LaGrange is a city and the county seat of Troup County, Georgia. The population of the city was estimated to be 30,452 in 2013 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the principal city of the LaGrange, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) Combined Statistical Area.
LaGrange is home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in the state. Its proximity to West Point Lake, a few miles to the west, makes it a tourist destination for bass fishermen and water sports enthusiasts.
LaGrange is named after the country estate near Paris of the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette, who visited Georgia in 1825 and remarked on the similar topography of the two places.
The settlement of LaGrange began in the early 19th century, soon after the territory was ceded by the Creek Indians and the subsequent establishment of Troup County. The city was incorporated in December 1828. During the American Civil War, LaGrange was defended by a volunteer women’s auxiliary group known as the Nancy Harts or Nancy Hart Rifles, after Nancy Hart. After the Confederate defeat in nearby West Point, Georgia, the Union troops, led by Colonel Oscar La Grange, marched north to LaGrange, with Confederate prisoners near the front of the column. The Nancy Harts assembled and negotiated a surrender.
Although local assets were burned and looted by Union troops, Colonel La Grange spared the private homes of LaGrange, including Bellevue, the home of Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill. This may have been a returned favor. Col. La Grange had previously been under Confederate medical care for wounds received and had been attended by the niece of Senator Hill. Afterward, La Grange was exchanged for a Confederate prisoner and returned to battle duty. This was an opportunity to return the kindness he was given.
To show their gratitude for sparing their homes, one of the Nancy Harts hosted a dinner for Col. La Grange, and he paroled some local prisoners so they could attend. Many women of the town cooked all night to provide the meal. The next morning the Federal troops marched out, taking various men of the town as prisoners of war. They were soon released, though, when it was learned that General Lee had surrendered.
LaGrange developed as a railroad center and as an industrial center for the textile industry which was established and grew from the late 19th century, peaking in the mid-20th century. The city was fortunate that as the textile industry declined, it was replaced with a diverse mixture of new industry, which provided steady local employment for a number of years.
The city maintained its position as a transportation hub with the completion of Interstates 85 and 185, which pass through LaGrange. This location has benefited the city’s development, by providing industrial and commercial access for businesses, such as a Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
Interface, the world’s largest manufacturer of carpet tile, was founded in LaGrange in 1973 and continues to have its largest manufacturing presence there. LaGrange is also the North American headquarters for Caterpillar’s forestry division. Just south of LaGrange in neighboring West Point, also in Troup County, KIA Motors has their only US assembly plant, and many of KIA’s suppliers are located in LaGrange.
The City of LaGrange is a full-service utility provider for the region, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, refuse collection, and telecommunication. The city was named “Intelligent Community of the Year” by the Intelligent Community Forum in 2000, joining other cities such as New York, Singapore, and Toronto in a very exclusive club.
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