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Welcome to Lithonia the City of Granite

 

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The City of Lithonia is a focal point in East Dekalb.  Located one mile north of Interstate-20, and 18 miles east of downtown Atlanta, it is a community with small town atmosphere but big city conveniences.


Our History

The community traces its beginnings to the early 1840's when a tiny settlement sprang up at the intersection to two roads, one between McDonough and Lawrenceville and the other between Augusta and Decatur.  The small village was appropriately known as Cross Roads.

Cross Roads began growing when the Georgia Railroad completed its rail line through the town in 1845.  Running from Atlanta to Augusta, the line had an important role in the town's development.

The community got its unusual name, according to locals, when in the 1840's a teacher instructing Greek in a local school, combined the Greek words Litho meaning rock and Onia meaning place to create Lithonia.  Considering that East Dekalb area contains an abundance of Gneiss granite Lithonia was aptly named.

By 1850, Lithonia had about 250 residents.  Twenty-seven of its young men left town to serve in the Confederate Army.  Toward the end of the war between the states, General Sherman, on his famous march to the sea spent his first night out of Atlanta in the Philips house, known today as the Johnson Home located on Main Street.  During his stay in Lithonia, Sherman's troops burned the railroad depot and destroyed the tracks.  It is said a house near the railroad depot was also engulfed in flames.  According to one source of Lithonia  history, the Masonic Lodge was spared destruction when a Masonic apron was placed on a chair outside the lodge building.


Granite Industry

By the 1880's the town had been chartered as a City and Lithonia was growing.  Tools had been invented which made it possible to quarry the huge supply of granite that surrounds the area.  Coupled with the use of the newly invented steam drill Lithonia's world-wide prominence as invented steam drill Lithonia's world-wide prominence as a source of granite was assured.  Quarry names such as Big Ledge, Arabia Mountain, Rock Chapel Mountain and Pine Mountain, drew skilled stone cutters from Scotland, Wales, England, Italy, and the Scandinavian countries.  These artisans shaped and polished the granite into curbing and paving blocks for streets and into beautiful slabs and blocks for buildings in the nation's cities.

In the 1920's the demand for new and better roads for the increasing use of automobiles led to the need for crushed stone.  Lithonia's quarries responded and it is said that some days 40 railroad cars left the Rock Chapel quarry filled with crushed stone.  The sand and grit remaining was found to be an important by-product valuable as a soil nutrient and tons of granite sand were shipped to farmers and orchard growers throughout the United States.

Although, many of the quarries have been silent for several years, others have gone from being locally owned concerns to multi-national corporations.  Thousands of tons of crushed stone are transported from three of Lithonia's granite each day.

Development of the Lithonia Industrial Park in the late 1970's marked the town's growth beyond an economy based on the granite industry.  The park, approximately 800 acres, is now home to major corporations such as Griffith Laboratories, Weyerhaeuser Paper Co., and Pet Foods Inc. just to name a few, and it is still growing. Digital Marketing Agency


Contact Information

Telephone
770-482-8136
FAX
678-526-0267
 
Postal address
6980 Main Street Lithonia GA 30058
 
Electronic mail
General Information: cityoflithonia@aol.com
Webmaster: webmaster@meguhecomputers.com
 
Send mail to cityoflithonia@aol.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: November 12, 2001