Q: I know about the gorgeous Yoshino cherry blossom trees that bloom every spring in Macon, but what are the namesakes of Macon and Warner Robins?

A: Warner Robins celebrates its 75th anniversary this spring, and it's home to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia's largest industrial complex.

But if you were to visit the area in 1821, you would find a modest middle Georgia farming community called York. York did not have much more than a federal post office and a country store with no military personnel in sight. About 18 miles north, you would find Fort Benjamin Hawkins, a settlement that became Macon.

In 1823, the city of Macon was officially founded, taking the name of Nathaniel Macon, a prominent congressman from North Carolina.

Although Georgians chose the name for both the middle Georgia city and a nearby county, the name Macon is far from unique to our state. Almost a dozen other cities and counties celebrate the same namesake, from Alabama to Illinois. Nathaniel Macon died in 1837 in North Carolina.

While Nathaniel Macon influenced many place names, Brig. Gen. Augustine Warner Robins holds a special distinction as the inspiration for just one city, Warner Robins.

In 1865, a railroad route linking York to Macon was established by William H. Wells, and the people of York changed the community's name to Wellston. Wellston was home to a small community and land rich with peach orchards and pecan groves. But the coming of World War II changed Wellston's purpose, as well as the town's designation.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Macon-area officials had convinced the U.S. War Department in the early 1940s to build an airfield near Macon. The nearby whistle-stop town of Wellston was selected as the site for a U.S. Army aviation logistics depot.

Soon after it opened in 1942, the Wellston depot's first commander, Col. Charles E. Thomas, wanted the depot named in honor of his mentor, Robins. Robins was known as the "father of air force logistics" and died of a heart attack in 1940.

Because depots were traditionally named after the nearest town, Thomas petitioned to change Wellston's name to Warner Robins. In September 1942, the new name was adopted, and the Georgia General Assembly approved the name change and incorporated Warner Robins on March 5, 1943, according to GeorgiaInfo, an online almanac.

"We do have the uniqueness of being the only Warner Robins in the world, and the city has long marketed itself as the 'international city,' because so many residents had served in every area around the world," said George Brannen, a lifelong resident.

A parade to celebrate the city's 75th anniversary is set for March 24. And Macon's International Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 16-25.