Duluth Town GreenDuluth Town Green

What’s in a name?
By Katie Hart Smith
Staff Correspondent

Which Gwinnett city was once referred to as Howell’s Cross Roads?
a) Norcross
b) Buford
c) Duluth

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The correct answer is c, Duluth.

About that time, Congress was still mocking a speech delivered by Kentucky Congressman, J. Proctor Knott. In his classic 1871 speech, he made fun of a bill before Congress to build a railroad to an obscure little town in Minnesota named Duluth. He felt it would be a waste of tax-payer money and put his heart and soul into a long, funny speech that actually killed the bill. 

Evan P. Howell thought it would be ironic to give this little Georgia town that was also connected with a railroad, the same name. Two of the streets in Duluth today, Proctor and Knott, are named for that Kentucky Congressman. Though it was given in jest, the people of Duluth still value this name.

To this day, descendants of Evan Howell include the Parsons family who are still making a positive impact to the area. Duluth has transformed from a quaint cotton community, evolved and grown to include being the home of Gwinnett’s first hospital, Joan Glancy Hospital, built in 1944. The City of Duluth now boasts a population estimated at nearly 30,000 residents. As Kathryn Parsons Willis, resident and Duluth historian, said, “Duluth has a determination to be more than just another suburb of Atlanta. Through its churches, citizens efforts, volunteerism around community events such as the Duluth Fall Festival, and other year-round activities on the Town Green, Duluth has continued to maintain the closeness and small town spirit that has been felt here for generations.” 

Source: Sincere appreciation goes to Kathryn Parsons Willis for sharing her knowledge about the history of Duluth. 

For more information about the City of Duluth, visit: http://www.duluthga.net.