DescriptionIn Roswell you can practically hear the past whispering in your ear. Cherokee Native Americans called the verdant banks of the Chattahoochee River the “Enchanted Land.” The first Native Americans to create and use a written language and alphabet, the Cherokee were a very progressive tribe. And as the white man began infiltrating their Georgia homeland, members of the Cherokee Nation began adopting the white man’s ways, becoming shopkeepers, farmers and mill operators in an attempt to survive the encroachment.
There was no turning back, however, once gold was discovered in northern Georgia in 1828. Settlers began flooding in, among them one Roswell King, who recognized the untapped potential of the region’s rich natural resources and built a water-powered cotton mill. By 1850, the mills of the Roswell Manufacturing Co. were churning out cloth, flannel, yarn and rope, and a mill town was on the map.
At first glance Roswell, about 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta, seems swallowed up by the metro area’s inexorable outward push. Neighboring Alpharetta Highway and Holcomb Bridge Road are a sea of businesses, office buildings and tightly packed strip centers. Even Canton and Atlanta streets, which pass right through the middle of Roswell’s historic district, are busy thoroughfares. To do this town right you need to explore at least some of it on foot.
Make your first stop Town Square (Atlanta and Sloan streets), which has a layout that’s a bit reminiscent of a New England village. Before you set off exploring, pick up maps and information at the visitor center across the street. Within walking distance of Town Square are a trio of gracious old antebellum mansions, the Archibald Smith Plantation Home, Barrington Hall and Bulloch Hall.
Some 16 miles of scenic hiking trails meander throughout town. Just off Mill Street is Old Mill Park, where you can follow an interpretive trail to the ruins of Ivy Mill. A covered bridge links the park to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers burned a bridge at the river crossing to try and slow down the Union army’s progress toward Atlanta.
Come face to face with Roswell's spooky past on the Roswell Ghost Tour , which departs from the bandstand in Roswell Square (across from the Roswell Visitors Center). A highlight of this tour through the city's historic district is a visit to Founders Cemetery. The tour is not recommended for young children. Phone (770) 649-9922 for schedule information.
Enjoy guided historic home tours and witness the lighting of the town square during Christmas in Roswell in November and December. The best part? Actors re-enact the 1853 wedding of Mittie Bulloch and Theodore Roosevelt.
Visitor InfoVisit Roswell Georgia Convention and Visitors Bureau 617 Atlanta St. ROSWELL, GA 30075. Phone:(770)640-3253 or (800)776-7935
Self-guiding toursIf it’s about Roswell the visitors center (617 Atlanta St.) has it: brochures outlining the historic district and Roswell Mill Village, audio tours, promotional videos, event information and the Southern Trilogy Pass that offers discounted admission to three historic houses.
ShoppingHave fun shopping on Canton Street, lined with specialty stores and the Shoppes of Plumtree Village (1035-1065 Canton St.).
When you feel like taking a break, head to the Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House (352 S. Atlanta St.). Their motto is “drink coffee, do good,” and the reason is that money from coffee bean purchases is funneled back to growers and home-based small business owners in Rwanda; Land of a Thousand Hills uses only premium Rwandan beans for their lattes, espressos and other brews. This comfy place (it occupies a restored house) has couches, a patio out back and free Wi-Fi, plus live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Things to SeeArchibald Smith Plantation Home