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Oglethorpe, the county seat of Macon County, was incorporated on December 14, 1849. The city is named for General James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population is 1,328.
Located 65 miles east of Columbus and 60 miles southwest of Macon, Oglethorpe was once one of the largest cities in the state, with an estimated population of 20,000 in the late 1850s. The city was decimated by smallpox and malaria epidemics in the 1850s and 1860s. Many houses were moved 20 miles south to Americus or burned during these epidemics.
The city occupies an area of about two square miles on the banks of the Flint River and has been the seat of Macon County since 1856 when the Central of Georgia Railway laid a new line through Oglethorpe and the county seat was moved from the town of Lanier.
Agriculture remains the backbone of Oglethorpe's economy. Weyerhaeuser has a large pulp-processing plant on the outskirts of the city. Oglethorpe has joined the Better Hometown/Main Street Program, led by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, in an attempt to revitalize its downtown, as the city reclaims its proud heritage.