Warner Robins was founded in 1942 from the community of Wellston. It was named for General Augustine Warner Robins of the United States Air Force. It was incorporated as a town in 1943 and as a city in 1956.
The 1940 census shows that the community of Wellston was sparsely populated and inhabited primarily by farmers and their families. Its most notable landmark was a stop on the railroad line. Wellston also had a small sawmill and a grocery store. Peach orchards covered parts of the surrounding land.
World War II soon changed this. The War Department made plans to build an air depot in the Southeast. With the assistance of influential U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson, Wellston community leader Charles Bostic "Boss" Watson worked with officials in Macon to make a bid to locate this air depot in Houston County. In June 1941, the U.S. government accepted this offer, which included 3,108 acres of land.
This air base was initially called Wellston Army Air Depot when it opened in 1942. The first commander was Colonel Charles E. Thomas. He wanted to name this depot in honor of his mentor Augustine Warner Robins, who was called by his middle name, Warner. Regulations prevented him from doing this, which required the base to be named after the nearest town. Not deterred by this, Colonel Thomas persuaded Boss Watson and the other community leaders to rename Wellston. So on September 1, 1942, the town was given the new name of Warner Robins. Soon thereafter, on October 14, 1942, the base was renamed to become Warner Robins Army Air Depot. The city has a unique name, shared with no other town in America.
Robins Air Force Base is not within the actual city limits of the town. Only U.S. Highway 129 (Georgia state highway 247) separates the base from the city.
Warner Robins is located at 32°36′31″N 83°38′17″W (32.608720, −83.638027). It is approximately 100 miles south of Atlanta.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.4 square miles (92 km2), of which, 35.1 square miles (91 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (0.82%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 66,588 people, 19,550 households, and 13,078 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,143.9 inhabitants per square mile (827.8/km2) . There were 29,084 housing units at an average density of 952.7 per square mile (367.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city included 50.00% White, 36.60% African American, 0.30% Native American, 2.60% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, .10% from other races, and 2.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.60% of the population.
There were 19,550 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,401, and the median income for a family was $44,217. Males had a median income of $33,030 versus $24,855 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,121. About 11.0% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.
In 2009, Business Week magazine named Warner Robins the best place in Georgia to raise a family. The ranking was bestowed again for 2010. The Warner Robins Area Chamber was named one of the top three chambers of commerce in the U.S. for a chamber in its division in 2009 by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association. In 2012, CNN Money named Warner Robins No. 7 on its Best Places To Live list for America's best small cities.
Warner Robins has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). It experiences hot, humid summers and generally mild winters, with average high temperatures ranging from 92.0 °F (33.3 °C) in the summer to 58.0 °F (14.4 °C) high during winter. Snowfall is a moderately rare event. Warner Robins-area historical tornado activity is slightly above the state average. It is 86% greater than the overall U.S. average.
Warner Robins is home to the Museum of Aviation, which honors the history of military aviation. It is located next to the Air Force base. The museum contains exhibits on military memorabilia, airplanes and ground vehicles, the Tuskegee Airmen and Operation Desert Storm. It is the second-largest aviation museum in the country. It is also the largest tourist attraction outside Atlanta in the state of Georgia.
Warner Robins residents claim that in 1958, Claude Lewis, director of the Warner Robins Recreation Department, invented the game of tee-ball. The first game was played in March of that year with 20 children participating. Lewis wrote rules for the new game and sent rule books out to recreation departments all over the country. In 2006, a field was dedicated and named for Lewis, "the father of tee-ball", at the Warner Robins American Little League complex.
Warner Robins Little League won the 2007 Little League World Series 3–2 against Tokyo, Japan.
On December 9, 2008 the Little League International Board of Directors unanimously voted for Warner Robins to become the new Southeast Region Headquarters of Little League Baseball and Softball. Games began to be played in Warner Robins in 2010.
The Warner Robins American Little League girls' softball team won the 2009 Little League Softball World Series by defeating Crawford, Texas, making Warner Robins the only Little League to have won both a baseball and a softball title.
The Warner Robins American Little League girls' softball team defended their 2009 championship by defeating Burbank, California in the 2010 Little League Softball World Series. By doing so, Warner Robins became only the fourth Little League program to produce back-to-back championship teams, and the first since Waco, Texas, which had won in 2003–2004.
The official motto of Warner Robins is "EDIMGIAFAD", which is an acronym for "Every Day In Middle Georgia Is Armed Forces Appreciation Day". (originally: Every Day In Middle Georgia Is Air Force Appreciation Day). The coining of this phrase is attributed to Dr. Dan Callahan, a local civic leader. In 2010, Dr. Callahan and a group of community leaders launched an effort to change the acronym to "EDIUSAIAFAD", as part of a movement to take the sentiment national: "Every Day in the USA is Armed Forces Appreciation Day".
Robins Air Force Base is one of the largest employers in the state of Georgia and directly contributes over 25,000 military, civil service, and contractor jobs to the local economy. It has provided economic stability for Warner Robins that has benefited the entire Middle Georgia community.
The city of Warner Robins is working on redeveloping and renewing areas that have suffered from urban decay and/or abandonment through neglect and city growth. The city's plans include development of a centralized downtown center "for pedestrian-oriented businesses, culture and community gathering" to be re-established at Commercial Circle in order to "connect commerce and culture back to Downtown."
In May 2009 Warner Robins was listed by the Adversity Index as one of four Georgia metro areas that have had less than nine months of recession over the past fifteen years and have only recently been affected by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–2009.
In June 2011, Warner Robins was listed in Wired magazine as one of12 small cities that are driving the "Knowledge Economy". Georgia was the only Southeastern state listed, and Warner Robins was one of two Georgia cities ranked (the other one being Hinesville-Ft. Stewart). The rankings featured small cities that are luring knowledge workers and entrepreneurs and which have both a relatively high median family income and a relatively high percentage of creative workers who drive the economy.
Houston County Hospital was dedicated on July 2, 1960 with 50 beds. The hospital was renamed Houston Medical Center in 1986 after renovations. The patient rooms were converted at this time from semi-private to private, with 186 beds available.
A new five-story northwest addition was completed in 2009, making a total of 237 beds.
Houston Medical Center is part of the Houston Healthcare system, which serves over 300,000 people annually.
High school football has long been a storied and celebrated pastime in Warner Robins, with the city laying claim to state championships, national championships, college stars and NFL players.
The annual Northside vs. Warner Robins game draws an estimated 21,000 fans and was named the #3 rivalry in the country by USA Today in 2006.
Warner Robins High School won two National Championships, in 1976 and 1981. They won four State Championships, in 1976, 1981, 1988 and 2004.
Northside High School was crowned State Champion in 2006, 2007 and 2014.
The Warner Robins Little Theatre was established in 1962 as a non-profit community theatre. Just thirty years later, this organization owned their theatre playhouse debt-free.
The theatre continues to thrive. Five main shows are produced every year. Occasionally workshops and other special events are held for the Middle Georgia community.
The bands Rehab, Stillwater, Doc Holliday Sugar Creek and Luke's Cabbage Store are based in Warner Robins.The Telegraph, daily
The Sun, a section of the Telegraph printed weekly devoted to news in Houston and Peach Counties
Houston Home Journal, twice weekly, the legal organ for Houston County
WMUB-LD, France 24
WBML (1350 AM), news/talk and high school sports
WRWR (107.5 FM), news/talk and high school sports
WNNG-FM (99.9 FM), ESPN and local high school sports
Eddie Anderson — professional football player
Russell Branyan — Major League Baseball player
James Brooks — professional football player
Betty Cantrell — Miss America 2016
Kal Daniels — Major League Baseball player
Bobbie Eakes — Emmy Award-nominated actress; singer
Phil Horan — former drummer in the post-rock band Maserati
Willis Hunt — senior federal judge for the U.S. Northern District of Georgia
Jessie James — pop singer
Mark Johnson — Major League Baseball player
Abry Jones — professional football player
Daniel-Leon Kit — entertainer, web personality
Amanda Kozak — Miss Georgia 2006
Kyle Moore — professional football player
David Perdue — U.S. Senator
Sonny Perdue — Governor of Georgia, 2003-2011
Victoria Principal — actress
Willie Reid — professional football player
Mike Richardson — professional football player
Robert Lee Scott, Jr. — U.S. Air Force Brigadier General and pilot; wrote autobiography God is My Co-Pilot
Ken Shamrock — professional MMA fighter and professional wrestler
Ron Simmons — professional football player and professional wrestler
Ben Smith — #22 overall in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Played DB for the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, and the Arizona Cardinals
Chansi Stuckey — professional football player
The portion of Warner Robins in Houston County is served by the Houston County School System. The portion of the city in Peach County is served by Peach County School District.Central Georgia Technical College
Fort Valley State University
Georgia College & State University
Georgia Military College
Middle Georgia State University
Houston County High School
Houston County Career and Technology Center
Northside High School
Warner Robins High School
Veterans High School (in nearby unincorporated Kathleen, Georgia)
Crossroads Center (alternative school)
On April 30, 1953 a F4 tornado with winds over 200 mph hit the city and portions of Robins Air Force Base, killing 18 people and injuring 300 more.
On the morning of April 1, 2016, a EF-1 tornado with winds over 90 mph hit the city. The damage included trees down, and trees landing inside homes. A viral video from Robins Air Force Base, which was hit by the tornado with moderate damage, showed the winds of the tornado with the siren going off in the background. The storm started in Taylor and Crawford County, which confirmed it as an EF-0 tornado that hit both counties. The system moved towards Houston County. No injuries or fatalities were reported.