Newnan, Georgia is a relatively small city located about 40 miles away from Atlanta. It was named after the general Daniel Newnan – incidentally, General Newnan was from North Carolina, not Georgia, but he fought Creek Indians in what became Georgian territory during the Creek War of 1812-14 and was later the Secretary of State of Georgia (and eventually a U.S. Congressman). The town of Newnan, despite being much smaller in terms of population than Atlanta, is actually about a decade older, having been established in 1828 whereas the Georgian capital took root in 1837.
The state of Georgia, which traces its origins back to 1733, used to be smaller than it is today. The land that includes Newnan, the County of Coweta, was diplomatically acquired from the Creek Indians in 1825. Newnan quickly became the county seat of Coweta County (1828). The Atlanta and West Point Railroad came to Newnan in 1850, bringing more business and prosperity to the town. The railroad would be very important in the city’s development. During the Civil War, the city was a hospital town for injured Confederate soldiers (mostly due to its position along the railroad), and so didn’t see any conflict. Interestingly, since it was mostly spared from the devastation sown by the Civil War, it retained a lot of its pre-war buildings and architecture, including many homes. For this reason, Newnan earned the nickname the “City of Homes.” Just three miles to the south of the city, however, the famous Battle of Brown’s Mill was fought as part of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign towards the end of the War. College Temple in Newnan was one of the first universities to offer a Master of Arts degree to women and was one of the buildings used for hospitalizing troops during the War.
After the war, Newnan’s economy had to adapt from its previous slave-based, cotton-picking economy, but it did this just fine like the rest of the South. The cotton textile industry boomed in the South after the War, and Newnan was no exception. By the 1890s electricity had come to the town, and as the 20th century rolled around the city began to implement telephone and sewage systems. Newnan didn’t escape the Great Depression unscathed as it had the Civil War but recovered relatively. Some residents of Newnan (those involved in the cotton textile industry) participated in the massive 1934 labor strike which took place across the United States, and the town was subject to a brief period of martial law under the National Guard.
Today, Newnan is an idyllic Southern city with a population of a little over 40,000. In 2001, the city won the City of Excellence Award from the Georgia Municipal Association.