Alpharetta is located in metropolitan Atlanta, approximately twenty-five miles north of the city in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains.
Natural springs attracted the Cherokee Indians to the area. After the state distributed the Cherokee lands to whites in an 1832 lottery, the spot became a stopover for white pioneers traveling between the mountain communities and the railroad terminus that was eventually named Atlanta. Trading posts were common, and bartering was a way of life.
Originally a conglomeration of tents called New Prospect Camp Ground, Alpharetta was incorporated in 1858, when it became the county seat for the newly created Milton County. Today many north Fulton County streets and roads—for example, Bates, Broadwell, Dorris, Hembree, Mansell, Maxwell, Mayfield, Phillips, Rucker, Webb, Wills—are named for the pioneering families of the Alpharetta area.
Milton County Years
The boundaries of Alpharetta were originally defined as one-half mile in every direction from the center of town. Area settlers, mostly Methodists or Baptists, were farmers, blacksmiths, millers, merchants, carpenters, ditchers, and the like. Some owned a few slaves. During the Civil War (1861-65) the men served on battlefields or in the home guard, but Union troops never came north of Roswell, approximately six miles to the southwest.
The courthouse anchored the town's crossroads, and the four streets stemming from it were
Fulton County Years
Gradually, annexations and the advent of Georgia 400, a major highway that bisected the city, resulted in a major economic and commercial shift. Alpharetta's population was 3,128 in 1980 but has grown to 57,551, according to the 2010 U.S. census.
Reflecting its phenomenal growth, as of 2002 Alpharetta had twenty-two hotels and motels; North Point Mall had become a focal point for new business offices, shops, theaters, and restaurants.
Walter G. Cooper, Official History of Fulton County (Atlanta: Walter W. Brown Pub. Co., 1934; reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1978), 728-31.
Caroline Matheny Dillman, Days Gone by in Alpharetta and Roswell, Georgia, 2 vols. (Roswell, Ga.: Chattahoochee Press, 1992-95).
Caroline Matheny Dillman, Menlo Park, California
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