Warner Robins: A city with deep ties to Georgia, military history

Warner Robins is a city that is rich in military and Georgia history / WGXA

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- The city of Warner Robins now has a population of nearly 67,000 people, according to the last census.

Once a small town, WGXA takes a look at how the city got its name and the connection to University of Georgia history.

"Before Warner Robins it was called Wellston," said Marsha Buzzell of the Warner Robins Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "Before Wellston it was called York, which makes sense because Georgia is the 13th colony, so it makes sense that it was called York."

The first trains started moving through Wellston in 1889, wen Georgia Southern and Florida Railroad opened between Macon and Perry.

Buzzell said the railroad brought people, a military case and development to a town whose name would soon change.

"A year after the base started here, Col. Thomas, who was the base commander here, was very enamored with Gen. Augustine Warner Robins," Buzzell said. "He was a World War I logistician. So Col. Thomas went to Boss Watson, the mayor at the time, and other officials and went to the state legislature to ask if the town could be changed from naming it Wellston to Warner Robins in honor of General Warner Robins."

Warner Robins became a town in 1943 and a city in 1956.

The War Department then built an air depot which later became Robins Air Force Base.

Military operations continued at Robins even after WWII.

Also adding to the city's history is the connection to the University of Georgia's mascot.

"One of the original Uggas--although he wasn't called Ugga, he was called Butch--one of the original mascots was from Warner Robins," Buzzell said.

Marby Smith's family owned the bulldog in the late 1940s but died in 1951.

"The dog was running loose during the off season in town. And that breed of dog is known for slobbering," Buzzell said. "Of course, law enforcement was not aware, they thought it was a rabid dog and that was a natural conclusion and that dog met an early demise."

Butch is buried along Watson Boulevard.

Longtime Warner Robins resident Guy Fussell made plans for a marker to honor Butch in 2004.

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