More History is held in our archives

The Johns Creek Historical Society houses over 200 research books, plus dozens of magazines and booklets, videos and audio recordings. Donations have added photos, artifacts, oral histories, and documents. Years of research has produced 1000s of digital documents and folders of hard-copy resources. Topics include local and Georgia history, the Creek and Cherokee, slavery, farming, and genealogy.

Our collection of maps is growing too! Maps include digital, paper, historic, custom-designed, and one-of-a-kind maps that document the local area and Georgia over 200 years.

See more about the holdings in our archives.

See topics we are researching.


These questions are based on recent research on-going by the historical society. Asking these history questions is hopefully a way to increase the interest in the history of Johns Creek, Georgia.

Let us know if you find these questions/answers interesting or if you have your own question you would like us to answer. contact us

Archive of Past History Questions

QUESTION: A canal here for barge transport between the Mississippi and the Atlantic???
That was the plan 150 years ago, but HOW and WHERE would a water-filled canal with barge traffic cross the Chattahoochee River?

ANSWER: The short answer is Aqueduct and near today's Abbotts Bridge. The canal through the area that is Johns Creek today was part of a plan to connect the Mississippi River with the Atlantic Ocean. The "Great Western & Atlantic Canal" would have created hundreds of miles of contiguous waterway with a string of navigable rivers and constructed canals. It would have been a game changer here, providing a method to get local agricultural products to regional markets and to Atlantic ports for international trade - at a fraction of the cost of trains or horse-drawn wagons.

Crossing the Chattahoochee was a challenge, but a string of reports in December 1871 from the Engineer Corps camped near Warsaw Ferry (near today's State Bridge) reported a most likely crossing near today's Abbotts Bridge. When the Senate required a more detailed survey, the crossing was specified as an aqueduct bridge 117 feet above the river and over 3.5 miles in length!

There's much more to this story, and many others, located in publications and records in the Johns Creek Historical Society archives.

For example, the canal isn't the only potential big project here that ultimately didn't happen. From the 1830s to the 1950s experts, surveyors, governors, and Congressional Commissions arrived for site visits. Had any of those projects been completed, this area would have developed very differently, impacting local history and the Johns Creek we see today.

Joan Compton, April 4, 2023

QUESTION: What Johns Creek Country Club had their original club house and sales center in a cattle barn?

ANSWER: ST. IVES! According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1988, aerial photos, and other sources, in about 1940 Fred Wilson built a large brick barn on his farm (on the site of today's St. Ives club property) to house his prize-winning Black Angus breeding bulls. In the 1980's, the developers of St. Ives renovated the structure as St. Ives' first clubhouse and sales center into what the article says was "a beautiful structure...[its] impressive architecture and interior furnishings give no clues about the original purpose of the renovated structure." In 1990 the current clubhouse appears, with the cattle barn clubhouse still evident in 1993, but by the 1999 aerial photo, the beautiful historic re-purposed brick barn is gone, replaced by tennis courts and a parking lot.

If anyone has photos of the cattle barn or the clubhouse/sales center it became, please let us know. We'd love to have them (or copies) in the Johns Creek history archives. In the meantime, below is a sketch of Wilson's brick cattle barn and a photo of the same structure re-purposed as the 1988 St. Ives original clubhouse/sales center.

Joan Compton, February 4, 2023

Top: Sketch of Wilson's cattle barn by Joan Compton December 2022

Bottom: Photo from January 9, 1988 AJC article by Alfred L. King

QUESTION: What is the origin of the name Cauley Creek?

ANSWER: The name is familiar from the City's 200 acre park currently under construction on Bell Road, and Cauley Creek is referenced in a number of history events, but what's the origin of the name?  Initial research indicates Cornelius Cawley, an early settler arriving here in the 1830s, with a home at the intersection of today's Medlock Bridge and McGinnis Ferry roads and family farm land that included Cauley Creek. He was the first Bailiff and also the Justice of the Peace of the old Shakerag and Warsaw communities.  He's buried here in Johns Creek with the earliest marked grave (1853) in the Warsaw Cemetery.

Joan Compton, September 22, 2022

QUESTION: What is Johns Creek Technology Park?

ANSWER: This name is familiar from the large monument signs along Medlock Bridge Road and discussions of Technology Park as the location of the new town center and the proposed "Avalon-type" development. It was a big story in its day (beginning in the mid-1980s), covering 1600 acres of a live-work-play community with businesses, commercial, a golf club, churches, and housing.  Over 120 photos and records have been collected during our research to document its vision, evolution, impact on this rural area, and to create a time line of its construction with the names and order of companies  that moved in.

Joan Compton, September 22, 2022