Newnan, once a small, quiet city southwest of Atlanta, has grown from a population of around 16,000 in 2000 to almost 29,000 in 2007, the fastest growing area in the state of Georgia. Newnan was incorporated in 1828, taking its name from North Carolina native and Georgia secretary of State General Daniel Newnan. It was known as the "hospital city" during the Civil War because it avoided local conflict and housed thousands of soldiers in field hospitals. The city limits encompass 19.5 square miles. Georgia Trend magazine, along with the Georgia Municipal Association, deemed Newnan a "City of Excellence."
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Newnan's neighborhoods are a study in post-Civil War architecture. Prior to the Civil War, Newnan grew rich off the slave-supported cotton industry, and the city was home to wealthy entrepreneurs. Because the city was largely unaffected by the Civil War, much of the era's antebellum architecture survives to this day, and many of the older parts of town are made up of breathtaking mansions and sprawling homes. For this reason, the city prides itself as being Georgia's "City of Homes." Due to the recent population growth, a number of multi-family units has been built. Currently the split between multi-family living quarters and single-family homes is about 69 percent to 31 percent.
- Downtown Newnan is a mix of grand, old architecture and modern buildings, creating a dichotomy that bespeaks wealth with a small-town feel.
- Newnan has six separate historic districts that contain a total of 40 recognized historic structures.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Newnan has a healthy balance of manufacturing and services. Some of the biggest employers include:
- Yamaha Motor Manufacturing
- Cargill Corporation
- Newnan Hospital
- Rite Aid Drug Distribution
- K-Mart Distribution
- Bon L Manufacturing
- Yokogawa Corporation
Newnan also has a vibrant commerce center known as Main Street Newnan, home to the Newnan Antique Mall and an assortment of shops.
- The Coweta County African American Heritage Museum puts names and faces to the people who made Newnan great, first as slaves, then as fellow residents. Shackles remind visitors of the dark chapter in American history that was played out in the backyard of the city, while photos and memorabilia of African American business owners show that change is indeed possible.
- The Male Academy Museum, once a preparatory school for boys, today functions as a museum dedicated to the display of Civil War memorabilia, weapons, uniforms and other artifacts.
- Oak Hill Cemetery contains the graves of many Civil War soldiers treated in Newnan field hospitals as well as some Revolutionary War soldiers and civic leaders. The city prides itself on the fact that all but two of the soldiers are positively identified.
- The Coweta County Courthouse, 100 feet tall, is an icon of NeoGreek Revival architecture. The site is notable for hosting the trial of John Wallace, the first white man in the United States to be tried and sentenced to death due to the testimony of African Americans.
- Golfis a popular local pastime and economic engine. Courses include Orchard Hills, a Golf Digest four-star course and one of Georgia's most popular public golfing options, as well as White Oak and Summergrove, both of which are members of Georgia's Canongate group of private golf clubs.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Newnan Community Theatre Company is a theatrical outlet for residents and visitors to Newnan. Its venue is the Warehouse on First Avenue, where productions are open to the public all year long.
- The Centre for Performing and Visual Arts represents all forms of art, and it is not unusual to see ceramics just down the hall from metal crafts and paintings. Professional theatrical productions and concerts are also held here.
- Newnan's Wadsworth Auditorium is a popular, 600-seat music auditorium named for pianist and local resident Charles Wadsworth, who performs there annually.
- The Newnan-Coweta Art Association promotes communal art and displays the work of local artists and artisans in public buildings throughout the community.
- The Taste of Newnan & Wing Cook-Off is hosted by Newnan in April in its courthouse square. There are wings of many persuasions, amply complemented with dishes prepared by local restaurants. This tasty event is a favorite of locals and visitors alike, and the activities and live music provide a festive, fun atmosphere.
- Taste of Newnan & Chili Cook-Off takes place in October. Newnan loves to eat, and just one culinary event simply is not sufficient
- In July the Homemade Ice Cream Festival joins up with the regularly scheduled market day. Judging, crazy combinations and plenty of kids' activities abound.
- Newnan's Market Days, held on the first Saturday of each month, bring together dozens of vendors from across Southeast Georgia, many of whom sell handmade clothing, crafts and accessories.