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National MainStreet Program

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National MainStreet Program

NewnanHistory

Newnan GA HistoryThe land that is now Coweta County was named for Chief William McIntosh of the Coweta Tribe of the Creek Indian Nation. Newnan, the county seat, was first settled in 1828 and is named for North Carolina Native General Daniel Newnan, who was a soldier and later became Georgia Secretary of State and a United States Congressman. The city was laid out in a grid pattern with a nine block central business district, the center of which was the courthouse. The streets were named for such famous Americans as Jackson, Jefferson, Washington and Madison.

Due in part to the success of the cotton industry, Newnan prospered at the turn of the century. Newnan's leading citizens invested in the railroad during the mid l800s, bringing economic prosperity to the town and establishing Newnan as one of the wealthiest towns per capita in the United States. The R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company, originally begun as a saw mill, won major construction contracts and was the contractor for a majority of the homes built in Newnan from the l880s until well after the turn of the century. In the l890s, the water works were built and electric street lamps were installed. During this time, brick buildings replaced the last wood framed structures on the square.

The Civil War came closest to Newnan in July 1864, when the battle of Brown's Mill occurred three miles south of town, resulting in the defeat of Federal forces under the command of General E.M. McCook by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler.

College Temple - the first college to offer a Master of Arts degree to women was used in the War Between the States as a hospital for wounded Confederate and Union troops, as was the courthouse and many local churches. Newnan was spared some of the ravages of the Civil War, and many historic homes, including General Wheeler's headquarters, still line the streets of the "City of Homes."

In the heart of Newnan's Downtown Commercial District, the Coweta County courthouse is an excellent example of Neo-Greek Revival architecture. The dome, which rises more than 100 feet, features clocks on all four sides. A bell in the tower announces each hour to the downtown area with quaint chimes. The courthouse is well known to visitors as the site of the murder trial of John Wallace, immortalized in the book Murder In Coweta County by Newnan native Margaret Anne Barnes. Her book was later made into a television movie starring Andy Griffith and Johnny Cash.

In addition to our rich antiquities, Coweta County has more recently produced several notables: Erskine Caldwell a celebrated writer, humorist Lewis Grizzard, cartoonist David Boyd, renowned pianist Charles Wadsworth, country music star Doug Stone, and country music legend Alan Jackson.

For more information on the history of Newnan and Coweta County,
visit the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society housed in the Male Academy Museum
30 Temple Avenue
Telephone: (770) 251-0207
Hours Tuesday- Thursday: 10am - Noon and 1pm - 3pm
Saturday and Sunday: 2pm - 5pm

www.nchistoricalsociety.org