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Gwinnett County Historical Markers

“Holy Row”

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: “Holy Row”
  • Location: Sunset Drive at North Peachtree Street, Norcross


Sunset Drive, originally known as Church Street, and later “Holy Row” has a long and storied past. On November 6, 1875 Norman Flavius Cooledge, an educator, bought the parcel of land (currently the site of the Summerour House) on the corner of North Peachtree Street and Sunset Drive (then Church Street) from John J. Thrasher, Norcross’ founder, for $66. This was the site of the original school house which had been established by Professor Vincent in 1872. On the rear of the property, the Masonic Lodge occupied a portion of a two-story building, known as the Community House which had been erected in 1871, until they relocated to Downtown Norcross in 1909. The remainder of the building was used by the Baptist Church, which was formed on May 17, 1872 when a group of seventeen people, including Mr. Thrasher and Mr. Cooledge met in the building for the purpose of forming a church. William N. Davis was the first pastor and Mr. Cooledge was the Sunday School Superintendent. The Community House was also used by the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church for a period of time, prior to building their own facilities. As the town grew, more churches were added and Mr. Thrasher wanted to provide homes for the pastors. Further down Church Street he laid out five four-acre tracts of land, built houses on them, and presented them to the pastors of the local churches. This is how Church Street became known as “Holy Row” and remained as such until it was renamed Sunset Drive in 1962. The Community House which housed the Masonic Lodge and the early churches later burned and the area was then used by the City Water Services for their water tank.