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 Nov. 30, 1821.

At the suggestion of Justice John Vance Cotter, it was given the name "Gainesville" in honor of Gen. 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 Gainesville History

  • April 21, 1821 - The town formerly known as Mule Camp Springs was chartered as Gainesville
  • Nov. 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
  • Feb. 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
  • Dec. 19, 1902 - Gainesville became the first city south of Baltimore to have street lights
  • June 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
  • Aug. 10, 1910 - The Gainesville post office opened
  • Dec. 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
  • 1936 and 1938 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt Visited Gainesville
  • 1943 - The City of Gainesville leases Airport to the U.S. Federal Government for $1 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 4,000 feet 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
  • Aug. 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 Parks & Recreation becomes the third department in the State of Georgia to be accredited
  • September 2002 - Opening of Lakeside Water Treatment Plant
  • March 2003 - Gainesville named one of top 10 places to retire by Barron's Magazine
  • April 2004 - Inaugural Spring Chicken Festival held in Roosevelt Square
  • June 24, 2004 - Gainesville Fire Station No. 4 opens
  • October 2004 - Inaugural Art in the Square event held in historic downtown
  • April 28, 2005 - Engine 209 is Restored
  • July 2005 - New Light Poles installed downtown and in-town
  • January 2006 - Gainesville named a Georgia Trendsetter City by the Georgia Municipal Association
  • August 2006 - The portion of Green Street between Jesse Jewell Parkway and Spring St. was renamed to Henry Ward Way
  • 2007 - The Chattahoochee Golf Course undergoes renovations
  • 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
  • Aug. 8, 2008 - Frances Meadows Aquatic & Community Center opens to the public
  • September 2008 - Longwood Park Fishing Pier completed
  • April 2009 - Airport runway lighting improvements completed
  • Oct. 13, 2009 - Ribbon-cutting ceremony held to mark completion of Rock Creek Amphitheater
  • July 2010 - Ground broken on the Midtown Greenway
  • Nov. 30, 2010 - New Gainesville Public Safety Complex opens housing the police department, municipal court and Fire Station No. 1
  • July 22, 2011 - Named as one of the five most affordable places to live by AARP
  • Jan. 1, 2014 - Danny Dunagan, Gainesville's first elected mayor, takes office
  • April 20, 2018 - Rededication ceremony held of the newly renovated Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center
  • 2018 - Spring Chicken Festival honored as one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society
  • 2018 - Gainesville ranked No. 3 among America's best performing small cities/metropolitan areas by the Milken Institute Press Release
  • Sept. 12-16, 2018 - Dragon Boat World Championships hosted at Lake Lanier Olympic Park
  • January 2019 - Classes begin at Lanier Technical College's new Gainesville campus
  • March 2019 - New Riverside Water Quality Building opens
  • September 2019 - Carroll Daniel Construction completes its corporate headquarters on Main Street
  • November 2019 - A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the new Gainesville Fire Station No. 2
  • March 2020 - The novel coronavirus pandemic impacts communities on the local, state and national levels
  • July 2020 - A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held celebrating the completion of the Olympic Ring Plaza at Lake Lanier Olympic Park
  • September 2020 - A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the fourth-side-of-the-square project, known as Gainesville Renaissance
  • September 2020 - The multi-year renovation project slated for the Gainesville Administration Building is completed
  • October 2020 - A groundbreaking ceremony is held for Solis Gainesville, a mixed-use development across the pedestrian bridge
  • October 2020 - A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held for the new Gainesville Fire Station No. 2
  • October 2020 - The new Gainesville Skate Park officially opens to the public
  • December 2020 - In response to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, Main Street Gainesville presents the inaugural Light Up the Town event in place of Christmas on Green Street
  • December 2020 - Inaugural Christmas tree decorating contest is held in the Gainesville Administration Building
  • December 2020 - WeGo, the Gainesville's new vanpool service, officially launches for public use