For the first years after Georgia became a state, its capitol was located in Louisville. But on December 12, 1804, the state legislature voted to designate Milledgeville as the permanent capital of Georgia.
A new and carefully planned city had elements of both Savannah and Washington, D.C., in its design. Milledgeville was centrally located to much of the growing state. It was founded in 1803 around a series of beautiful squares and featured wide streets and a high, healthy location.
The highest point in the city was reserved for Statehouse Square, where construction
began on the new capitol building in 1805.
Although the capitol building was not yet complete, the Georgia Legislature met here for the first time in 1807. A train of 15 wagons brought the archives and treasury from Louisville, with troops providing an armed escort for the entire distance.
As the State Capitol of Georgia, the building hosted the state's Secession Convention in
early 1861 and it was here that the delegates voted in favor of seceding from the Union on
January 19, 1861.
During the Civil War, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's army occupied the city of Milledgeville on November 23, 1864. While the Old Capitol Building was left standing, armories and magazines on Statehouse Square were destroyed. Union soldiers convened a mock legislative session in the building and "repealed" the state's Ordinance of Secession.
The post-war legislature approved $8,000 to repair damages to the building caused by
Sherman's army. However, the building's days as State Capitol were numbered and the Reconstruction legislature voted to move the capitol to Atlanta in 1868.
The building was used as courthouse of Baldwin County from 1871 until 1879, when it
was turned over to the Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College. The school changed its name to Georgia Military College in 1900 and remains a thriving educational institution today.