|Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
Plains High School, where the 39th President of
the United States attended school, is now part of
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.
Jimmy Carter NHS
Jimmy Carter National
Historic Site focuses on the
roll of community, school and
home in the life of a President.
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site - Plains, Georgia
Presidential History in Plains, GA
|Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Updated May 11, 2012
Plains Depot & History
The two-year campaign that
carried Jimmy Carter from
Plains to Washington was
launched from the historic
Carter Boyhood Home
The Jimmy Carter Boyhood
Farm is part of the park and
can be visited daily.
(Photo by Lauren Pitone)
Visitors to Jimmy Carter National Historic
Site in Plains often are surprised to learn that
the national park area focuses more on
community, education and family than it does
on the policies of the 39th President.
Located in the Georgia farm country not far
from the preserved Civil War prison camp
site at Andersonville, Jimmy Carter National
Historic Site interprets the boyhood and life of
the man Americans elected to lead the nation
in the wake of the Watergate scandals.
Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.) was
born in Plains on October 1, 1924. His father,
Earl Carter, farmed and ran a business. His
mother, Lillian Carter, was a nurse. Few U.S.
Presidents have maintained close ties to the
places they were born and raised, but Jimmy
Carter is the exception.
The 39th President grew up on a farm just
outside plains, attended Plains High School
and still calls Plains home today. His life has
been a remarkable journey.
When Carter was four years old he moved
with his family to a white frame farm house in
Archery, a small community four miles west
of Plains. "My life on the farm during the Great
Depression," he wrote in 1975, "more nearly
resembled farm life of fully 2,000 years ago
than farm life today."
And so it did. Jimmy Carter crew up during
the days of the Great Depression when
poverty and desperation descended like a
dark cloud over the farms and small towns of
the South. He gathered with other family
members around a radio to listen in to the
distant voice of President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt and his famed "Fireside Chats."
Carter saw first hand the impact of FDR's
New Deal on the people of the South and
how it brought roads, schools, parks and
electricity to the region. Many of his later
policies grew from seeds planted in those
The Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm, where the
future President lived from 1928 until he left
for college in 1941, is preserved as part of
the national historic site and can be visited
Plains High School, where Carter obtained
his secondary education, is now the official
State School of Georgia. It also serves as the
visitor center/museum for the park. Visitors
here learn as much about teachers and other
children as they do about the 39th President.
Beautifully restored to its 1930s appearance,
the school offers visitors the chance to step
back through time and walk through the
hallways and classrooms of another era.
They learn how teachers and the citizens of
Plains have played a critical role in teaching
the young people of the community that with
determination and hard work they can
achieve their dreams.
One popular exhibit includes an assignment
completed by the future President when he
was just five years old. He wrote in it that his
goal was to attend and graduate from the
U.S. Naval Academy. It was a dream he
accomplished in 1946.
Other exhibits include Jimmy Carter's Nobel
President Carter in Office
Carter was elected to the
World's most powerful office
but is known in Plains as a
neighbor and friend.
(Library of Congress)
The historic little town of
Plains will always be "Carter
Country," a nickname earned
during the 1970s.
Historic Sites near Plains, Georgia
From the school, a short walk or drive takes
visitors to the downtown area of Plains where
American flags and a large red, white and
blue sign reminds all who pass that the little
town is home to the 39th President of the
Carter served in the U.S. Navy as part of
Admiral Hyman Rickover's famed nuclear
submarine service and was the senior officer
of the pre-commissioning crew of the
Seawolf, America's second nuclear sub.
Carter married Rosalynn Smith of Plains in
1946 and the two lived the life of a military
family until 1953 when Earl Carter died. With
little choice, the future President gave up his
dream career to leave the Navy and come
back home to operate his father's seed and
farm supply company.
He went on to serve on the local school
board, the hospital board and the library
board. Elected to the Georgia State Senate in
1962, he ran for Governor in 1966, but lost to
segregationist Lester Maddox. Over the next
four years Carter gave hundreds of speeches
across Georgia and in 1970 was elected
His stands against segregation and populist
leadership led him to be named one of the
"New Southern Governors," along with Gov.
Reuben Askew of Florida.
From the historic Plains Depot, preserved
today and open to the public, he planned his
long-shot 1976 campaign for the White
House. On November 2, 1976, he defeated
Gerald R. Ford to become the 39th President
of the United States.
The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site today
traces the life of the man who continues to
call Plains his home. Its sites and exhibits
tell the story of how community, faith and
neighbors inspired the life of a farm boy from
Georgia. Please click here for directions,
hours and to learn more.