White was named for James Alexander White (1832-1925), who was born in North Carolina, and spent most of his childhood on the family farm in the nearby Pine Log community. Following his service to the Confederacy, he relocated to the area which would bear his name around 1870. Within ten years, White established a permanent home and a store at the intersection of the Old Tennessee Road and Calhoun Roads (now Richard’s Road). He would serve as the town’s first postmaster in 1890 and his store would house the first post office. As the years passed, the business district of White would continue to grow from this point north along the Old Tennessee Road. The first school to serve White, established in the 1890’s, was located south of the business district. White would continue to enjoy quality schools through the years, becoming a part of the Bartow County School system.

The town thrived on the surrounding agricultural community and the nearby mining operations at Aubrey, just south of the town. Businesses of all types sprang up including the Bank of White. The year 1906 saw the completion of the L & N Railroad through White connecting the Western & Atlantic Railroad at Cartersville with Knoxville. Rail traffic enhanced life in the White community allowing residents a mode of convenient transportation plus more efficient freight and mail service. However, over time, bus travel and the automobile replaced railroad passenger service. No longer needed, the White depot was torn down in 1962. The community of White became the town of White, incorporated August 12, 1919. Dr. W. B. Vaughan was appointed by the Georgia Legislature as mayor with J. W. Tierce, J. T. Pierce, L. G. Hughes, and W. R. White, alderman.

Disaster struck on the night of June 4, 1925, when a fire blazed through the business district. According to The History of White, Georgia, the fire was first discovered in the store operated by a Mr. Harry Woodall, who occupied the lower half of the building owned by Mrs. Steve King. A small structure adjoining the Woodall store went up in smoke, before flames spread across the street enveloping the buildings occupied by J. M. Hamrick, Shinall Brothers, the Neal grist mill, Frank Brown’s restaurant, the brick structure owned by John Henry Hardin and formerly known as the Bank of White and two residences. Elrod Brothers was the only store left standing. Over the next several years, the business district grew back stronger than before. However, new challenges faced White, primarily the depression of the thirties and the closing of mining activities at Aubrey, both a major employer and a primary source of revenue. Also, U. S. Highway 411 was commissioned in 1936, surveyed through White on the east side of the railroad. Once completed, the business district gradually shifted from the west side of the tracks to the east side. Over time the old business district along the Old Tennessee Highway ceased to exist with either its buildings torn down or just abandoned.

Through the years since World War II, White has continued to survive, primarily through its many churches deeply rooted in the fabric of its existence. The town became the City of White in 1962 when the original charter was revised. Improvements to the city have included infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of its citizens and the demands of potential industry and businesses. Interstate 75 to the south, completed December 21, 1977, diverted much of the traffic away from U. S. Highway 411,though several independent stores and restaurants have proved quite successful. The 2004 addition of a major tire manufacturer to the north, the addition of a new City Hall in 2012 and the 2011 relocation of Cass High School to the west lends promise to a bright future.

Source:The History of Bartow County, Formerly Cass by Lucy Josephine Cunyus; The History of White, Georgia by White Historical Committee.

Return to Bartow History >