Harlem, Georgia is famously known as the birthplace of Oliver Hardy, but the city of Harlem has historical riches that reach far beyond one actor.
The city of Harlem was founded in 1870 as a simple getaway from bustling Augusta. Before then, the main stop on the Georgia Railroad from Augusta to Eatonton was a town called Saw Dust, which was full of partying and liquor. Harlem was just a mile away from Saw Dust, so it became the perfect spot to rest for travelers and workers who didn’t want a night out on the town. Harlem was named after the city of Harlem, New York, which was an elite artistic area outside of New York City. In 1887, Saw Dust and Harlem merged.
Today, Harlem is a blend of old southern homes mixed with new developments as Columbia County is quickly filling up. The old-town charm of Harlem is appealing to homebuyers who want a new home at a decent price while living somewhere with a bit of history. The city contains around 3,000 residents and remains a small-town getaway from the busyness of the surrounding areas.
The biggest attraction in Harlem is the Laurel and Hardy Museum, which celebrates comedic legends Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The museum contains artifacts, memorabilia and a theatre to watch any of the 106 movies they made together. Parking and admission are free, so give it a try sometime! The museum is suitable for kids and adults of all ages. There is also a city-wide Oliver Hardy Festival on the first Saturday in October every year, which is a great way to experience Harlem and all its history.
For a classic southern dining experience, visit the Acorn Restaurant at Red Oak Manor. Everything is homemade and covers most American favorites.
There are plenty of local boutiques and small businesses from ice cream shops to coffee houses lining the streets of Harlem. Plan to spend a day out exploring this rich historic town and take a deep breath of the country air while you’re out of the city!