revolution, Augusta changed hands several times and was finally taken by Continental forces under Andrew Pickens and Light-Horse Harry Lee in 1781. It was the capital of Georgia from 1785 to 1795. Augusta expanded rapidly with the tobacco and cotton industries. By 1820 the city was a trade terminus; manufacturing began in 1828, when Augusta's first textile plant began operation. During the Civil War, Augusta housed the largest Confederate powderworks.
The city's historical attractions include a boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson, a U.S. arsenal (1815–1955), whose surviving buildings are part of Augusta State Univ., and old homes of Georgian and classic-revival styles. Paine College and Georgia Medical College are also in Augusta. Nearby is Fort Gordon, with training schools for military police, the signal corps, and the corps of engineers. The waterfront facing the Savannah River has been landscaped, creating a riverfront promenade along the levee with an amphitheater. The former Cotton Exchange building now serves as a visitor's center and museum.
2 City (1990 pop. 21,325), state capital and seat of Kennebec co., SW Maine, on the Kennebec River; inc. as a town 1797, as a city 1849. Government, health services, and education are now the important industries. Traders visited the site, long known as Cushnoc, even before 1628, when the Plymouth Company established a trading post. Fort Western was built in 1754, and Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec assembled at the fort in 1775. (The garrison house was restored as a museum in 1921.) The settlement around the fort developed with shipping and shipbuilding on the Kennebec. Manufacturing began in 1837, when a dam was built across the river; the dam was removed in 1999. The capitol building (1829) was designed by Charles Bulfinch but has been considerably enlarged and remodeled. James G. Blaine's early 19-century home is the governor's mansion. A branch of the Univ. of Maine is there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.