Businesses and homes lined the original town square. Shiloh Baptist Church, founded in 1828, sat five miles southwest of the town and eventually moved into Fayetteville as the current First Baptist Church. A rail fence and watering troughs in town serviced horses and horse-drawn buggies and wagons. One block away from the courthouse stood the muster grounds for the local militia. By 1830 five major routes had made Fayetteville an important crossroads.
In the 1840s S. R. Minor launched the Fayetteville Advertiser, and two schools, three stores, five barrooms, several mechanics, and a printing shop dotted the town. The Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House, a two-story Greek-revival home that today houses a museum, was erected in 1855 by the uncle of Old West icon John Henry "Doc" Holliday. Two years later the home became the site of Fayetteville Academy.
On July 29, 1864, Union general Edward M. McCook led 3,600 cavalry against a Confederate supply train in Fayetteville. The Union troops captured close to 400 Confederates, who were working the 500 wagons and guarding the supplies. McCook's men burned the wagons and slaughtered 800 mules. Confederate general Joseph Wheeler led his own cavalry to free the prisoners at the Battle of Brown's Mill, on July 30-31, near Newnan. A Confederate monument, erected on April 26, 1934, stands at the courthouse today.
The arrival of the railroad, later known as the Atlanta and Florida line, in 1888 spurred recovery in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Fayette County News opened its doors in 1886 and has served the area ever since. Around the same time, the first gas lamps appeared, followed by electricity and the first public water system in the 1920s.
At the turn of the twentieth century, A. O. Blalock opened the first bank in the county, the Bank of Fayetteville, and the area's first phone was in his house.
Retail trade, manufacturing, and wholesale trade are the top industries. Although there are few full-time farmers left, various agricultural crops are still produced. Efforts have been launched to revitalize the downtown Main Street area, and the city hosts multiple festivals each year, including the Fayetteville Bluegrass Blast, the Old Courthouse Art Show, the Main Street Festival, and the Christmas in Fayetteville festival.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the city's population was 15,945, an increase from the 2000 population of 11,148. Proximity to Atlanta is responsible for much of its recent growth.
Carolyn C. Cary, ed., The History of Fayette County, 1821-1971 (Fayetteville, Ga.: Fayette County Historical Society, 1977).
Fayette County Historical Society, The Fayette County Georgia Heritage Book (Waynesville, N.C.: Walsworth, 2003).
Varney Graves, On the Square: Vignettes of History . . . as Appeared in Fayette County News (Fayetteville, Ga.: Fayette County News, 1980).
Robert E. Luckett Jr., University of Georgia
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