Fayette is the seat of Fayette County and was originally named LaFayette in honor of Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de LaFayette. It is located in the northwest-central section of the state.
Fayette County Courthouse The area that would become Fayette was first settled in the early nineteenth century and comprised the area that is the present-day Old Town section of the city. Originally known as La Fayette, the town’s name was officially changed to Fayette Court House and incorporated as a town on January 15, 1821; it was designated as the county seat at this time. One of the earliest houses in the town was built by John C. Moore, a probate judge, and still stands today on Elyton Road. The Richmond and Danville Extension Company built a line connecting Fayette to the rest of the rail lines of the Georgia Pacific Railroad in the year 1890.
Throughout its early history and into the twentieth century, Fayette’s economy centered on agriculture and shipping of goods. As with many former agricultural centers in the state, Fayette shifted and diversified its economy in the mid-twentieth century to include manufacturing of such goods as clothing, hardwood flooring, and truckbeds, and timber farming. The Golden Eagle Syrup Manufacturing Company has been producing syrup in the same location in the city since 1928.
Fayette’s population according to 2020 Census estimates was 4,329. Of that number, 63.8 percent identified themselves as white, 29.1 percent as African American, 5.5 percent as two or more races, 1.5 percent as Asian, 1.0 percent as Hispanic, and 0.1 as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The city’s median household income was $30,313, and per capita income was $23,931.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Fayette was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (36.3 percent)
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.8 percent)
- Retail trade (14.7 percent)
- Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (7.2 percent)
- Wholesale trade (3.9 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (3.6 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (2.7 percent)
- Public administration (2.6 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.4 percent)
- Construction (1.9 percent)
- Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (0.9 percent)
Schools in Fayette are part of the Fayette County Public School System. The city has one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school as well as one K-12 school. Bevill State Community College, a two-year higher-education institution, maintains a campus in Fayette.
Fayette lies at the junction of U.S. Highway 43, which runs north and east from the town, State Highway 171, which runs south from the town, and State Highway 18, which runs east-west. CSX operates a rail line through the town as well. The city of Fayette operates Richard Arthur Field Airport, which serves general aviation, as does the privately owned Charlie Wilkes Airport.
Events and Places of Interest
Fayette Art Museum The Fayette Art Museum and Civic Center features gallery, large event, and performance spaces. The facility contains more than 3,500 pieces of art, many of which were created by local folk artists such as Fayette natives Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Lois Wilson, Benjamin Perkins, and Sybil Gibson. The Fayette County Depot Museum, housed in a historic train station, interprets the city’s and county’s history. Every August, the museum hosts an annual arts festival. Guthrie Smith Park, a 100-acre facility, offers visitors athletic fields, picnic areas, walking trails, and a 10-acre lake.