Historic College Park is Georgia’s fourth largest urban Historic District. There are 606 acres and 853 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. This totally planned community was originally established in 1890 as the city of Manchester, a manufacturing town. In 1895, Cox College and Conservatory, also known as Southern Female College, moved to Manchester from LaGrange, Georgia. A year later in 1896, the town was renamed College Park since it was not only the home of Cox College, but also Southern Military Academy. The new name was actually a result of contest held by city officials. Lula Roper not only had her submitted name chosen, but also received a choice lot!
Cox College closed in 1923, but then reopened in 1932 as a girl’s finishing school. The school finally closed in 1938 and the property was sold to the city of College Park and the Fulton County Board of Education. Today, Woodward Academy and several structures including College Park City Hall, the city auditorium, public library and McClarin High School reside on the old Cox College property.
For several years College Park provided an academic community for both colleges, but in 1897 Southern Military Academy was sold and reopened as Georgia Military Academy in 1900. The school was mainly a boy’s boarding school until 1964 when the first female was admitted. The military program was dropped two years later in 1966 and it was renamed Woodward Academy. The boarding program was discontinued in 1993. Woodward Academy remains to this day the largest private college preparatory school in the contiguous 48 states with over 2,700 students on two campuses including the main campus in College Park and a satellite elementary campus in Johns Creek.
College Park Today – Main Street
Historic preservation is the foundation for College Park’s Main Street Revitalization. Design standards and zoning ordinances serve to guide current and future projects on the mile-long historic business corridor.
Through assistance from the College Park Development/Main Street Office, specialty businesses have replaced some vacant storefronts and traditional business. Successful business recruitment incentives, including a public-private partnership, have brought life to numerous historic buildings on Main Street thus creating exciting shopping venues for residents and visitors in this metro-Atlanta community.
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La Veria Baker