College Park was originally established in 1890 as the city of Manchester, a manufacturing town. The new town was incorporated on October 5, 1891, as the fourteenth district of Fulton County. In 1888, there were five homes in Manchester, two of which still stand in College Park.
In 1895, Cox College and Conservatory, also known as Southern Female College, moved to Manchester from LaGrange. A year later, in 1896, the town was renamed College Park because it was the home of Cox College and a school known as Southern Military Academy. The new name was actually a result of contest held by city officials. Eight thousand possible names were submitted in the naming contest, but Lula Roper, sister of U.S. Senator General Gordon, not only had her name chosen, but also received a choice lot. The city's name changed on January 29, 1896.
- College Park City Hall
Cox College closed in 1923, but then reopened in 1932 as a girl's finishing school. The school finally closed in 1938. Today, several structures including College Park City Hall, the city auditorium and the public library reside on the old Cox College property.
In 1897, Southern Military Academy was sold, and it reopened as Georgia Military Academy in 1900. To learn more about what is now Woodward Academy, please visit our history.
To give the town a more academic flair, avenues running east and west were named Mercer, Cambridge, Yale, Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia. Streets running north and south were named for famous people like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lee, Napoleon, etc. and for outstanding men of the city at that time, including Walker, Hawthorne and Hemphill.
- College Park Train Depot
In terms of the city’s public schools, the first schoolhouse was built on E. Virginia Avenue. By the time the schools became part of the Fulton County School System, there were four schools in College Park, George F. Longino School, Benjamin F. Neely School, Samuel Rollo Young School (originally built as College Park High School) and Alonzo Richardson High School.
College Park claims credit for the first outdoors electrically lighted Christmas tree in the Atlanta area and maybe the first of its kind in the US (1926). The city's light and water superintendent hand dipped plain light bulbs in red, green and blue paint to add color to his 30 to 40-foot trees. In 1935, three neon signs, erected at various entrances to College Park, welcomed newcomers with “Welcome to College Park” and alerted them of the 25 mph speed limit. These signs were a first in Georgia.
Finally another College Park tidbit is that on Oct. 11, 1927 Charles Lindbergh landed at Candler Field in the "Spirit of St. Louis". This is now Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
To learn more about the city, please visit the College Park's site and the Historic College Park Neighborhood Associations' site.