As you drive around Newnan, Georgia, you cannot help but admire the majestic antebellum homes, the historic Carnegie Library and the lavish courthouse at its center. Of course, like any town in America, Newnan has come a long way since its early beginnings.
Originally Indian territory, the land now known as Newnan, was ceded to the state of Georgia by Creek Indian Chief General McIntosh during the 1820’s. The region was divided into 5 counties, one of which was Coweta named after the Cowetas or lower Creek Indians. The original county seat was Bullsboro, but in 1828, Newnan (named for General Daniel Newnan of North Carolina), became the county seat and was incorporated.
Newnan was home to a number of lawyers, doctors and merchants, as well as many successful large farmers and landowners. Due to this prosperity, Newnan was listed as being one of the wealthiest towns per capita in America. Additional commerce and industry included the passenger railroad line, the sawmill and the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company which built many of the county’s homes and business during the 1880’s until after the turn of the century.
Although the Civil War brought battlefields all over Georgia, the closest to Newnan was that of the Battle of Brown’s Mill, located just 3 miles south of town. General Joseph Wheeler led the Confederates and they defeated the northern troops in the July 1864 battle. Newnan did not suffer any massive Civil War destruction, but rather its College Temple, court house and several private homes were used as hospitals for both the troops.
Today, this beautiful town offers the opportunity to visit many of its historic homes and buildings. It is called the “City of Homes” and offers a Tour of Homes each spring.
Caswell House for the African American Museum
Photo Credits: Newnan Courthouse Picture by John Trainor