To preserve and enhance the downtown area as the heart of
East Point, communicating a sense of place, community pride and heritage, while providing for a successful business and
Downtown Flashback Feature
Each month, the East Point Historical Society provides an article for the "Flashback Feature" for the Downtown Newsletter. Each article highlights a piece of East Point's vibrant history. More information about East Point's history is available at the East Point Historical Society located at 1685 Norman Berry Drive, East Point, GA 30344. You can contact them at (404) 767-4656 or visit www.eastpoinths.org. All "Flashback Features" will be archived on the website and can be accessed at any time.
A Look At The Early Days Up To 1900
The City of East Point, Georgia is celebrating the 125th Anniversary of its founding (1887 to 2012). However, our roots go back more than 65 years before 1887. The land on which we are situated was acquired by the State of Georgia in 1821 in the Treaty of Indian Springs from the Creek Indians. From this land acquisition five new counties were created: Henry, Dooly, Fayette, Houston and Monroe.
It was in the 14th Land District of the new Henry County that our community began to take shape. Through the 1820’s and 1830’s the farmers and settlers came. By the 1840’s/1850’s the railroads were in place. Railroads came to East Point on their way to Atlanta. In 1845 the Macon and Western Railroad (later the Central of Georgia Railroad) completed construction of its line from Macon to Atlanta. The Atlanta and La-Grange Railroad (later the Atlanta and West Point Railroad) played an important role in giving East Point its name. This line gave the area additional rail service and created a boom for industries located in East Point. The area around the junction of the two rail-roads became known as east point because the location was the eastern point of con-struction of the Atlanta and LaGrange Railroad’s tracks. There was no formal name, but was simply a geographical reference in the Railroad Chief Engineer’s report. The name East Point first occurred in official records when a United States Post Office was estab-lished here on March 13, 1851.
East Point has resided in three different counties. First, Henry County (1821 to 1822). Then we were merged into the newly formed DeKalb County (1822 to 1853) and finally became a part of present day Fulton County (1853 to present).
Through the 1850’s farming flourished, homes were built and our community was growing. Then in 1861, the devastation of war came to East Point and for four years the peo-ple dug in, hung on and survived. These were hardy pioneers and after 1865 rebuilding and emergence began anew.
Through the late 1860’s and the 1870’s we had our first churches. Businesses that were open included a general store, a shoe repair shop, a blacksmith shop, a drug store and three or four saloons. There was also a jug factory and a “National Distillery.” Of several mills in the greater East Point area the two closest in, being little more than a half mile apart, were the Thomas W. Connally grist mill just off of present day Connally Drive in the area we know as “Dead Man’s Curve”. Then there was the John L. Conley mill located in the heart of “Frog Hollow” on the Central Park School site. This mill ginned cotton and ground corn meal for the government distillery just downstream.
In the 1880’s, talk turned to the formation of a City of East Point and after some years of planning the dream became reality. The town of East Point received its charter on August 10, 1887. The town’s boundaries formed a rectangle extending three-fourths of a mile north of the junction of the railroads, five-eighths of a mile south of the junction and a half-mile east and west of this point. The government was to consist of a board of seven aldermen to be chosen annually in elections conforming to those by which members of the Georgia General Assembly were elected. The townspeople were to elect a chairman of the first Board of Alderman and any other officer needed to govern the town, such as a marshal or treasurer. The marshal was to be the only paid officer.
Over the next few years the Charter was amended to add greater powers and responsibilities such as the authority to provide for public services, utilities and schools. In 1896 the city’s first school, “Central School,” was built on the site of our present day City Hall. In 1899, the city established the first official Volunteer Fire Department. Law enforcement continued under the Town Marshall until 1907 with the changeover to a Police Department and a Police Chief. By 1900 we had reached a population in excess of 1,300 and were well on our way.
- Charles Strickland, President , East Point Historical Society