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Fulton County

Date Built1911-14
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival/Beaux Arts Classicism
Designer. Ten Eyck Brown (Morgan & Dillion, associate architects)
Seat InformationAtlanta. The origin of Atlanta traces to an 1836 act of the General Assembly providing for construction of a railroad from DeKalb County northwest to Ross's Landing on the Tennessee River (site of present-day Chattanooga). A stake was driven into the ground in DeKalb County marking the southern terminus (or end) of the Western & Atlantic Railroad. As construction began on the railroad, a community grew up that became known as "Terminus." On Dec. 23, 1843, the General Assembly incorporated the railroad town, giving it a new name -- "Marthasville" -- in honor of the daughter of ex-governor Wilson Lumpkin (who was a strong backer of the railroad). On Dec. 26, 1845, the legislature renamed the town "Atlanta" (which was intended to represent the feminine counterpart of "Atlantic" from the Western & Atlantic Railroad). The 1853 act creating Fulton County designated Atlanta as county seat.
Courthouse DetailsAt the time of Fulton County's creation in Dec. 1853, the city of Atlanta was building its first city hall on a hill overlooking Atlanta. City officials had indicated they would be willing to allow the new county to use half of the building as a courthouse, and indeed in May 1854 city and county officials signed an agreement whereby Fulton County could use the new city hall as its courthouse rent-free for as long as it desired. The joint city hall/county courthouse was completed in Oct. 1854 and served both Atlanta and Fulton County for almost 30 years. In 1877, in fulfillment of a pledge city officials made to the legislature in order to keep Atlanta as state capital, Atlanta agreed to tear down the old city hall/county courthouse and build in its place a new state capitol. As a result, Fulton County officials began planning for a new courthouse. At their request, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation allowing Fulton County to levy a special tax to finance construction of a new courthouse. That facility -- a two-story red brick structure with a prominent clock tower -- was completed in 1882. It was located at the corner of Hunter St. [now MLK Jr. Ave.] and Pryor St. By 1907, plans were underway for a new courthouse, and the legislature passed an act that year allowing the county to issue bonds to finance construction of a new courthouse. In 1911, the old courthouse was torn down, and on the same site work began on Fulton County's third (and present) courthouse. When completed in 1914 at a cost of $1,250,000, Fulton County had Georgia's first million-dollar courthouse. It was also the largest, surpassing in square footage even the Georgia state capitol. However, as large as it was, Fulton County's growing population by the 1960s necessitated additional facilities for the county's government. The courthouse occupied half of a square block, so a new six-story Fulton County Administration Building was built behind it to house county agencies, officials, and the Fulton County Commission. By the 1980s, however, county government had outgrown existing facilities, so in 1986 work began on a new Fulton County Government Center -- a large complex across the street from the entrance of the courthouse. Completed in 1989, this became the home for Fulton County administrative and legislative offices. In the mid-1990s, the old Administration Building was torn down and replaced by the nine-story Fulton County Justice Center Tower.
County Data
Population 2000816,006
Population Growth12.8
County SeatAtlanta
County Area534.6 Square Miles
Location MapFulton County Location Map

Fulton County was created from the western half of DeKalb County on Dec. 20, 1853 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1853-54, p. 300). Created from the western half of DeKalb County, Georgia’s 105th county was named for famous inventor Robert Fulton, who demonstrated the practical use of steam power for water transportation by sailing the steamboat Clermont from New York City to Albany in 1807.

During the Depression, Fulton County almost tripled in area when Campbell and Milton counties were consolidated with Fulton on Jan. 1, 1932. Campbell County was created on Dec. 20, 1828 from portions of Carroll, Coweta, DeKalb, and Fayette counties. [Click here for profile of the old Campbell County courthouse.] Milton County was created on Dec. 18, 1847 from portions of Cherokee, Cobb, and Forsyth counties.

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Historical Population
2010 920,581
2000 816,006
1990 648,951
1980 589,904
1970 605,210
1960 556,326
1950 473,572
1940 392,886
1930 318,587
1920 232,606
1910 177,733
1900 117,363
1890 84,655
1880 49,137
1870 33,446
1860 14,427