A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 12, 2016
Georgia: Empire State of the South (nickname)

New York has been called the “Empire State” since at least 1830. Georgia has been called the “Empire State of the South” since at least 1840. “If not now, she soon must be the ‘Empire State’ of the South” was cited in print in 1844, and citations for the nickname became numerous beginning in 1847.

The term means that Georgia, with its large land mass and large amount of people, is the leading state of the South. The nickname is still used, although less frequently than in the 19th century.


(Oxford English Dictionary)
Empire State n. chiefly U.S. (a nickname for) the state of New York; also applied to other states with regional modifier, esp. to the state of Georgia (as Empire State of the South).
[1820 B. Silliman Remarks Tour Hartford & Quebec 65 Albany contains from ten to twelve thousand inhabitants, and is the second city in the State (we might almost say empire,) of New-York.]
1830 Poulson’s Amer. Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia) 9 Nov. 2/5 Mr. Richards, the Mayor of Philadelphia, then rose and said..’I present the following sentiment: “New York—The Empire State, and Emporium City“‘.
1860 Leisure Hour 29 Nov. 765/2 Illinois, the ‘Empire State’ of the mighty West.
1903 N.Y. Evening Post The saloon men of Tennessee have not, perhaps, the literary finish..of their brethren in the Empire State.
2008 N.Y. Rev. Bks. 9 Oct. 47/2 We, the empire state of the South, the jewel of the South, the great state of Georgia.

8 February 1840, Niles’ National Register (Washington, DC), pg. 377, col. 2:
GEORGIA.
Georgia rail roads. The energetic enterprise of the Georgians is worthy of all commendation. It appears this gallant state can act as well as think for herself, and that she is above asking for help to advance her grand system of internal improvements. In this respect, she is the “empire state” of the south.

10 September 1844, Georgia Telegraph (Macon, GA), pg. 2, col. 3:
Her immense resources, vast extent of territory, important productions, and rapidly growing population, all indicate, that if not now, she soon must be the “Empire State” of the South.

6 December 1847, Daily Chronicle & Sentinel (Augusta, GA), “Things in Milledgeville,” pg. 2, col. 1:
Did members come here for the purpose of determining on the expediency of a National Bank, the origin of war, or the claims of Mr. Clay, or any other man to the Presidency; or were they sent here to attend to the great interest of the State, to develope her vast resources, and to assist her onward in her career of improvement, usefulness and greatness, to the grand destiny which awaits he as empire State of the South?

9 December 1847, North American and United States Gazette (Philadelphia, PA), “The Trade of Georgia,” pg. 2, col. 2:
It is the report of the convention, published in the Georgia papers, the surprising fact is announced, that this empire state of the South has already expended twelve millions of dollars in railroads; and that six or seven hundred miles of these roads are now in actual use.

September 1848, The Genesee Farmer, pg. 216, col. 1:
Ag’l Fair.--Wool Growing at the South.
STONE MOUNTAIN, Georgia, Aug. 18, 1848.
One of the largest Agricultural Fairs ever held in Georgia has just closed at this famous summer retreat. The Association embraces members who reside in South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee, as well as in this Empire State of the South.

Chronicling America
3 November 1849, The Republic (Washington, DC), “An Important Event,” pg. 2, col. 5:
... Georgia is indeed the “Empire State of the South.”
Aug. (Ga.) Chron. and Sen.

OCLC WorldCat record
Kups of kauphy : a Georgia book, in warp and woof, containing tales, incidents, &c. of the “Empire State of the South,” with a slight sketch of that well-known and eccentric “colored-gemman, “Old Jack C--
Author: James Robinson; K. of K.; Kauphy.
Publisher: [Athens, Ga.] : The Author, 1853
Edition/Format: Print book : Fiction : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Knapsack notes of Gen. Sherman’s grand campaign through the empire state of the South
Author: George Sharland
Publisher: Springfield, Ill. : Jackson & Bradford, printers, 1865.
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : English

7 April 1866, The Daily Cleveland Herald (Cleveland, OH), “Geographical Nicknames,” pg. 2, col. 2:
... Georgia, Empire State of the South; ...

OCLC WorldCat record
Thomas county, the banner agricultural county of the Empire state of the south; the home of plenty, and a home for immigrants; where it is, what it is, and how to get there; also, something about Thomasville, the sanitarium, and beautiful “Garden City” of the South.
Author: George Fearn
Publisher: Thomasville (Ga.) Reid, 1884.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Atlanta : the leader in trade, population, wealth and manufactures in Georgia ... ; The advantages of Georgia, “the Empire State of the South”
Author: I W Avery
Publisher: Atlanta, Ga. : Constitution Pub. Co., printers, 1885.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Georgia, the empire state of the South : characteristics, climate, soil, agricultural products, fruits, minerals, water powers, manufactures, etc. Atlanta, the capital of the state : the railway and commercial center of the ten cotton states, her past, present and future
Author: E Hulbert; Atlanta Manufacturers’ Association.
Publisher: Atlanta, Ga. : Atlanta Manufacturers’ Association, 1887.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Georgia, the empire state of the South: what she is and will be ...
Author: Georgia. Department of Agriculture.
Publisher: [Atlanta], [Byrd Print. Co.] 1915.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Georgia : the empire state of the South
Author: Bradley Robert Rice; Harvey H Jackson; Georgia Historical Society.
Publisher: Northridge, California : Windsor Publications, 1988.
Edition/Format: Print book : Biography : English : First edition

Posted by Barry Popik
Other ExpressionsOther States • Friday, February 12, 2016 • Permalink