Griffin - Spalding Chamber of Commerce
A Great Future Shaped by Great History
The Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce is housed within the Griffin Regional Welcome Center.
Griffin Regional Welcome Center
143 North Hill Street
Griffin, GA 30223
Griffin and Spalding County has its share of colorful tales, personalities, unique places and unforgettable events. All of this allows Griffin and Spalding County to present a great historical perspective of a great and growing Southern community.
Prior to the founding of Spalding County, General Lewis Lawrence Griffin proved a man of vision when he chose an ideal location for a town along his Monroe Railroad’s north-south route.
General Griffin envisioned a town that would prosper at the crossings of a North-South line and a tract running East-West. After determining where these railroads would meet, he bought 800 acres in Pike County from Bartholomew Still. Griffin made a plan for the new town which included wide roadways, plots for six churches, two schools, parade grounds, and a cemetery. William Leak bought the first acre on June 8, 1840 for the tremendous sum of $1000.00. In 1842, the first steam engine came through town.
The railroad attracted cotton growers who supported merchants in town. Soon, professional people were settling in a place which was wilderness only a few years before. Griffin was officially incorporated on December 28, 1843. That same year, Marthasville (once Terminus) was incorporated, and in two years would be renamed Atlanta.
The Depression of 1843 halted the Monroe Railroad’s construction and resulted in the financial collapse of General Griffin’s business. After the Monroe Railroad was sold under court order, the plan of an East-West line to connect in Griffin were forgotten. Instead, the Georgia Railroad’s line was extended to Atlanta, not Griffin, as the General had hoped.
Spalding County has the distinction of being Thomas Spalding’s namesake. Known as Georgia’s Benjamin Franklin, Spalding was a prominent figure in agriculture, politics, and banking. His contributions to the state in these fields were immeasurable. Therefore, upon his death in 1851 his name was immortalized by awarding it to our newly created county, a fitting remembrance.
Walking Tours of Downtown
Pamphlets containing information are available from both the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce and the Griffin Downtown Council/Main Street Office regarding a thoughtfully planned walking tour of Historic Griffin. The tour involves up to 37 sites, which pan the years from 1850 to the early 1900s. The original Spalding County Courthouse, built in 1859, is still standing on the southwest Corner of Broad and 5th Streets. Though it is no longer used as the county seat of government, the building is one of Georgia’s few remaining antebellum courthouses and houses the University of Georgia Extension Service offices. While taking the tour, you can enjoy the downtown antique shops and restaurants.
Birthplace and Home of John Henry “Doc” Holliday
One of Spalding County’s most famous residents, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, was born August 14, 1851, and baptized March 21, 1852, in the Presbyterian Church in Griffin. After receiving a degree from Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, he moved back to Georgia and had a successful practice in downtown Griffin. Doc was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which severely threatened his health. He was given two options: to stay in Georgia and maybe live 6 months or to go out west to a dryer climate and survive 2 years. It didn’t take long for him to take the advice of his doctor and move to Dallas, Texas in 1873. In Dallas, Doc attempted many times to continue his dental practice, but his continuous coughing deterred patients. Doc was an educated man and learned the skills of poker very quickly. In the saloons, patrons paid no attention to his constant coughing, and there, Doc could also drink to ease the pain of his disease. On November 8, 1887, Doc died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Because of his participation in the famous gun fight at the O.K. Corral that lasted less than one minute, Doc’s name will live forever in western history. He should, however, also be remembered by his earlier accomplishments and that he had survived his tuberculosis for a remarkable 15 years. While in Griffin, you can visit the Doc Holliday Museum. View unpublished photos, historic documents and books that give an accurate account of the life and times of Doc Holliday. Guided tours that cover points of interest are available with an appointment. Call 770-229-2705.
This Greek Revival home was built between 1859 and 1862. It is now the headquarters for the Griffin/Spalding Historical Society. Call 770-229-2432 for free guided tours.
Oak Hill Cemetery
Oak Hill Cemetery was a part of Lewis Lawrence Griffin’s original plan for the city. Many persons crucial for the establishment of Griffin and Spalding County are buried there. Nationally known figures buried in Oak Hill include James S. Boyton, governor of Georgia after the death of Alexander Stephens, a hero of the Confederate navy, John McIntosh Kell and Martha Eleanora Holliday, Doc’s sister who died in infancy. The cemetery is one place to walk through Griffin’s history.
During the war years Griffin was not the site of any Civil War battles, but nonetheless it was a vital location during the war. Camp Stephens, located two miles north of McIntosh Road, was a mobilization point for infantry. Cavalry were mobilized at Camp Milner, which is now the grounds of the city park. Two military companies from Griffin and seven from Spalding County were organized to fight. Not only was Griffin the first stop for troops and the home of many soldiers, it was also a hospital town and a printing center. Trainloads of sick and wounded poured into hospitals, public buildings, the courthouse, stores, colleges and even private homes. Much Confederate money was printed in Griffin as well as most of the Confederate government’s stamps. At one point, Spalding County even printed its own currency.
Although not destroyed physically by Union soldiers (only one warehouse was burned), Griffin was devastated financially. Three hundred miles of railroad, the city’s lifeline, had been demolished. Yet once again, as it did after the depression, the town recovered. A new development in Griffin helped it to survive Reconstruction and the postwar era. The 1880’s saw the birth of textile manufacturing in Griffin. In 1888, the Kincaid Manufacturing Company opened. It continued to expand by buying other mills in the area. Today, the company is known as Dundee Mills/Springs Industries and is one of Griffin’s largest employers.
Stonewall Confederate Cemetery And Griffin’s Memorial Park
Many who died in the battles of Atlanta and Jonesboro died while patients at the many hospitals located in Griffin and were left without a proper burial. Around 1867, a group of women organized to form the Ladies Memorial Aid Society to create a cemetery for the fallen soldiers. They, and other volunteers, went to Lovejoy’s Station to