Villa Rica, Georgia
Positioned about 35 miles west of downtown Atlanta, Villa Rica is a city straddling Carroll and Douglas counties in the state of Georgia. It lies in the northeastern part of Carroll County and northwestern section of Douglas County, with more than half of the city lying in the former. It boasts a rich heritage and has attracted many people in recent years with adequate provision of essential amenities and comparatively low cost of living.
The Villa Rica area was ceded in 1825 by the Creek Indians, who were the original inhabitants, with the second Treaty of Indian Springs. It was settled in 1826 when farmers and gold miners arrived here from the states of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The community was then known as Hixtown, named after a tavern operator in the area and incorporated in 1830. Hixtown and Cheevestown, which is located about a mile south, came together at the present location after the construction of the railroad in 1882. The name was changed at incorporation to Villa Rica, meaning “rich village” in Spanish and indicating newly-discovered gold deposits in the area.
Dubbed the “City of Gold,” Villa Rica lays claim to being the location of the first Gold Strike in the state of Georgia and this is captured visibly in the city. Gold was discovered here in 1826, the same year Carroll County was established and named for Charles Carroll, who was then the last living Declaration of Independence signatory. The area boasted around 20 active gold mines in 1832, with more than 2,000 people living there. Gold supplies were largely exhausted by 1860.
Villa Rica is situated on the ridgeline between the Chattanooga and Tallapoosa river basins. It has Temple located about 6 miles west and Douglasville 10 miles east. The community has a humid subtropical climate featuring hot and humid summer months and mild-chilly winters. On average, the coolest month of the year is January and the warmest is July.
The population of the city stood at almost 15,000 as of 2015, significantly higher than the 4,134 residents recorded in the 2000 census. The figures were below 4,000 for much of its more than 190-year history despite proximity to downtown Atlanta. But interest in the area by developers witnessed a rise, starting from the 1990s, with special focus on the area around Val-Da-Mar and Stockmar lakes. This led to the creation of Mirror Lake, which has grown to become one of the most popular communities in Villa Rica, adding about 3,000 homes. Other popular communities in the city include Fairfield Plantation and the Georgian.
Public schools in Villa Rica are managed by both the Carroll County School District and Douglas County School District. These schools include Ithica Elementary School, Mirror Lake Elementary School, Villa Rica Middle School, Bay Springs Middle School and Villa Rica High School.
A major attraction in the city is the Pine Mountain Gold Museum, a landmark which lets visitors into its rich gold-mining history. You will be thrilled by the amazing architecture in the Historic Downtown, which is now home to the Dutch-style Wicks Tavern, the oldest commercial building in West Georgia.
Villa Rica is a wonderful city rich in historical heritage and boasts a historic downtown featuring many great restaurants and shops. It offers a lot to do in your spare time and attracts many people with relatively low cost of living and access to excellent healthcare among others.