Forsyth City Hall is located at 26 North Jackson Street, Forsyth, GA 31029; phone: 478-994-5649.
The town of Forsyth came into existence in 1822, just after the creation of Monroe County. The town was incorporated and made the county seat by an act of the General Assembly on December 10, 1823. Forsyth was named in honor of John Forsyth, an eminent American political leader from Fredericksburg, Virginia. John Forsyth was best known for his role as a U.S. Minister to Spain from 1819-1923, where he assisted the Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, in the negotiations for the Adams-Oni's Treaty which began in 1819 and ended in 1821 with Spain ceding Florida to the United States.
The first commissioners of the City of Forsyth were: James S. Phillips, Henry H. Lumpkin, John E. Bailey, Anderson Baldwin, and Samuel Drewry. Land for the city was purchased from John T. Booth on February 18, 1823, for the sum of $700 for his 202 1/2 acre land lot, number 171. The town was laid off into lots of two and one-half acres each, which afforded ample room for garden plots and spacious green lawns. The city limits consisted of a circular area with a radius of 1/2 mile from the courthouse square. By 1827, Forsyth contained 70 houses and stores, an academy, a house of worship for Baptists, and a courthouse and jail. The first courthouse was built of timber in 1825. In 1896, the original timber courthouse was replaced by a brick building in the High Victorian Eclectic style, and is in use today.
Forsyth experienced intensive commercial growth between the mid 19th and early 20th centuries. This growth was brought to the area by the arrival of the Monroe Railroad in 1838, which was the first passenger railroad in Georgia which connected Forsyth to Macon; the 19th century cotton agriculture (farming and two cotton mills); and the opening of Tift College in 1849, the second oldest founded female college in the world.
When first chartered in 1849, Tift College was known as the Forsyth Female Collegiate Institute. Tift closed its doors after more than one hundred years in 1986, when it merged with Mercer University. Another notable educational institution was the Forsyth Normal and Industrial School which was founded in 1902 as church-sponsored project and became a state responsibility in 1922. In 1931 its name was changed to the State Teachers and Agricultural College, and its mission changed to concentrate on the preparation of black teachers. In 1939, the college merged with the Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School to become Fort Valley State College, which is now known as Fort Valley State University and maintains its campus in Fort Valley.