Forest Park is located in Georgia's Clayton County. Originally settled in the 1820s and incorporated in 1908 under the name of Astor, the city's earliest residents were farmers and, as the city became a wood and water stop for the Macon and Western railroad, rail employees. Forest Park became known as "Stump Town" because of the abundance of tree stumps that remained in the city after the trees were cut down and given to the locomotives to be burned for fuel. Today, Forest Park is one of the Clayton County's largest cities, with industry and transportation making up a large part of the local economy. Farming also remains a stronghold in the surrounding areas. Forest Park covers 9.4 square miles and is home to approximately 21,000 residents.
Forest Park's elementary and secondary students are served by the Clayton County School District. The district is by far the largest in the state, with 63 schools. Its graduation rates are 10 percent lower than the average school district in Georgia.
There are also several local options for post-secondary eduation:
Forest Park began as little more than a stop on the railroad for local farmers and commuters who worked in Atlanta. Over time, however, the city began to attract business of its own, including retailers, service industries, nonprofits and corporations. With over 4,200 firms, Forest Park's private sector provides around 96 percent of the area's employment opportunities. Some of Forest Park's largest employers include Georgia Power and Clorox.
Forest Park is close to highways I-75, I-285 and I-675, making it easily accessible. It is also near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Due to Forest Park's location and proximity to the railroad, many of its residents commute to the downtown Atlanta area.
Although its residents enjoy easy access to the varied cultural offerings of downtown Atlanta, Forest Park also offers its own local attractions. They include:
Forest Park is part of Clayton County, the setting of Margaret Mitchell's Southern epic "Gone With the Wind." Attractions centering around Clayton County's reputation as the heart of the true South abound throughout the area.
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