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History of Norcross
A Place to Imagine
Once upon a time, there was a little town where country boys played baseball and flattened pennies on the railroad tracks. The boys grew up and generations passed, and while the rest of the world fought wars and put men on the moon, the little town slept. Then one day Atlanta tickled its edges, and the old town awoke. It watched with fear as new faces arrived, for it knew much was at stake. But instead of bulldozers, this new generation brought vision! They polished and cherished until things once again shone. Creativity was embraced, and the little town smiled, watching the old blend with the best of the new. Pennies still get flattened as the trains roar by, and neighbors still know each other’s names. And the story doesn’t end here – it’s waiting for you. Welcome to Norcross, a place to imagine.

Overview
Readily accessible from major highways, yet tucked quietly away, Norcross, Georgia is a charming antidote to modern suburbia. With a rich variety of well-preserved historic homes and an authentic turn-of-the-century downtown district, Norcross turns back the clock to simpler times and small-town American life.

History
  • In 1869, Atlanta entrepreneur J.J. Thrasher purchased 250 acres around the first stop north along the proposed Richmond Danville rail lines. One year later, the area was incorporated. Thrasher named the new town for his good friend and fellow entrepreneur Jonathan Norcross, who was also the fourth mayor of Atlanta. Eventually, Norcross became known as “Atlanta’s Favorite Summer Resort,” and beginning in 1878, a commuter train called the “Airline Belle” made round trips twice a day, carrying visitors between Atlanta and Norcross.
  • Norcross is the second oldest city in Gwinnett County and was the first to be placed on the Register of Historic Places.
  • The Eastern Continental Divide runs through the heart of the original community, passing alongside Thrasher Park and down the middle of North Peachtree Street. It is a ridge along which the Cherokee Indians once had a well-traveled path leading to the Chattahoochee River. In the early 1800s, when it was being widened into a road by early Norcross-area resident William Nesbit, it was reportedly called “Pitch Tree Road” after all the pine trees in the area, which the Cherokee used to get pitch to seal their canoes. Later, the road became known as “Peachtree Road,” and it’s now lined with restored Victorian homes, stroller-friendly sidewalks and lovely oaks.
  • The first car manufactured south of the Mason-Dixon Line was built here in Norcross by Edward Buchanan in 1908. It was called the “NorX,” and some people say that a reason the company failed is because no one knew how to pronounce it!
  • Located in the long white building next to City Hall, the Old Cotton Gin was once owned by the Summerour family. Norcross farmer Homer Summerour became well-known nationwide in the early 1900s for developing a special, more productive variety of cotton. The seeds were so famous that people from across the country could request a sample just by writing a letter addressed with nothing more than “Cotton Seed Man” and “Georgia” on the envelope. The orders were filled by the Summerour Gin which still stands next to City Hall.