Newton County welcomes visitors interested in genealogy tourism and history tourism. Thanks to the efforts of the Newton County Historical Society, our county has a rich history that is preserved. Since 1971, our local historical society has been dedicated to historic preservation and maintains archives that date back to the mid-1860s.
Historic Preservation of The Brick Store
The Brick Store is one of the oldest structures in Newton County and it is also the third oldest commercial building in the state of Georgia. It is an important structure for history tourism. The Newton County Historical Society has been pivotal in its historic preservation by maintaining the structure as well as keeping records on its extensive past and preserving materials connected to the store.
Built in 1821, the Brick Store was used in many ways, including as a general store, stagecoach stop, post office, schoolhouse, courtroom, jail, and a residence. A few years ago, the building was donated by Charles M. Jordan to the Newton County Historical Society. The Brick Store is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 278 and Old Social Circle Road. The Newton County Historical Society opens it periodically and plans to have a special event there in 2021 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Newton County.
Sharing Newton County History
For those of you interested in history tourism, the Newton County Historical Society fosters learning about our county’s past through two displays at the Old Courthouse and the Newton County Library’s Heritage Room. The materials on display change every two to three months. Both locations were tentatively closed due to the pandemic. When the library reopens, you’ll be able to see the current display of photos and articles about the early schools in our area. The Old Courthouse currently has general historical material that will be available to see when it reopens.
If you visit our area for genealogy tourism, don’t miss a visit to the old Cousins School on Geiger Street. The society has an archival group that opens their extensive archives to the public at the old Cousins School. Residents and visitors can view the archive documents every second and fourth Wednesday once the building reopens. It was tentatively closed due to the pandemic. The group understands that getting to the old school during their scheduled openings can be difficult for out of town visitors and particularly researchers who are trying to get more information in a limited amount of time. They try to accommodate people, so direct message the group through their Facebook page to see if they can schedule a time for you.
Much of the material that the Newton County Historical Society specializes in dates between the mid-1860s through the 1940s. This material includes courthouse records, the Tax Digest, United Daughters of the Confederate records, and probate court records. They also have one of the area’s most current grave maps to help locate cemeteries.
Another way they foster learning of our county history is through their quarterly meetings. They often meet at historical sites and have speakers present on historic interests. Contact them through their Facebook page if you are interested in attending.
Locating Places for History Tourism
If you are specifically looking for places of historical interest in Newton County to visit, the Newton County Historical Society published a book in 1988 titled, History of Newton County. A charter member and past president of the historical society, Jean (Jinx) Kimbrough O’Neal Faulkner, spearheaded this project, which included 1,000 pages that highlight 25 of our local landmarks. We are forever grateful for her tireless service dedicated to historic preservation in Newton County.