The History of Warner Robins, Georgia

The History of Warner Robins, Georgia

Warner Robins GA was founded in the year 1942 when Wellston, a small farming community was renamed after a general in the United States Army Corps named Augustine Warner Robins. The census data from 1940 shows that Wellston was a sparsely populated community that was made up mostly of families and farmers. The most memorable landmark in the community was a railroad stop. There was also a grocery store and a small sawmill in the town. The surrounding land was covered in peach orchards.

When World War II erupted, the War Department planned to construct an air depot to be situated in the Southeastern United States. A community leader of Wellston named Charles Bostic “Boss” Watson collaborated with officials from Macon to present their bid for the air depot to be located in Houston County. Boss Watson was assisted by Carl Vinson, a U.S. Representative who was quite influential at that time. The Government of the United States accepted the offer in June 1941 including 3,108 acres of land.

When the Air Base opened in 1942, it was called the Wellston Army Air Depot. Colonel Charles E. Thomas had a desire to name the depot after Augustine Warner Robins, his mentor but there were rules against that. The requirement was actually for the base being named for the town closest to the base. Colonel Thomas would not be deterred by this rule, he convinced Boss Watson as well as other leaders in the community into renaming the town of Wellston. The town was renamed Warner Robins on September 1, 1942 and then on October 14, 1942, the air based followed suit and renamed their facility Warner Robins Army Air Depot. This unique city name is not shared with any other place in the entirety of the United States of America.

Warner Robins Air Force Base is located across the U.S. Highway 129 and not within the boundaries of the city. The highway is the boundary and it runs between the city and the Base on the other side of the highway. In 2018 a project was announced for a 200-megawatt, 2000-acre solar panel facility by First Solar which would be located to the east of the City and would be the biggest facility in the southeastern U.S. Also, in 2018 a water park known as Rigby’s Water World was opened on the southeast tip of the town.​

Strange but True

There is a cemetery that is in a parking lot. There is little information regarding the cemetery, but it was discovered in 2005 by an archaeologist who was doing some research in the area for a commercial developer. The cemetery was unmarked and abandoned and was in the exact location where Wal-Mart was planning to build a new Super Center. State law did not prohibit construction around cemeteries if all graves are preserved. Construction commenced with the installation of a retaining wall around the cemetery and the land was regraded with the surrounding surface being paved for a parking lot.

Warner Robins was designed to be built into a perfect circle. Over many months of planning the town plan had it being built in the shape of a massive wheel with the main streets running out like the spokes in the hub and framed by a large and beautiful central park. On one side of the wheel are residential units only and the other side are theatres, stores, and other commercial operations.

In 1990 the space shuttle Discovery landed at the air force base located at Warner Robins; however, it was not after a space flight. The Air Force Base at Warner Robins does not have a long enough runway to provide enough distance for the necessary slowing down of a shuttle returning from space. At the time the Space Shuttle Discovery was being flown in piggyback style on a Boeing 747 specially outfitted to carry the shuttle. There are only 3 official landing sites for NASA and those are White Sands Space Harbor, Kennedy Space Center, and Edwards Air Base. This special NASA Boeing jet was transporting the space shuttle Discovery to its base at Cape Canaveral, Florida when it needed to make an overnight stop at the air force base at Warner Robins due to bad weather at Cape Canaveral.