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Our History, Past & Present

Palmetto, as we know it today, was first established as Johnson's Store in Coweta County on May 8, 1833, at which time Mr. John H. Johnson was appointed the first postmaster.  The name was changed from Johnson's Store to Palmetto on December 8, 1847.  The community was located in Campbell County sometime during the period of 1850 to 1851.

The town of Palmetto was chartered by a State Legislative Act approved on February 18, 1854.  The name is said to have been conferred upon this community by a company of South Carolina Soldiers enroute to the Mexican War.  They said the community reminded them of their state, the "Palmetto State".  The following residents were named as the first commissioners: Willis P. Menefee, Samuel Swanser, James J. Beall, Ruben Millsapps, and John M. Edwards.  The town existed as an unincorporated community for several years prior to the date of the charter.  Campbell County was abolished and on January 1, 1932 Palmetto became part of Fulton County.

Palmetto is located 25 miles south of Atlanta on U.S. Highway 29 and on the Atlanta and West Point railroad.  The railroad was completed from Atlanta to Palmetto in 1851 and extended to West Point, Georgia two or three years later.  Palmetto is located on the highest point above sea level between Atlanta and New Orleans.  the railroad is built on a water shed divide.  All water falling east of the railroad flows into the Flint River and all water falling west of the railroad flows into the Chattahoochee River.

  • In 1828 Ramah Baptist Church, the oldest church in Old Campbell County, was organized and presently exists.
  • On September 25, 1864, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, reviewed General John B. Hood's troops at Palmetto after the battle of Atlanta.  He made his last speech to the troops at that time.
  • Some of the substantial families in this community during the pioneer days included the Menefees, Ballards, Cochrans, Steeds, Astins, Barfields, Mobleys, Ellingtons, Smiths, Mixons, Sims, Dukes, Watkins, Whittakers, Bullards, Harrisons, and Tatums.
  • Palmetto's first house was built in 1829 by Lacy Griffith.  His home also became a stagecoach stop on the route form Atlanta to Newnan.
  • A public school system was established in 1885.
  • Palmetto had three cotton gins which ginned approximately 10,000 bales a year.  Palmetto also had two cotton warehouses, the oldest being built in 1889.
  • St. Elmo Hotel, used as a summer resort, was being built in 1890.
  • In 1909 B. W. Cochran built the first Palmetto electric light system supplying power from his father's old water mill west of town.
  • The Palmetto Cotton Mill was owned and operated by C. E. Riley and his family of Boston, Mass. for approximately 90 years.  The C. E. Riley Elementary School was named for the president of the cotton mill.

The history of Palmetto is filled with many historical events.  From its beginning Palmetto has experienced many years of prosperity and achievements.

City of Palmetto • P.O. Box 190, 509 Toombs Street • Palmetto, GA 30268 • (770) 463-3377 •
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