By Cindy Crane
2015 WAS THE 175th ANNIVERSARY of Roswell Presbyterian Church (RPC) and thus the town of Roswell as Roswell was originally built within a one mile radius of RPC. The original sanctuary proudly stands today on Mimosa Blvd. As part of the 175th Anniversary, RPC asked Cindi Crane, author of Roswell Redemption, to add the history of RPC and Roswell from 1984 – 2014 to their history book, A History of Roswell Presbyterian Church, originally written by Clarece Martin. To follow is an excerpt from Chapter XIII, The Town…
Roswell proudly proclaims as its vision statement: “We are a family oriented, safe and attractive community that respects the natural environment, protects its historic character, and celebrates its culture. We are Roswell…The best place to live in Georgia.”
In the 1980’s Roswell began to grow and expand at an incredible rate with a population of 6,732 in 1970 to 23,337 in 1980. In a matter of a decade Roswell was transformed from a small town surrounded by woods, fields and farms into an affluent bedroom community in the most desirable suburban area of Atlanta. Roswell was forever changed as it became Georgia’s 8th largest city with a population of 91,168 in 2013. During the past thirty years Roswell has performed a balancing act between a desire to financially benefit from its tremendous growth and its desire to retain its character as a charming historic town with a high quality of life suitable for raising and nurturing a family.
Celebrated author and columnist Celestine Sibley at age 49 moved to a cabin near Roswell that she called Sweet Apple. Ms. Sibley was a prominent voice for the changes and considerable growth of Roswell. “Clamor has come to the country”, she wrote in 1980. In 1999 the Georgia Department of Transportation named a section of GA 140 the Celestine Sibley Highway.
In 1975 540 acres in the city were designated as the Roswell Historic District. It generally encompassed Mimosa Boulevard, Bulloch Avenue, the Roswell Square, the Roswell Square stores, and the area in the vicinity of Sloan Street. The Historic District has now expanded to include land and properties from the Chattahoochee River north to Woodstock Road.
The City of Roswell purchased Bulloch Hall (1972), Smith Plantation (1985), and Barrington Hall (2005), homes of some of the original founding members of Roswell Presbyterian Church. Rev. Dr. Nathaniel A. Pratt’s home, Great Oaks is used as a special events facility.
Former Mayor Pug Mabry stressed the importance to the city of developing Canton Street when he stated, “As goes the Historic District, so goes the City of Roswell.”
Visit Roswell Presbyterian Church’s History Room for more information about the church and the town of Roswell. CC