History of Rockdale

With humble beginnings, Rockdale County is rich in history. The first settlers came to the area in the early 1700s, and populated the area along Hightower Trail. In 1816, the area officially opened to settlers, and a railroad was built to connect Augusta to Marthasville (current day Atlanta).

The settlement’s first inhabitant was a blacksmith by the name of Holcombe. He owned a substantial amount of land and opposed the railroad coming through his property. Dr. W.D. Conyers, a Covington banker, offered to buy the land from Holcombe. The two agreed on $700. Holcombe sold the land to Dr. Conyers, and the land was donated to the railroad.

The construction of the railroad remains an important element to the beginning of Conyers. First known as Conyers Station, the railroad authority named the City after Dr. Conyers because he easily negotiated the land transaction, and played an integral role in its construction. By 1854, Conyers’ population reached 400, and the citizens advocated for the town’s incorporation. The Legislature introduced and passed a bill, and on Feb. 16, 1854, Conyers became a town.

The quick growth of Conyers continued during the Reconstruction Period (1867 – 1877), with the town’s population soaring from 300 to 2,000 citizens. The rapid growth and rising independence created a desire for separation from what was known as the “Upper End”, from Newton County. This spur in growth led to the creation of Rockdale County.

Citizens elected John F. Hardin and John Harris of Newton County to the Legislature. In favor of forming a new county, the two men drew up a bill to create a new county from Newton and Henry Counties, with the bill approved on Oct. 18, 1870.

Rockdale became Georgia’s 133rd county and is the second smallest in size of Georgia’s 159 counties. Covering 128 square miles, Rockdale borders Gwinnett and Walton Counties on the north, Newton on the south, and Henry and DeKalb Counties on the west.

Since Rockdale’s founding, the county continues to grow economically. Through the development of the Georgia International Horse Park, Rockdale County hosted the 1996 Olympic Equestrian events. Rockdale is also a Camera Ready Community, which offers highly desirable financial incentives, location diversity, production resources and professional support to make any size production a true success. Rockdale continues to serve as a filming location for a number of movies and television shows.

Movies

2014 – Selma

2013 – Prisoners

2013 – Endless Love

2012 – Identity Thief

2011 – Joyful Noise

2011 – American Reunion

2011 – Fast Five

2003 – Gods and Generals

2002 – Sweet Home Alabama

1998 – Flash

Television Shows

2013 – The Originals (ongoing)

2012 – The Following (Pilot for FOX TV Series)

2011 – Teen Wolf (ongoing)

2011 – Vampire Diaries (ongoing)

2010 – Gillian in Georgia (mini-series)

1988 – In the Heat of the Night

1996 – Savannah

1979 – Dukes of Hazard