"The Beautiful Nowhere"
Sylvester started as a "beautiful nowhere" in 1893 and was first established as "Isabella Station". When Brunswick and Albany Railway came through southwest Georgia, the county seat was Isabella, which is located three miles north of the railroad. Slowly the center of gravity for trade and commerce shifted south along the railroad and Isabella Station became the economic engine of Worth County.
In 1894, the citizens voted to change the name from Isabella Station to Sylvester. On December 21, 1898 Sylvester was incorporated as a town. Sylvester grew rapidly in economic importance in the 1890's which caused the county seat to be officially moved here in 1904.
History in the Rails
The railroad has always been central to the history of Sylvester. Since 1835, efforts to build a railroad from Brunswick on the coast and west into south Georgia had been dealt continuous setbacks. The Brunswick and Florida Railway was completed to Waynesboro in 1860, and in 1861 it became the Brunswick and Albany Railway. The Brunswick and Albany Railroad was the single most important factor in opening up the interior of South Georgia for development.
Legacy of Old Engine 100
In May 1922, South Georgia businessman J. N. Pidcock organized the Georgia - Ashburn - Sylvester - Camilla Railroad
(G.A.S. & C.). The short line was known informally by loads as the "Gas Line". Old Engine 100 is a 1930 steam locomotive that ran the rails of the G.A.S. & C. Railway from 1930 to 1948 until she was replaced with the next generation of trains - The Diesel. Mr. Clarence W. Jackson of Ashburn, Ga. Was the engineer of Engine 100 from 1930 to 1941. Mr. Jackson was born in Rome, Ga. On July 17, 1884 and died February 3, 1942. He was married to Ms. Nora Pearl Mathis. The G.A.S. & C. Railway originally purchased the engine from the Baldwin Locomotive Company for $40,000.00.
On December 3, 1957, the G.A.S. & C. Board of Directors voted to donate "The Little Engine That Could" to the Worth County / Sylvester Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sylvester. Under the leadership of A.K. Booth, the engine first arrived on the grounds of Jeffords Park (formerly Sylvester Park) in October 1959. The engine was moved from the train station, down Sumner Street, to the park through the engineering of temporary, short tracts, picked up and placed one in front of the other, walking the engine "inch by inch" until reaching its final location in December 1959.
No longer tasked with hauling freight throughout Southwest Georgia, Old Engine 100 now enjoys her well deserved rest under a protective awning here in Jeffords Park. She has become a prominent
landmark in the Sylvester-Worth County community service as a steel gateway into this county's part.