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Duluth City


Duluth City Hall is located at 3167 Main Street, Duluth, GA 30096; phone: 770-476-3434.

Beginnings [1]

The name of the city of Duluth, Minnesota, was inspired by a French captain and explorer, Daniel Greysolon Du Luth (1636-1710). He was born in Saint Germain Laval (Loire-France), a small village about fifty miles from Lyons. He negotiated and signed peace between Saulters and Sioux nations in the area of the city of Duluth, Minnesota, on September 15th, in 1679. The city was called Duluth in his memory. He died in Montreal in 1710.

In early eighteenth century Georgia in the area of the current City of Duluth, there were no known white settlers. The Duluth area was then a part of the Cherokee Indian territory and was an important crossroads used by the native Americans. In 1818 Gwinnett County was created by an act of the General Assembly of Georgia and the area was opened to white settlers.

In 1821, Evan Howell, the city of Duluth's forefather, developed the town of Howell Crossing that later evolved into a major artery for the railroad. With the visionary acumen of his grandson, Evan P. Howell, changes were on the horizon in 1873. The opportunity to build and link a railway system from North to South was about to unfold. Representative J. Proctor Knott delivered a speech to the United States House of Representatives entitled, "The Glory of Duluth." The pitch of his presentation weighed heavily with Congress and consequently a bill to finance the building of the railroad from Howell Crossing to Duluth, Minnesota was enacted. Grateful for the opportunity to build on a vision, Howell deemed it appropriate to rename the town of Howell Crossing "Duluth."

At the time that Evan Howell came to the area, there was only one road opened in the section. This was the Peachtree Road, an offshoot of an old native American trail that ran along the bridge south of the Chattahoochee River. The road had been surveyed and constructed during the War of 1812 and connected Fort Daniel with the fort at Standing Peachtree, 30 miles down river.

Howell realized that more roads were needed in order for the area to develop, so he obtained permission in February 1833 to construct a road from the Chattahoochee River across his land to intersect Peachtree Road. This intersection became known as Howell's Cross Roads and was known by this name for forty years.

Howell ran his own plantation and cotton gin by ferry, and he became the town's first merchant. There are no known descendants with the Howell name currently in Duluth; however, he was the great-grandfather of the late Jack and Calvin Parsons and other descendants who became publishers of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper.

Several important dates in the history of the City of Duluth are recounted below:

  • 1821 The Cherokee Indian Territory was settled by Evan Howell, the first successful farmer and merchant of Duluth. He moved here from Cabarrus County, North Carolina, and settled near the Chattahoochee River on the northern boundary of the new county. He built his home and began working to bring his people into this part of the county.
  • 1871 The railroad came to Duluth and boosted the economy. With it came new prosperity and growth. The Methodist Church formed in Duluth.
  • 1873 The town name was changed to Duluth following completion of the railroad. Duluth was named as a joke after Duluth, Minnesota when Congressman J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky made fun of the name. Today there is a Proctor Square and a Knott Street.
  • 1876 The official Charter of Duluth was approved by the Georgia General Assembly.
  • 1886 The Baptist church formed in Duluth.
  • 1870 Around this time, the first public school was built in Duluth. The first brick school was built in 1907, which was destroyed by fire in 1935.
  • 1880 First Mayor elected in Duluth, John Knox, Served until 1885.
  • 1904 First bank built in Duluth, The Bank of Duluth.
  • 1906 The city was officially incorporated as the City of Duluth.

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