Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Gwinnett: A Great Investment
After the Civil War, railroads came to Gwinnett County. New cities emerged along the rails, including Buford, Duluth, Norcross, and Suwanee. Confederate veteran Bonaparte Allen moved to Buford and opened a tannery that became world famous for its shoes, saddles, and horse collars. During the difficult 1930s, people called Buford the "Depression-Proof City."
Cotton was the chief cash crop in Gwinnett County from the 1800s to the 1920s. Following World War II, many farmers turned to dairy and poultry production. As metro Atlanta grew, Gwinnett farmland soon became residential subdivisions for suburban commuters.
[Captions (clockwise from top left)]
Buford was once called The Leather City because of Bona Allen's Tannery which was the largest in the world at one point. Even during the Depression, the Allens employed more than 2,200 people. Courtesy of the Gwinnett Historical Society
Plessy Jones looks over his steam-powered sorghum mill in 1912. In addition to larger cotton mills, small grist mills were an important part of early economy. Source:
Workers unload bales of cotton at a cotton gin and warehouse. Farmers grew cotton because it was in high demand, grew well in the South, and didn't spoil. Source: Georgia Archives
By 1965, Interstate 85 connected Atlanta to South Carolina through Gwinnett. Low land prices brought in warehouses and distribution centers along the corridor. In the early 1970s, Gwinnett made headlines as the home of a Western Electric plant and laboratory that became the world's largest maker of copper cable for the telephone industry. A growing population, great quality of life, and business-friendly government drew many more companies, including dozens of international businesses attracted by Gwinnett's diverse workforce.
[Captions (top to bottom)]
A group of citizens gather around what was said to be the first telephone in Lawrenceville between 1880 and 1900. Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection, GWN239
1937 Advertisement from Bona Allen Tannery showcases the World's Largest Shoe on Wheels a successful publicity tool that appeared in parades and shows. Source: Gwinnett Historical Society
Gwinnett farmers grew their small operations of subsistence-level row crops into a profitable poultry
1938 Wille and Lula Benefield stand with their son, J.W., in their downtown Dacula grocery store. Source: Gwinnett Historical Society
Erected 2018 by Gwinnett County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1912.
Location. 33° 57.269′ N, 83° 59.336′ W. Marker is in Lawrenceville, Georgia, in Gwinnett County. Marker can be reached from South Perry Street (Georgia Route 20) south of Luckie Street, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located in Gwinnett County Bicentennial Plaza. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 275 S Perry St, Lawrenceville GA 30046, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Unsurpassed Quality of Life (a few steps from this marker); From Near and Far (a few steps from this marker); The Land Lottery of 1820 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Land We Love (within shouting distance of this marker); Gwinnett County Creation (within shouting distance of this marker); Gwinnett County Bicentennial Time Capsule (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Daniel and the Georgia Frontier (within shouting distance of this marker); The History of Peachtree (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lawrenceville.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 12, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 12, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 81 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 12, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.