Downtown Fitzgerald History
Atlanta was not the only city to rise from the ashes in the latter nineteenth century. Fitzgerald’s central business district evolved from its Shack Town roots of 1895 into several bustling blocks by the Autumn of 1896. Timber was plentiful and sawmills sprang up all over the colony. Showcase wood framed buildings like the GAR Hall were completed and the Lee-Grant Hotel was begun. But in December of 1896, nearly all of it disappeared in what became known as the Great Conflagration. Nearly all of Downtown went up in smoke. Out of that experience came a new downtown fire district requiring new buildings to be of masonry construction, resulting in the beautiful buildings we still enjoy in our National Register Downtown Historic District. A handful of original wooden buildings survived into the late twentieth century, but today the only remaining example of the early wood frame public spaces is the WRC Hall on South Main Street.