History

Established as "Mule Camp Springs" near the crossing of two Indian trails followed by settlers in the 1800s, the City of Gainesville has maintained and built upon its historical legacy as a regional transportation and trade center for almost two centuries.

Less than three years after the creation of Hall County, the village of Mule Camp Springs was chosen to serve as the site of government for the new county and was chartered by the Georgia Legislature on November 30, 1821.

At the suggestion of Justice John Vance Cotter, it was given the name "Gainesville" in honor of General Edmund P. Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812 and a noted military surveyor and road-builder. Gainesville has been a part of the nation's governmental framework longer than 26 of the 50 states.

Significant dates in the history of Gainesville

  • April 21, 1821 - The town formerly known as Mule Camp Springs was chartered as Gainesville
  • November 30, 1821 - Gainesville officially Chartered by the Georgia Legislature
  • 1828 - The Gold Rush frenzy began in nearby Lumpkin County bringing an influx of new settlers and the beginnings of a business community
  • 1849 - Gainesville established as a resort center
  • 1851 - Fire destroyed much of Gainesville
  • May 28, 1871 - Airline Railroad, later named the Southern, ushered in a new era of progress
  • 1870 - 1900 - City population increases from one-thousand to five-thousand
  • February 22, 1873 - City services begin with the election of a City Marshal
  • June 14, 1875 - Solid Waste Collection begins in the City
  • 1875 - General James Longstreet purchased the Piedmont Hotel near the railroad depot in anticipation of the Atlanta-Washington railroad opening
  • Spring 1890 - A bond issue to fund the waterworks passes and the original water distribution system totals some 5 1/2 miles
  • 1898 - Textiles run the economy thanks in part to the railroad
  • December 19, 1902 - Gainesville became the first city south of Baltimore to have street lights
  • January 1, 1903 - A cyclone struck Gainesville leaving 106 people dead, 300 injured and property damage estimated at $750,000
  • March 1, 1905 - City free mail delivery began
  • November, 1909 - The square and streets adjoining for one block were paved
  • August 10, 1910 - The Gainesville post office opened
  • December 22, 1915 - The formal opening of the City's first skyscraper, the Jackson Building which is still standing today
  • March 12, 1919 - Southern Bell removed the poles and wires from the square
  • April 6, 1936 - Gainesville knocked flat by a tornado that left more than 200 people dead
  • 1937 and 1939 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt Visited Gainesville
  • 1943 - The City of Gainesville leases Airport to the US Federal Government for $1.00 to be used as a Naval Air Station to train Ground Personnel for WWII
  • 1947 - The Airport is returned to the City of Gainesville with two 4000FT landing strips.
  • After World War II - A visionary named Jesse Jewell started what was to become the state's largest agricultural crop-poultry. The $1,000,000,000 a year industry has given Gainesville the title "Poultry Capital of the World."
  • 1957 - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construct Lake Sidney Lanier which currently covers more than 38,000 acres and is the most visited Corps lake in the nation with an economic impact of more than $2 Billion annually
  • 1961 - City Council votes to make it illegal to eat Chicken with a fork
  • 1993 - Police Department became Accredited
  • July 1996 - Gainesville served as the Rowing/Kayaking Venue for the 1996 Olympics. During the Olympics Gainesville was named Hospitality Capital of the World by an NBC Broadcaster
  • October 1997 - TV 18, The Government Channel begins broadcasting
  • August 4, 1998 - New City of Gainesville Logo adopted
  • January 2000 - Gainesville named City of Excellence by the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend Magazine
  • January 2001 - The Red Rabbit Public Transportation System begins operation with three buses and four mini-buses
  • March 2001 - Gainesville's Parks and Recreation Department became the 3rd Department in the State to be Accredited
  • September 2002 - Opening of Lakeside Water Treatment Plant
  • March 2003 - Gainesville is named one of the Top 10 Places to Retire by Barron's Magazine
  • April 2004 - Spring Chicken Festival first held in Roosevelt Square
  • June 24, 2004 - Fire Station #4 Opens
  • October 2004 - Art in the Square first held in the Downtown Historic Square
  • April 28, 2005 - Engine 209 is Restored
  • July 2005 - New Light Poles installed downtown and in-town
  • January 2006 - Gainesville is named a Georgia Trendsetter City by the Georgia Municipal Association
  • August 2006 - The portion of Green Street between Jesse Jewell Pkwy and Spring St. was renamed to Henry Ward Way
  • 2007 - Chattahoochee Golf Course is Renovated
  • February, 2008 - "Dredgefest" begins at Longwood Cove
  • March 30, 2008 - Fair Street Neighborhood Center Opens
  • May 30, 2008 - Linwood Water Reclamation Facility Grand Re-Opening
  • August 8, 2008 - Frances Meadows Aquatic & Community Center opens
  • September 2008 - Longwood Park Fishing Pier completed
  • April 2009 - Airport Runway Lighting Improvements Completed
  • October 13, 2009 - Ribbon Cutting to mark the completion of Rock Creek Amphitheater
  • July 2010 - Ground is broken for the Midtown Greenway
  • November 30, 2010 - New Public Safety Complex opens with Police Department, Municipal Court and Fire Station #1