History of Alpharetta, GA
The history of Alpharetta began during the 1830’s when Georgia was being subdivided into counties. Prior to that time, Alpharetta was a small community named New Prospect Camp consisting of some tents, a one room school, and a few lucky farmers who were in the process of discovering how valuable a crop of cotton could be. In 1857 after Milton County was created, people began calling New Prospect Camp the Town of Milton. On December 11, 1858, the Town of Milton received a city charter and was officially renamed Alpharetta, which roughly translates from the Greek language as “first town.” In 1860 Alpharetta had three hotels, a multi-room school, numerous stores and churches, and it was the county seat of Milton County.
Many of Alpharetta’s early written records were destroyed during the Civil War when the original Milton County Courthouse was burned. A local resident named Dr. O. P. Skeleton salvaged many of these court documents and hid them safely in Jackson County. Dr. O. P. Skeleton billed Milton County for $30.00 for his services rendered while in the course of saving Milton County but $30 was a lot of money at that time and the entire county was almost bankrupt after the Civil War. Milton County eventually paid one of Dr. Skeleton’s friends named John Webb $60.00 to retrieve and return what remained of Alpharetta’s historical documents. Dr. O.P. Skeleton went on to become a Postmaster and he retired as one of the wealthier citizens of Milton County.
In 1932 Milton County was merged into Fulton County and Alpharetta ceased being the county seat because Atlanta was already the official seat of Fulton County. Population growth and economic growth in Alpharetta during the 20th century was slow but steady after Georgia State Highway 19 was completed. In 1981 the population of Alpharetta was about 3,000. According to a 2008 population estimate, Alpharetta's population was 65,168, approximately 20% of Fulton County’s total population. During each workday, Alpharetta’s population almost doubles to more than 120,000 including residents, non-resident workers and visitors.