With a population of 85,215, Rockdale County is one of the most interesting areas in Georgia. Its county seat is Conyers. Rockdale has 8,566 companies within it, and it’s largest employers are 20th Century Fox Television, Rockdale Medical Center, and Warner Brothers / Bonanza Productions. Rockdale’s 2017 Chairman of the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber Board of Governors is Deanne Barnes.
With humble beginnings, Rockdale County is rich in history. According to Rockdale County’s official website, “The first settlers came to the area in the early 1700s, and populated the area along Hightower Trail. In 1816, the area officially opened to settlers, and a railroad was built to connect Augusta to Marthasville” (current day Atlanta).
The settlement’s first inhabitant was a blacksmith by the name of Holcombe. He owned a substantial amount of land and opposed the railroad coming through his property. Dr. W.D. Conyers, a Covington banker, offered to buy the land from Holcombe. The two agreed on $700. Holcombe sold the land to Dr. Conyers, and the land was donated to the railroad.
The construction of the railroad remains an important element to the beginning of Conyers. First known as Conyers Station, the railroad authority named the city after Dr. Conyers because he easily negotiated the land transaction, and played an integral role in its construction. By 1854, Conyers’ population reached 400, and the citizens advocated for the town’s incorporation. The Legislature introduced and passed a bill, and on Feb. 16, 1854, Conyers became a town.
The quick growth of Conyers continued during the Reconstruction Period (1867_- 1877), as the town’s population soared from 300 to 2,000 citizens. The rapid growth and rising independence created a desire for separation from what was known as the “Upper End”, from Newton County. This spur in growth led to the creation of Rockdale County”.
In Rockdale County, you can explore the heart of Conyers in historic Olde Town Rockdale and wander through the Lewis Vaughn Botanical Garden. Families can ride the rails on the Milstead 104 “Dinky” Steam Locomotive. The Georgia International Horse Park is a world-class facility located in Rockdale that hosted equestrian and mountain bike venues for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Today, this 1400-acre horse park is “a multi-purpose facility featuring horse and car shows, fairs, festivals, concerts, picnics, and banquets year-round”. Black Shoals Park, a 650-acre reservoir and recreational facility offers fishing, canoeing, boating, picnicking and hiking. Located on the site is the Georgia Veterans Memorial Park, “Walk of Heroes.” Finally, families can spend a day at Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia’s first conservation park.