Newnan Court House Square During The War
Newnan is a city in Metro Atlanta, and the county seat of, Coweta County, Georgia, about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta. The population was 16,242 at the 2000 Census. Newnan is one of the fastest growing cities in Georgia, with an estimated population of 27,097 in 2006 and 33,293 in July 2008. According to the 2010 census, 33,039 people live in Newnan, and it grew 103.4% since 2000.
One of the first spectacle lynchings took place near Newnan on April 23, 1899. Sam Hose was tortured and put to death for allegedly murdering his employer, Alfred Cranford. The Springfield Weekly Republican described the scene:
Before the torch was applied to the pyre, the negro was deprived of his ears, fingers, and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutliation was going on, but stood the ordeal of fire with surprising fortitude. Before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones were crushed into small bits, and even the tree upon which the wretch met his fate was torn up and disposed of as 'souvenirs.' The negro's heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver. Those unable to obtain the ghastly relics direct paid their more fortunate possessors extravagant sums for them. Small pieces of bones went for 25 cents, and a bit of the liver crisply cooked sold for 10 cents. As soon as the negro was seen to be dead there was a tremendous struggle among the crowd, which had witnessed his tragic end, to secure the souvenirs. A rush was made for the stake, and those near the body were forced against it and had to fight for their freedom. Knives were quickly produced and soon the body was dismembered.Newnan was also host to the trial in 1948 of wealthy landowner John Wallace, the first white man in the south to be condemned to death by the testimony of African Americans, two field hands who were made to help with burning the body of murdered white sharecropper Wilson Turner. These events were portrayed in the novel Murder in Coweta County. The film version starred Johnny Cash, Andy Griffith, and June Carter.
The Newnan/Sharspburg area is home to three high schools, Newnan High School (founded in 1887), East Coweta High School (founded in 1946), and Northgate High School (founded in 1996). Newnan is also home to The Heritage School, a small private school. Newnan is served by the Coweta County School System.
The city is home to one of the few Georgia counties with a museum that focuses mainly on African American history. The Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center, or Caswell House, was opened in July 2003 in a donated mill village house once owned by Ruby Caswell. The museum sits on Farmer St. on an old, unmarked, slave cemetery. It has collected hundreds of family genealogical records by interviewing residents and going through the census records. The museum also houses the Coweta Census Indexes from 1870 to 1920. The first black library in the county was the Sara Fisher Brown Library. Built in the 1950's, the library has since been converted into the Community Action For Improvement Center. The "Farmer Street Cemetery" is the largest slave cemetery in the south, and may be the largest undisturbed in the Nation. It is in the city limits of Newnan and was recently cleaned up again in August and September 2011.
Shopping:Newnan is a shopping hub and has experienced rapid commercial development. One of the new developments is Ashley Park, an open-air shopping mall near I-85, anchored by Dillard's, and Belk department stores along with a large movie theater and dozens of other well-known retailers and restaurants.
Coweta County School District:The Coweta County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of nineteen elementary schools, six middle schools, and three high schools. The district has 1,164 full-time teachers and over 18,389 students.
- Arbor Springs Elementary
- Arnco-Sargent Elementary
- Atkinson Elementary
- Brooks Elementary
- Canongate Elementary
- Eastside Elementary
- Elm Street Elementary
- Grantville Elementary
- Jefferson Parkway Elementary
- Moreland Elementary
- Newnan Crossing Elementary
- Northside Elementary
- Poplar Road Elementary
- Ruth Hill Elementary
- Thomas Crossroads Elementary
- Western Elementary
- Welch Elementary
- White Oak Elementary
- Willis Road Elementary
- Arnall Middle School
- East Coweta Middle School
- Evans Middle School
- Lee Middle School
- Madras Middle School
- Smokey Road Middle School
- The Heritage School
- Newnan High School
- East Coweta High School
- Northgate High School (Newnan)
- Central Educational Center (Chartered Coweta County School System School)
- The Pentecostal Church of God Christian Academy
- The Heritage School
Higher Education:Mercer University has a Regional Academic Center in Newnan. The center, opened in 2010, offers programs through the university's College of Continuing and Professional Studies. The University of West Georgia has a campus located in Newnan, near I-85. This campus is currently holding two undergraduate programs- Bachelors of Science in Nursing and Early Childhood Education. Newnan is also home to a campus of West Georgia Technical College.
The University of West Georgia also has a campus in Newnan off of Georgia SR 34.
- Ellis Arnall, governor of Georgia (1943–1947)
- Karsten Bailey, former NFL wide receiver
- Hamilton Bohannon, musician and record producer
- Keith Brooking, current National Football League linebacker with Georgia Tech, Atlanta Falcons, and Dallas Cowboys.
- Jack Tarpley Camp Jr., jurist
- Lewis Grizzard, author
- Steven Hicks, current football manager at the University of Arkansas.
- Drew Hill, former National Football League wide receiver with the Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Rams, and Atlanta Falcons
- Alan Jackson, CMA award winner
- Joe M. Jackson, United States Air Force colonel, Medal of Honor recipient
- Calvin Johnson, First Team All-Pro NFL wide receiver
- Alec Ogletree, current National Football league linebacker with St. Louis Rams
- Stephen W. Pless, Marine Corps major, Medal of Honor recipient
- Rocky Roquemore, international golf course designer
- Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith II, (1860–1898), infamous 19th century gambler, confidence man and crime boss
- Will Smith (baseball), current Major League Baseball pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers
- Doug Stone, country music singer-songwriter
- Jerome Walton, former Major League Baseball player and 1989 Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award winner.
- William C. Wright, Congressman (1918-1933)
- Steve Young, pioneer country rock musician
Television and movie:
- The ABC television series October Road was filmed in Newnan, though it is actually set in the fictional town of Knights Ridge, Massachusetts.
- In the 1978 feature film The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid (original Italian title: Uno Sceriffo extraterrestre - poco extra e molto terrestre) featuring Bud Spencer his character is depicted as being the Sheriff of Newnan and the plot to take place in said city.
- The TV movie Murder in Coweta County (1983), based on the eponymous book by Margaret Anne Barnes, chronicles actual events that occurred around 1948. Lead actors in the movie are Johnny Cash, Andy Griffith, and Earl Hindman.
- The NBC series I'll Fly Away was filmed in Newnan from 1991–1993.
- The 1995 movie Fluke was filmed in Newnan.
- Significant portions of Fried Green Tomatoes were filmed in Newnan and Senoia.
- The movie Zombieland released October 2009. The court square in Newnan, GA was transformed into a battlezone on Sunday, March 29, 2008. The Newnan set (Downtown 'Old' Newnan) has been depicted as a Texas town that was a U.S. Army outpost which fought off zombies before being overrun.
- Many scenes from the Lifetime Channel series Drop Dead Diva are filmed in Newnan.
- Pet Sematary Two (1992).
- The popular AMC series, The Walking Dead, filmed scenes for its second season in the city.
- The Fat Boy Chronicles, a movie about overcoming obesity, was filmed in Newnan High School in summer of 2010. Students were invited to take part as extras in the movie.
Airports, major roads and highways:
- Interstate 85
- Outer Perimeter
- State Route 34
- State Route 34 Bypass
- State Route 16
- State Route 70
- Lower Fayetteville Road
- Newnan Crossing Boulevard East
- U.S. Route 29
- U.S. Route 27
- Newnan-Coweta County Airport which provides chartered air service and flight training.
- Newnan City website
- The Soapy Smith Preservation Trust, Infamous badman born and raised between 1860-1876 in Newnan.
- Cowetanet Local website for Newnan and Coweta County Georgia.