Located in Southwest Georgia among the pine trees, peanut fields, magnolias, and gnats is Plains, Georgia, U. S. A. With a population of 683, Plains is situated in one of the state’s most lucrative farming regions. At first glance, one would think it was Dodge City of a century ago. But one is convinced it is not upon hearing that soft Southern drawl lilting in the air. It used to be called “The Plains of Dura”, the name coming from the Bible. The book of Daniel states that Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image upon the “Plain of Dura”. In any event, the town is situated on a broad plain and one occasionally still hears an old timer refer to the hamlet as “The Plains”.
The town is both old and new. It existed in the 1840’s but was not established on its present site until the 1880’s. When the Seaboard Railroad came through the area in the late nineteenth century, a depot was built and the people flocked to it, relocating their town.
Plains has had an interesting history and is proud of its past as well as its present achievements. Its people are friendly, hard-working, intelligent, and cultured. It was a boom town in the 1920’s before the “Great Crash” and boosted many noteworthy establishments. The most outstanding of these was the Wise Sanitarium, a fine hospital, staffed with some of the most renowned physicians in the South. People came from “all over” to be treated by the Wise Brothers and their colleague, Dr. J. C. Logan. Plains, then as now, had many well-to-do farmers and professional people who patronized the town’s two banks, Plains Bank and Citizens Bank. The town also supported a dentist, an undertaker, two drug stores, a cotton gin and a hotel. It was also by common acclaim that Plains had one of the finest schools in the area which was due in large measure to the uncommon abilities of its superintendent, Miss Julia L. Coleman. “Miss Julia” possessed an inordinate amount of grace, charm, and intellect. She was “filled with the milk of human kindness” and she instilled her virtues into the hearts and minds of her students, ever reminding them to “screw their courage to the sticking place” and they’d not fail in life. She passed away in 1973 but during her fifty year tenure in the classroom had taught almost everybody in Plains. Plainsites are indeed indebted to “Miss Julia”.
Plains survived the depression years but lost much of her initial prosperity. And, during the 1940’s, she settled down into the familiar mold of a sleepy little Southern town. “If you walk along the main street on an August afternoon there is nothing whatsoever to do; the summers are whit with glare and fiery hot.” But the bicentennial year, 1976, shook the town’s sleepy demeanor. The hustle and bustle returned and the town soon found among its citizens, the Thirty-ninth President of the United States.