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The City of Duluth, Georgia
The City of Duluth, Georgia

The year was 1821. The man’s name was Evan Howell. With his family, he came from North Carolina to the newly created Gwinnett County. He built a home and settled in the fertile bottom lands of the Chattahoochee River, an area previously inhabited by the Creek and Cherokee Indians. Mr. Howell constructed his first home on the site of the present residence of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Hudgens.

Like Howell, other pioneers began to flow into Gwinnett, and Indian Woodlands began to grow populated with crude cabins and rich farms. In 1833 Howell applied for permission to the Interior Court to construct a road across his land from the Chattahoochee River. The Court agreed with Howell that such a road would “promote the public good by affording additional facilities to travelers, passengers, and others.” The new road joined the road from Lawrenceville. The residents christened the intersection Howell’s Cross Roads. The name stuck for several decades until 1871 when the railroad came to town.

After the railroad was completed, the residents invited Evan Howell, a grandson of the early settler, to dedicate the new train depot and name the new town. At this time, Duluth, Minnesota was publicly humiliated by a U. S. Representative’s speech concerning the railroad. Reasoning that healthy publicity couldn’t hurt, Howell decided to take advantage of the situation, and so Howell’s Cross Roads was given the name Duluth.

Around the turn of the Century, Duluth had farmers coming from surrounding counties to have their cotton harvests ginned and shipped. During those days the streets of downtown Duluth were so covered with bales of cotton overflowing from the warehouses that the main streets were virtually impassable. While they were in the town, families stocked up on store bought goods and supplies from local merchants.

At one time, Duluth could boast of three cotton gins, 10 cotton buyers, several warehouses, three mule trading barns, and three blacksmith shops. While much of the small-town character of this old cotton city remains, the hand of progress has led Duluth boldly and swiftly into the present. There is a lot of talk about the old days, and nostalgia runs deep as the Chattahoochee River. “Pride in Old and New” is not a motto the citizens of Duluth take lightly. Everyone here takes pride in what the community was, what it is today, and what it will be in the future. Duluth is a progressive City with its sights set firmly on the future, but a City with a promise to keep its “Old Town Pride.”

For more information about the City of Duluth and their current happenings, please visit their website at:

Important Dates in the History of the City of Duluth
  • 1821. The Cherokee Indian Territory was settled by Evan Howell, the first successful farmer and merchant of Duluth. He moved here from Cabarrus County, North Carolina and settled near the Chattahoochee River on the northern boundary of the new County. He built his home and began working to bring his people into this part of the county.
  • 1871.  The railroad came to Duluth which boosted the economy. With it came new prosperity and growth. The Methodist church formed in Duluth.
  • 1873.  The town name was changed to Duluth following completion of the railroad. Duluth was named as a joke after Duluth, Minnesota when Congressman J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky made fun of the name. Today there is a Proctor Square and a Knott Street.
  • 1876. The official Charter of Duluth was approved by the Georgia General Assembly.
  • 1886. The Baptist church formed in Duluth.
  • 1870. Around this time, the first public school was built in Duluth. The first brick school was built in 1907 then destroyed by fire in 1935.
  • 1880First Mayor elected in Duluth, John Knox, Served until 1885.
  • 1904. First bank built in Duluth, The Bank of Duluth.
  • 1906. The title was officially incorporated as the City of Duluth.
  • 1922. Georgia’s First Female Mayor Elected, Alice Harrell Strickland, Mayor of Duluth.
  • 1943. First Hospital built in Duluth, Joan Glancy Hospital.



A City With A Vision

Duluth is recognized as a model city for Gwinnett County. It is poised with a perfect blend of small businesses, entrepreneurial enterprise, major corporations and visionary developers. Its success rate has been obtainable through sound economic efforts, business advocacy and leadership development. The vitality of Duluth is no accident. It is the result of careful planning and great foresight on the part of its business and community leaders. From tangible communication programs to local events that influence and impact the business environment, Duluth embraces a unique, concentrated form of government.

As the second largest city in Gwinnett County, Duluth is noted first in financial stability throughout the State of Georgia. As a result, there are no bond ratings, and the City basks debt free. This, in addition to Duluth’s favorable growth pattern, has earned it the reputation of a suburban oasis, making it a very desirable address, particularly at the start of a new millennium.

Duluth remains a busy hub today, continuing in the vanguard of the Metro area’s great business and residential expansion. Despite phenomenal growth, it has retained its small-town character, where personal camaraderie, spirited by annual holiday and festive events, is savored. Duluth is home to more than 26,688 residents who live, work and play in its 9.8 square-mile community. Its commercial corridor is among Gwinnett County’s busiest. Over 1,750 businesses are located within the City limits.

The History of the Seal of the City of Duluth, 1982 to 2003
The History of the Seal of the City of Duluth, 1982 to 2003

The City Seal proudly heralds the symbolic traits of our sister city, Duluth, Minnesota

A closer view of the seal reveals a steam engine, the American eagle, a cotton field and bale of hay, in addition to the entrance of a grand residential community, Sweetbottom Plantation, along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Each of these items personifies Duluth’s commitment to a safe and beautiful community.

Pride in Old and New
Pride in Old and New

The new seal of the City of Duluth, Georgia, was created in the year 2003. The appearance is similar to the old seal previously used by the City from 1982 until 2003. The background information was selected to represent and maintain the history of Duluth as well as representing new development.

The steam engine is prominent because the city’s growth was dependent on the railroad, and the city’s name was established in conjunction with the railroad.

The flags represent and honor those veterans who served in the different branches of the military. The flags are displayed throughout the city twice annually, on Memorial Day and Veteran Day.

The Cupola that sits above the City’s new Festival Center building and amphitheater located in the historic downtown represents the City’s commitment to “Pride in the Old and New” by maintaining the historic integrity found in the downtown. A plan for restoring the downtown and preserving its older buildings was approved in 1998 and implementation of the plan began in 2000. The bell in the cupola was donated by Ms. Kathryn Willis and the major cost of the building was paid for by the Fall Festival Committee through money raised from an annual Fall Festival Arts and Crafts Festival held in the downtown in September of each year.

Duluth was named Tree City in 1989 and is known for its dedication to preserving green space. Trees appear in the seal as a symbol of Duluth’s Tree City designation.

Located on the bottom right and left outer ring of the shield are tufts of cotton. Cotton was a major industry in the Duluth area. There were at least three operating cotton gins in the city and the streets were, at one time, lined with cotton bales awaiting shipment by the railroad.

The date 1876 represents when Duluth was first Chartered.

The First Baptist Church 1948-1980 became City hall in 1982

About us

We are Duluth Georgia’s community educational support group, building strong relationships within our city and county. (more)

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Duluth Historical Society
3595 Buford Hwy,
Duluth, GA 30096

Duluth Historical Society is a non-profit 501 c3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

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