Hogansville was named for William Hogan, who in the early 1830’s owned two of the original land grants from the state of Georgia. His land lots included what is now Main Street, from Church Street east to Mountville Road, south to near Taliaferro Drive, west to near Brooks Road, and including the mill and part of the mill village. Hogan’s land also included the intersection of the north-south railroad from Atlanta to West Point, and the east-west road toward Augusta, now Highway 100. When Hogan and other landowners gave the right of way to the Atlanta-West Point Railroad in the 1840’s, Hogan gave 150 feet at the crossroads with the stipulation that a depot be built there. His foresight in this grant was the beginning of the town, long before it was incorporated in 1870.
When Hogan settled the land after the State Land Grant of 1826, he built a log home somewhere near the location of the Mill on Highway 29. In 1851, he built a brick colonial house, but the home burned in 1899 and was rebuilt nearby in 1901. A private residence at 703 East Main Street currently occupies the site. William Hogan died at 57 after having 6 children by his first wife Mary and 15 by his second wife Suzanna. Because of this, his descendants are numerous with many still living in the area. William Hogan is buried in the small family cemetery in front of 705 East Main Street.
After the Civil War
Hogan sold very little of his land prior to the Civil War. The survivors of the War returned to a very grave economic situation. Reconstruction days began and John Pullin, Hogan’s son-in-law, had the town laid out in business lots which were sold at an Administrators sale in 1866. Main Street was laid out sixty feet wide extending east and west on both sides of the railroad tracks.
The town of Hogansville was incorporated on October 12, 1870, and immediately was known as a center of commerce and the largest cotton market in the area.
By 1890, the Zachry Building was constructed at the corner of Main and College. The Zachry Brothers’ store occupied the first floor and sold general merchandise including liquor by the bottle and by the drink. Some years later, the Opera House opened on the second floor. Around 1900, the Grand Hotel was built by a stock company on the southeast corner of Main and Oak Streets. In those days old Bill Dukes and his Ox cart met every train and delivered luggage to the Hotel. He also rang the dinner bell as he walked the length of the two porches, upstairs and downstairs, shouting “Dinner is served!” The porches extended all across the front and sides of the building on two floors. This hotel is still standing and has been restored.
Turn of the century
For much of its existence Hogansville was a mill town. In 1897, businessmen from Atlanta and Hogansville chartered the Hogansville Manufacturing Company. The mill was built near Yellow Jacket Creek, and a “mill village,” bounded by Green, Dickinson, Askew and Johnson Streets, was constructed to house the workers. In 1905 the mill was bought by Consolidated Duck of Delaware, who sold it to Lockwood-Green of Boston in 1913. Callaway of LaGrange bought the mill in 1928, and finally the company that was to become Uniroyal bought the mill and operated it for many years. Currently the mill operates as Industrial Specialty Fabrics.
With the Great Depression and the dramatic fall of cotton prices, Hogansville fell on hard economic times during the 1920’s and 30’s. The town benefited from many of the programs of the Roosevelt Administration. The WPA helped to build the gymnasium and tennis courts at the school on Main Street and the CCC built the Hogansville Amphitheater using stone from a nearby rock quarry. Since a recent restoration, the amphitheater is the sight of many local events including the West Georgia Idol Contest.
Hogansville also had ties to Roosevelt on a more personal level. Mr. Hugh Darden owned the Ford dealership in town. Chief salesman Joe Broome sold to FDR the hand controlled car he drove while in Warm Springs, Georgia. The car is now on display at the Little White House.
Post war and contemporary
The period after World War II and through the Korean War brought great prosperity to the town of Hogansville. It was the commercial center for northern Troup County, Heard, and Meriwether Counties and southern Coweta County. Main Street was abuzz with activity and the sidewalks were choked with shoppers every Saturday. In 1937, the Royal Theater was built by Mr. O.C. Lam. His brother, Mr. C.O. Lam was superintendent of schools at the time. This theater, an excellent example of Art Deco style, was the center of social life in Hogansville for decades.
With the coming of the mass use of automobiles in the 1950s, dark clouds were gathering for Hogansville. The car allowed people to travel farther and farther to larger stores and the local merchants suffered. The 1960s brought social upheaval to Hogansville along with the rest of the country. When faced with the choice of integrating or closing their schools, those in favor of maintaining schools prevailed and the schools were integrated almost without incident. Current times see Hogansville looking to the future and re-establishing itself as a cultural and artistic center as well as becoming a bedroom community for the region.