Norcross Historic District
Originally Founded in 1870 as the first stop north of Atlanta along the Richmond Danville Railroad the Historic District of Norcross remains one of the most charming downtown atmospheres in metro Atlanta. As Gwinnett county's second oldest city, the historic district of Norcross has a wonderful community of beautiful historic homes and buildings in downtown area. Along Peachtree Street, as well as the rest of the downtown area, each building is identified with a plaque noting the date of the buildings construction as well as a short history of the building.
Backstory and Context
Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, construction began on the Richmond Danville Railroad heading north from Atlanta. Construction was quickly halted due to the war, but resumed shortly after the war ended. In 1869 a prominent Atlanta business man, John J. Thrasher, bought two-hundred and fifty acres of land along the first stop on the newly constructed Richmond Danville Railroad.
This land sat atop the eastern continental divide, which directed the water flow either east to the Atlantic Ocean, or southwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Historically the Cherokee and Creek Indians had used the eastern continental divide ridge as a travel route to the Chattahoochee River. This path would eventually become what is today’s Peachtree Street after William Nesbit widened the path into a road to accommodate heavier travel.
These two hundred acres purchased by Thrasher along the railroad and today’s Peachtree Street is where the town began. Thrasher named this town after his good friend and the fourth mayor of Atlanta, Jonathan Norcross.
Today Norcross is a rich and vibrant historic community with many historic homes and buildings that have been built over the centuries. Many of these homes and buildings have been repurposed for modern use into restaurants, shops, and private residences. The Crossing Steak House at the center of the downtown area was once a train station that doubled as a passenger and freight depot. The original depot had a warehouse for cargo, railroad offices, a passenger waiting area, and ticket counter. The depot hustled and bustled with the activity that a train known as the "Air-Line Belle" created carrying commuters into Atlanta and back every day of the week, except for Sunday. Today patrons can enjoy a wonderful meal at this historic train depot and watch as train engines pass through Norcross just as they did in the past. Though it is no longer an active passenger rail line.
The town of Norcross has worked hard to preserve its historic community and small town atmosphere. In fact it was the first site to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Gwinnett County.
"Asset Detail." National Parks Service. Accessed May 25, 2017. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/AssetDetail?assetID=3a390e3d-4537-43fb-b047-d6ee28475291.