10 Oldest Cities In Georgia

We scoured the internet to determine the towns and cities in Georgia that have been around the longest.

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You might think your town is old, but it probably isn’t the oldest in the country.

That is unless you live in St. Augustine, FL. Which looks pretty good for being 454 years old.

That’s older than America for those playing at home.

So that got us thinking, what is the oldest city in Georgia? And how old is that when you put it into perspective of St. Augustine or American Independence in 1776?

Because even if your Georgia city or town is old, it isn’t really all that old in the grand scheme of things. For example, the Pyramids in Egypt were built around 2600 BC, a cool 4100 years before St. Augustine.

And now that we have you thinking about how the time line of your existence is really kind of unimpressive on the timeline of history, let’s drop right into the analysis.

These are the 10 oldest cities and towns in the Peach State according to their ‘date of foundation’:

  1. Milledgeville (Photos)
  2. Fayetteville (Photos)
  3. Decatur (Photos)
  4. Newnan (Photos)
  5. Rome (Photos)
  6. Albany (Photos)
  7. Calhoun (Photos)
  8. Roswell (Photos)
  9. Barnesville (Photos)
  10. Alpharetta (Photos)

For being 214 years old, Milledgeville doesn’t look a day over 40. And the newest city in Georgia? That would be Sandy Springs — a brand spanking 1 years old.

Read on for a look at the oldest places in Georgia or feel free to check out the best places to live in Georgia or the safest.

How We Determined When A City Was Founded In Georgia… Or Is It Settled?

Surprisingly, there’s not a definitive data set that contains the dates of incorporation or settlement for cities in America. Put differently, there’s no official data set from the Census that contains when every place in America was founded.

So what did we do instead?

Use the internet’s version of official government data — Wikipedia of course!

For the majority of cities in Georgia, Wikipedia offers data on some kind of ‘date of foundation’ in the infobox. Unfortunately, because it’s Wikipedia and not a sprawling government bureaucracy, that can take the form of any of the following nomenclature (plus others):

  • Founded
  • Settled
  • Incorporated
  • Approved
  • Chartered

And then even more stuff — for example Atlanta has a ‘Terminus’ date, whatever that is.

If no ‘date of foundation’ was found in the infobox, we looked to the general text in the History section of the city for ‘Founded in XXXX’.

All in all, we were able to collect data on 115 out of 151 in Georgia with over 5,000 people. That’s good for a 76.2% completion rate.

We then ranked them from oldest to newest with Milledgeville turning out to be the matriarch of Georgia at the ripe old age of 214.

Here’s a look at the top ten and a snippet of their history from Wikipedia.

1. Milledgeville

Milledgeville, Georgia

Source: Public domain

Population: 18,892
Founded: 1804
Age: 214
Milledgeville, named after Georgia governor John Milledge (in office 1802–1806), was founded by European Americans at the start of the 19th century as the new centrally located capital of the state of Georgia. It served as the state capital from 1804 to 1868.

2. Fayetteville

Fayetteville, Georgia

Population: 17,069
Founded: 1822
Age: 196
Fayetteville was founded in 1822 as the seat of the newly formed Fayette County, organized by European Americans from territory ceded by force the Creek people under a treaty with the United States during the early period of Indian removal from the Southeast. Both city and county were named in honor of the Revolutionary War hero the French Marquis de Lafayette. Fayetteville was incorporated as a town in 1823 and as a city in 1909.

3. Decatur

Decatur, Georgia

Population: 22,022
Founded: 1823
Age: 195
Decatur was established at the intersection of two Native American trails: the Sandtown, which led east from the Chattahoochee River at Utoy Creek, and the Shallowford, which follows today’s Clairmont Road, and eventually crossed near Roswell. It was named for United States Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur.

4. Newnan

Newnan, Georgia

Population: 36,792
Founded: 1828
Age: 190
Newnan was established as county seat of Coweta County (replacing the defunct town of Bullsboro) in 1828 and was named for North Carolinian General Daniel Newnan. It quickly became a prosperous magnet for lawyers, doctors, other professionals, and merchants. Much of Newnan’s prosperity was due to its thriving cotton industry, which relied on slavery.

5. Rome

Rome, Georgia

Source: Public domain

Population: 36,029
Founded: 1834
Age: 184
People of the Mississippian culture are known to have inhabited the area from about 1000 CE. These people are believed to have died off from disease brought by exposure to the Spaniards in the late 16th century. The Cherokee migrated into the Southeast and established themselves in the early 17th century.

6. Albany

Albany, Georgia

Source: Public domain

Population: 74,892
Founded: 1838
Age: 180
The region where Albany is located was long inhabited by the Creek Indians, who called it Thronateeska after their word for ‘flint’, the valuable mineral found in beds near the Flint River. They used it for making arrowheads and other tools. In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, and the United States made treaties to extinguish Creek and other Native American land claims in the Southeast. The US Army forcibly removed most of the native peoples to Indian Territory, lands west of the Mississippi River.

European-American settlement began with Nelson Tift, of Yankee stock from Groton, Connecticut, who took land along the Flint River in October 1836 after Indian removal. Tift named his new town Albany after the capital of New York; both were located at the navigable heads of rivers. Alexander Shotwell laid out the town in 1836. It was incorporated as a city by an act of the General Assembly of Georgia on December 27, 1838.

7. Calhoun

Calhoun, Georgia

Source: Public domain

Population: 16,133
Founded: 1852
Age: 166
Calhoun was a part of the Cherokee Nation (including New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation) until December 29, 1835. Cherokee leaders such as The Ridge and William Hicks had developed numerous productive farms in the fertile Oothcaloga Valley. When the Cherokee refused to give up the remainder of their lands under the Indian Removal Act, after years of land cessions to the United States for white settlers in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, President Andrew Jackson sent US troops to the northern region of Georgia to force most of the tribe to move to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, most notably present-day Oklahoma. (See more information on Trail of Tears.)

8. Roswell

Roswell, Georgia

Population: 94,239
Founded: 1854
Age: 164
In 1830, while on a trip to northern Georgia, Roswell King passed through the area of what is now Roswell and observed the great potential for building a cotton mill along Vickery Creek. Since the land nearby was also good for plantations, his idea was to put cotton processing near cotton production.

Toward the middle of the 1830s, King returned to build a mill that would soon become the largest in north Georgia – Roswell Mill. He brought with him 36 African slaves from his own coastal plantation, plus another 42 skilled carpenter slaves bought in Savannah to build the mills. The slaves built the mills, infrastructure, houses, mill worker apartments, and supporting buildings for the new town. The Africans brought their unique Geechee culture, language, and religious traditions from the coast to north Georgia.

9. Barnesville

Barnesville, Georgia

Population: 6,553
Founded: 1854
Age: 164
Barnesville was founded in 1826 and named for local tavern owner Gideon Barnes. In 1920, Barnesville was designated seat of the newly formed Lamar County.

10. Alpharetta

Alpharetta, Georgia

Source: Public domain

Population: 63,929
Founded: 1858
Age: 160
In the 1830s, the Cherokee people in Georgia and elsewhere in the South were forcibly relocated to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) under the Indian Removal Act. Pioneers and farmers later settled on the newly vacated land, situated along a former Cherokee trail stretching from the North Georgia mountains to the Chattahoochee River.

Oh How Time Flies For The Oldest Towns And Cities In Georgia

So there you have it, a look at some of the oldest places to live in Georgia. If we missed your city’s ‘date of foundation’, let us know in the comments. Or feel free to take a look at the table of the oldest places in Georgia.

And now, let’s raise our glasses, to the next 100 years of existence for these cities and towns in the Peach State.

And for those wondering, here are the newest additions to Georgia:

  1. Sandy Springs (Founded in 2017)
  2. Peachtree Corners (Founded in 2017)
  3. Johns Creek (Founded in 2017)
  • These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Georgia
  • 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Georgia
  • These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Georgia
  • Detailed List Of The Oldest Cities In Georgia

    City Rank Age Year Founded
    Milledgeville 1 214 1804
    Fayetteville 2 196 1822
    Decatur 3 195 1823
    Newnan 4 190 1828
    Rome 5 184 1834
    Albany 6 180 1838
    Calhoun 7 166 1852
    Roswell 8 164 1854
    Barnesville 9 164 1854
    Alpharetta 10 160 1858
    Valdosta 11 158 1860
    Moultrie 12 139 1879
    Kennesaw 13 131 1887
    Sylvester 14 120 1898
    North Decatur 15 115 1903
    Dacula 16 114 1904
    Kingsland 17 114 1904
    Americus 18 114 1904
    St. Marys 19 114 1904
    North Druid Hills 20 114 1904
    Brunswick 21 114 1904
    Thomasville 22 114 1904
    Sandersville 23 114 1904
    Waycross 24 114 1904
    Villa Rica 25 114 1904
    Covington 26 114 1904
    Stone Mountain 27 114 1904
    Monroe 28 114 1904
    Richmond Hill 29 114 1904
    Scottdale 30 114 1904
    Jefferson 31 114 1904
    Thomaston 32 114 1904
    Swainsboro 33 114 1904
    Eatonton 34 114 1904
    Winder 35 114 1904
    Perry 36 114 1904
    Tucker 37 114 1904
    Lagrange 38 114 1904
    Mcdonough 39 114 1904
    Canton 40 114 1904
    Lawrenceville 41 114 1904
    Duluth 42 114 1904
    Statesboro 43 114 1904
    Brookhaven 44 114 1904
    Sugar Hill 45 113 1905
    Hampton 46 113 1905
    Smyrna 47 113 1905
    Toccoa 48 113 1905
    Garden City 49 113 1905
    Fitzgerald 50 113 1905
    Fort Oglethorpe 51 113 1905
    Rincon 52 113 1905
    Cairo 53 113 1905
    Cedartown 54 113 1905
    Dunwoody 55 113 1905
    Jesup 56 113 1905
    Doraville 57 113 1905
    Fort Valley 58 113 1905
    Lafayette 59 113 1905
    Austell 60 113 1905
    Cordele 61 113 1905
    Thomson 62 113 1905
    Hapeville 63 113 1905
    Bremen 64 113 1905
    Dahlonega 65 113 1905
    Savannah 66 113 1905
    Lakeview 67 113 1905
    Columbus 68 113 1905
    Locust Grove 69 113 1905
    Cumming 70 113 1905
    Hawkinsville 71 113 1905
    Eastman 72 113 1905
    Folkston 73 113 1905
    Camilla 74 113 1905
    Morrow 75 113 1905
    Gainesville 76 113 1905
    Douglas 77 113 1905
    Douglasville 78 113 1905
    Conyers 79 113 1905
    Riverdale 80 113 1905
    Belvedere Park 81 113 1905
    Norcross 82 113 1905
    Woodstock 83 113 1905
    Chamblee 84 113 1905
    Acworth 85 113 1905
    Tifton 86 113 1905
    Carrollton 87 113 1905
    Suwanee 88 113 1905
    Griffin 89 113 1905
    Forest Park 90 113 1905
    Snellville 91 113 1905
    Cartersville 92 113 1905
    Stockbridge 93 113 1905
    Dalton 94 113 1905
    Atlanta 95 113 1905
    Hinesville 96 113 1905
    Vinings 97 113 1905
    Lilburn 98 113 1905
    Bainbridge 99 113 1905
    Dallas 100 113 1905

    About Chris Kolmar

    Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

    He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

    If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

    You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.