Plains, Georgia

Those of you that know me or follow me on my photography page know that I HATE large cities, love to be outdoors, and mountains are my favorite. Seeing new places and things is high on our list of vacations vs. being on a beach. I’m not bashing any of the beach lovers, this is just my preference (and luckily my husband’s as well).  

On our trip down south last winter, we stopped in the quaint town of Plains, Georgia. Plains offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era while embracing the modern world with open arms. It is small, historical, and pleasant. 

Jimmy Carter

Of course Plains, Georgia is best known for its most famous resident, President Jimmy Carter. Born and raised in Plains, Carter served as the 39th President of the United States. Coming from humble means (his father was a peanut farmer), he made his mark in history where even after his presidency, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, returned to Plains and they continued to actively contribute to local and global humanitarian efforts through the Carter Center.

Train Depot

One of the town's focal points is its historic train depot, a relic from a time when trains connected communities and facilitated trade and travel. The train depot in holds significant historical importance as the campaign headquarters for Jimmy Carter. This modest building served as the nerve center of Carter's grassroots presidential bid in 1976. Its weathered walls housed the campaign volunteers, the strategic planning of campaign staff, and the hopeful anticipation of supporters who believed in Carter's message of change and unity. 

During Jimmy Carter's campaign in Plains, Georgia, the rocking chairs at the train depot were often used by Carter's supporters, locals, and visitors who gathered to hear his speeches and engage in discussions about his candidacy and policies. These rocking chairs became symbolic of the relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere of Carter's campaign and his connection to his hometown roots. It is said that Jimmy’s mother, known locally as Miss Lillian, would rock in the chairs and answer questions daily from those that stopped by.  

The depot stood as a symbol of Carter's down-to-earth approach to politics, reflecting his deep roots in the community and his commitment to serving the American people. Today, the depot stands as a cherished landmark, preserving the legacy of a man who rose from humble beginnings to lead the nation, reminding visitors of the power of perseverance, dedication, and the enduring spirit of democracy.

Billy Carter Service Station

Billy Carter, the colorful younger brother of President Jimmy Carter, became a notable figure during his brother's presidency in the late 1970s. He owned and operated a gas station aptly named "Billy Carter's Service Station.” 

Billy was loved by many in the community with his down-to-earth demeanor and willingness to engage with people from all walks of life. Despite his occasional missteps and controversies, including his involvement in the infamous "Billy Beer" venture, Billy remained a beloved figure in Plains, where residents often affectionately referred to him as their "local character." 

Today, his gas station stands as a nostalgic reminder of a unique chapter in American political history. Inside you can see memorabilia and of course Billy Beer cans.  

Plains High School

Plains High School serves as a reminder of President Jimmy Carter's humble beginnings and his enduring legacy. 

Despite its lack of funding and limited resources, this school has provided education for generations of students. With sparse classrooms and a scarcity of books, Plains High School relied on the dedication of its teachers and the determination of its students to succeed. Despite the challenges it faced, the school became a nurturing environment where knowledge was cherished, dreams were fostered, and futures were shaped.

The high school is now a museum. In the museum stands a replica of the Resolute Desk used by Jimmy Carter during his Presidency at the White House.  

The Resolute Desk is a double pedestal partners’ desk made from the oak timbers of the British ship HMS Resolute. In 1880, Queen Victoria gifted the desk to President Rutherford B. Hayes.  

It has been used by nearly every president since, with the notable exceptions being Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford. 

Population and Churches

Despite its small size, Plains boasts a vibrant community with a population of around 557 residents. What's remarkable about this tiny town is the abundance of churches that dot its landscape, serving as both places of worship and pillars of community life. With seven churches in this small area, Plains stands as a testament to the deeply rooted religious traditions of the South.

History Frozen in Time

Walking through the streets of Plains, one can't help but feel transported back in time. The town exudes an old-world charm, with its well-preserved buildings, vintage storefronts, and friendly locals who still greet each other with a smile and a nod. Time seems to stand still here, offering a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

In Conclusion

Plains, Georgia, may be small in size, but it looms large in both history and heart. From its famous residents and historic landmarks to its timeless charm and strong sense of community, Plains offers visitors a glimpse into the soul of the South. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat, a visit to Plains is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.

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