Lawrenceville, Georgia

Lawrenceville is the county seat of Gwinnett County and the second-oldest city in the Atlanta metropolitan area, having been incorporated on December 15, 1821, exactly three years after the creation of the county. She was named for Captain James Lawrence, a naval commander during the War of 1812 who famously ordered his crew to “fight her till she sinks” by firing faster and refusing to surrender. Although Commander Lawrence passed away from his wounds a few days after the battle, the city of Lawrenceville continued to prosper in his name. Citizens of Lawrenceville have long taken pride in establishing and fashioning a strong, viable community, dating back to the first hardy stock of settlers who lived off the land.

Lawrenceville’s original town square is still at the center of the city, and it was selected because of the abundance of springs in the area. The growth of the farming community coincided with the establishment of the first courthouse in 1824 and the development of the surrounding land. The locals flocked to the market to buy and sell various dry goods. Honest Alley, a downtown shopping and office district, is named after the street where honest mule traders used to meet. Don’t forget to learn about Buford, Georgia here too.

Keeping animals off the courthouse lawn was a major problem in the beginning. To solve this issue, city officials experimented with many different materials to build a fence that would be impenetrable to both animals and humans. However, in 1871, the original courthouse building was destroyed by fire rather than animals. EG. Lin, a Boston-based architect, designed the Romanesque structure that now stands in its place. Even though the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center was finished in 1988, the small balcony on the front corner is a reminder that this building once served as the official courthouse.

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