It was created in 1895, as a community for Civil War veterans by Indianapolis newspaper editor Philander H. Fitzgerald, a former drummer boy in the Union army. Ironically, the town is located less than 15 miles from the site of the capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis on May 10, 1865.
In recent years, the unofficial, and sometimes controversial mascot of the city has become the Red Junglefowl, a wild chicken native to the Indian subcontinent. In the late 1960s, a small number were released into the woods surrounding the city and have thrived to this day.
Fitzgerald is also home to the famous Dorminy-Massee Bed and Breakfast. Built in 1915 by J. J. (Captain Jack) Dorminy for his family, this two-story, colonial-style home is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bed and breakfast features eight bedrooms, each with a private bath, an elegant living room and parlor, and spacious grounds. The Inn is within walking distance of Fitzgerald's historic downtown area, as well as, The Blue and Gray Museum.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.3 square miles (18.9 km²), of which, 7.2 square miles (18.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.55%) is water.
There were 3,448 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.3% were married couples living together, 23.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.3% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 83.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,805, and the median income for a family was $26,577. Males had a median income of $26,674 versus $17,211 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,775. About 26.7% of families and 31.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.8% of those under age 18 and 22.1% of those age 65 or over.