There really was a Mr. Norcross, but first there was a Mr. Thrasher. John J. Thrasher was a 21-year-old entrepreneur when he built the railroad settlement that was first called Thrasherville in 1839, and then Terminus and Marthasville before it was finally incorporated as Atlanta in 1847.
He was a Georgia legislator and railroad man and became one of Atlanta’s most prominent citizens. In 1869, Thrasher bought 250 acres around the first stop north along the proposed Richmond-Danville rail line. A year later, the area was incorporated. Thrasher became its first mayor and he named the area after his good friend and fellow entrepreneur, Jonathan Norcross. The town of Norcross was the second city in Gwinnett County and the first to be placed on the National Registry of History Places.
There is a lot of past to celebrate in Norcross, but also an exciting present and future as evidenced by the city’s calendar filled with so many upcoming events there seems to always be something to do in this historic Gwinnett County town. “Every year, the City of Norcross hosts a plethora of activities for the holidays through its annual event ‘Sparkle! A Celebration of Kids, Creativity and Magic,’” said City of Norcross Mayor Craig Newton. “This year is no different with carriage rides, marshmallow-roasting, Christmas tree lighting, concerts and more taking over the month of December in the city...Come and get your ‘Sparkle’ on in Norcross.”
On Saturday, Nov. 12, visitors are invited to attend the Historic Norcross Holiday Open House as downtown merchants decorate, offer door prizes, sales and refreshments. “Sparkle! Celebration Tree Lighting” will be Friday, Dec. 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Thrasher Park. There will be hot cocoa and s’mores and a classic holiday movie on the big screen to watch while in line to meet Santa. Disney princess performers and The Grinch will be on hand to greet visitors. The Historic Norcross Business Association will host Historic Norcross Christmas Village Dec. 2-4, featuring costumed characters, live music, street vendors, food trucks, face painting, bell ringers, carolers, live animals and holiday specials at city shops. Santa is expected to cruise by on the city’s electric trolley. Carriage rides will begin down South Peachtree Street at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Board in front of Taste of Britain. The city offers free carriage rides, having hired coachman Joe Watkins for the past 20 years. In addition to the carriage rides, most all other activities are also free. Carriage rides will continue each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from Dec. 2-21, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Photos with Santa will also be available Dec. 2-21 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6-8 p.m. Happening Dec. 12, is Movie Monday at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. at the Cultural Arts & Community Center with light refreshments. This month’s feature is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” For more information on activities in Norcross, visit www.aplacetoimagine.com.