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Demorest, Georgia

Demorest is a city in Habersham County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,465 at the 2000 census.

Geography

Demorest is located at (34.564948, -83.543920).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km²), of which, 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.87%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,465 people, 498 households, and 292 families residing in the city. The population density was 644.4 people per square mile (249.2/km²). There were 564 housing units at an average density of 248.1/sq mi (95.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.70% White, 3.96% African American, 0.55% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.77% from other races, and 0.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.34% of the population.

There were 498 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.1% under the age of 18, 28.6% from 18 to 24, 21.4% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 84.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,382, and the median income for a family was $39,917. Males had a median income of $29,485 versus $24,861 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,981. About 7.8% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.2% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.

History

The land where Demorest is now located was given by the State of Georgia to W. Stripling in 1829. Stripling did little with the land aside from maintaining a family farm. In 1840, the land was transferred to Dr. Paul Rossignol who built a summer home on the west side of Lake Demorest. That house became significant to the history of Demorest. Among other things, it was one of the first buildings used by Piedmont College, which was established in 1897.

In the late 1880s, the because of the expansion of local railroads in Cornelia and Rabun Gap the lands within and around Lake Demorest were easily accessible.

In 1889 the present site of Demorest was known only as a sawmill camp. A sawmill operated by Mr. Henry Rossignol was located near the present dam site below the lake. The mill was run by water power from a low wooden dam. Besides the saw mill there was a small water-driven flour mill owned by Mr. Ripley near the present site of the saddle-tree factory.

In this same year a small band of people from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Indiana came to the present site of Demorest to establish a prohibition town, beauty spot, health resort, industrial and educational center.

In 1887, these men and others founded the company Demorest Home, Mining and Improvement Company ("The Company"). Among The Company founders were:

  • William Jennings Demorest (1822-1895) — from New York City
  • B. M. Davenport
  • Frank J. Sibley (1847- ) — Secretary of The Company
  • F. H. Briggs
  • Stephen Addison Trowbridge (1853- ) — from Ohio
  • E. L. Champer
  • E. D. Hendrickson
  • George D. Stone — Superintendent of The Company and Demorest's first Mayor

The Company bought the Rossingnol home to use for its offices and also bought 3,500 acres of land, more than double the present size the Demorest. They employed J. A. Reynolds, a competent surveyor, who laid out a beautiful plat for the town. Demorest, incorporated November 13, 1889, was named after William Jennings Demorest.

These men organized the town with a distinct moral purpose in view. The city ordinances were very strict in regard to whiskey, gambling and prostitution. In all land deeds made by the company the clause was included that forfeiture of the land was to be the penalty for practice of any of these evils on the property. Demorest was organized strictly for the white race.

Because of the moral views of the company, the city was named Demorest after the famous prohibition leader William Jennings Demorest of New York City.

From there, the city grew with industry and acquired its own train depot to service the mills and other industries along the lake. At one point, power for most of the mills was generated by a water turbine installed at the dam. The turbine was later removed and as of 2008, the dam is slowly being deconstructed and the lake drained. The city expanded with the growth of Piedmont College and now maintains itself as a small city on Historic U.S. 441.

Early Industries

  • Demorest Knitting Company
  • Demorest Bath Tub Works — manufactured the Goodrich self-heating, folding bathtub
  • Demorest Foundry and Machine Works — manufactured furniture, wagons, and cane mills from 1890 to 1930
  • Saddle-Tree Factory
  • Wagon Factory
  • a spoke and handle factory
  • a broom factory
  • a hoop factory — founded Norton and Cooper
  • a novelty shop and furniture factory — founded by C. W. Stambaugh (destroyed by fire in 1909)
  • Demorest Engraving Works — produced a wide variety of items including photographic equipment and Dental Chairs

Notable Landmarks

Although Demorest is a small city, it has many notable landmarks. A few of these landmarks include Demorest Springs Park, Old Demorest Train Depot and Lake Demorest.

The most recent landmark is the new addition of the pedestrian bridge over a span of Historic U.S. 441 in front of the Piedmont College campus. The new bridge was assembled off-site and lowered into place by crane. The bridge was modeled after the Vanderbilt University 21st Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. The installation of the bridge was a joint project of the Georgia Department of Transportation, Piedmont College and the city of Demorest.

Other Information

Demorest is the home of Piedmont College.

Demorest is the birthplace of Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize.

References

External links

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