Georgia’s Rome is home to so much rich history and culture and we have a few facts that just might blow your mind!
1. The town’s name, ‘Rome’, was drawn from a hat.
Rome, Georgia is named after Rome, Italy because of its seven hills. Although there is no documented proof, the story goes that the name was drawn from a hat when deciding the final city name. A map featuring the 7 Hills and 3 Rivers of Rome is shown to the left.
2. Georgia’s Rome is home to the largest college campus in the world.
Berry College is known as the largest contiguous college campus in the world, sitting at 27,000 acres. The college is open to the public, and can be visited by guests. Berry is also home to one of the largest wooden overshot waterwheels in the world. The world famous Berry College Eagles can also be viewed at the designated viewing spot on campus. They even have a Live Camera so you can watch them anytime online. Be sure to ask for a campus map when checking in at the Welcome Center.
3. Rome has the largest Victorian Era District in Georgia.
The district is known as ‘Between the Rivers’ and contains homes dating back from the Civil War era, as well as the site of Rome’s founding. Learn more details on how to visit the historic district.
4. The City of Rome goes out of their way to protect its natural resources.
Rome is home to 16 public gardens including five public pollinator gardens. The City has been named a Bee City USA for encouraging pollinator habitats as well as a Tree City USA (for 30 years!) because of its work to protect the city’s urban trees. Check out over 35 different species of trees on the tree tour at Historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery. Visit the Rome-Floyd ECO Center where visitors can see live animals and learn about local ecology – and entry is free for everyone! Stonebridge Golf Course is Rome’s public golf course that has recently been recognized as a ‘Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary’ for its efforts in creating, organizing and maintaining a comprehensive environmental management program.
5. Rome was once known as the Stove Center of the South.
At one time, Floyd County was home to five stove foundries. Rome was the second highest stove manufacturer in the United States, behind Cincinnati, Ohio. The image to the left is a stove produced in Rome, that is now displayed in the Rome Area History Center. The center is free to tour, and is where you’ll learn so many more fun facts about Rome and the surrounding areas.
6. Ellen Axson Wilson, First Lady of the United States, is buried in Rome
Ellen Axson Wilson was the first wife of the 28th U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. She was First Lady of the United States following her husband’s inauguration in 1913, until her death in 1914. Ellen Axson grew up in Rome, and is buried at Myrtle Hill Cemetery; she is the only First Lady buried in the state of Georgia. A statue honoring Ellen Axson stands at the east end of the Chief John Ross Memorial Bridge. This statue and other historic markers can be visited through a self-guided tour.
7. The Clocktower was originally a water tower.
The famous Rome Clocktower began construction as a water tower in 1870, by the Noble family. The goal of this development was to increase the city’s water supply to support fire fighting. The tank held 250,000 gallons of water, and stands at 104 feet high. Learn it’s history and how you can climb to the top during a monthly tour at the Rome Clocktower.
8. A Roman invented Coca-Cola.
Dr. John Pemberton, a Rome native, created a drink known as Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. This beverage later became known as Coca-Cola. The rights to Coca-Cola were later sold to Asa Candler. The image to the right shows a Coca-Cola mural painted in Downtown Rome. Georgia’s Rome has many great murals!
9. Floyd County features a Cave that was created over 300,000 years ago.
Just a short drive from Rome, Cave Spring’s namesake cave is a family-friendly attraction. The interior of the cave remains an evenly cool temperature throughout the year and pumps fresh spring water; remember to bring a jug when you visit to bring some home. Learn more about visiting the cave.
10. Part of Broad Street used to be a horse track.
At one time, Broad Street was home to a horse track. The track ran from 3rd Avenue down to the river. Stands of the track stood on the East side of Broad and faced the West side. The track was owned and operated by two founders of Rome. Broad Street also used to end at 4th Avenue. The street was then developed down to 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue. The Cotton Block was developed after the Civil War, making the 100 Block the youngest block on Broad (but many locals think it’s the oldest block).
Like this blog post? Check out our other posts in our Roaming Around Rome Blog!