Villa Rica

Villa Rica is a city in Carroll and Douglas counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population was 4,134 at the 2000 census. By the 2010 census, the population had grown to 13,956, an increase of approximately 238%.

Early Villa Rica had a Wild West atmosphere complete with Indians, horse thieves, and vigilante justice. The Creek Indian village was located on Sweetwater Creek east of town. They were hunters, not warriors, and were friendly toward the white settlers eventually taking on work among the settlers. Townspeople were invited to Creek celebrations including a three day festival held each autumn with lots of food and activities. At some point later in the 1830s, the Creeks moved to either Arkansas or Oklahoma but local records are unclear whether or not this was by choice or part of the Trail of Tears.[7]

Villa Rica currently has three historical markers. The first one was erected in 1994 marking the birthplace of Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel songs. Dorsey learned about music as a child at Mt. Prospect Baptist Church. After leaving Villa Rica, Dorsey became a famous blues musician known as Georgia Tom. After the death of his first wife and son, he returned to religious music but the influence of the blues resulted in the creation of a new style of music which was eventually referred to as gospel.

The second historical marker was erected in 2003 with information about the grove, the ancestral home of the Tyson family. Having moved here in 1853, the Tysons are amongst the oldest families in Villa Rica.

The third historical marker was erected in 2007 on the 50th anniversary of the Villa Rica Explosion. The explosion was caused by a gas leak in Berry's Pharmacy which completely destroyed that building and three neighboring buildings. Twelve people died and twenty others were injured. In terms of injury and loss of life, the explosion remains the most catastrophic event in Carroll County history.

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