The county seat of Peach County, Fort Valley was founded in the 1820s as a Native American trading post and incorporated in 1856.
Everett became a wealthy and influential plantation owner, donating funds for the education of Georgians and using his influence to ensure that the railroad came through town. The railroad played a key role in the town's development. When Fort Valley was officially
Along with the agricultural economy came a demand for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In 1920 a manufacturer of agricultural chemicals built a plant in what is now downtown Fort Valley to fill the demand. During the following decades the plant changed hands several times. In the 1980s the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the ground around the plant was contaminated by lead, arsenic, and other chemicals, and steps were taken to correct environmental damage sustained by the area.
The Peach Festival, held in Fort Valley and Byron every June, is the product of effort by nearly every resident, with attendance from outside the area growing yearly. As the economy has moved away from heavy dependence on agriculture, residents have found employment in local textile plants, organic pesticide manufacturing, the Blue Bird bus factory, a budding tourist economy, and the university. Fort Valley was chosen as one of the Georgia Municipal Association's Cities of Excellence for 2003.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, Fort Valley's population was 9,815.
Donnie D. Bellamy, Light in the Valley: A Pictorial History of Fort Valley State College since 1895 (Virginia Beach, Va.: Donning, 1996).
Daughters of the American Revolution, Georgia State Society, Governor Treutlen Chapter, History of Peach County, Georgia, with Addenda and Errata (Atlanta: Cherokee, 1973).
Marilyn Neisler Windham, Peach County: The World's Peach Paradise (Dover, N.H.: Arcadia, 1997).
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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