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Canton, Georgia
Canton Town Square
Canton Town Square
Location in Cherokee County in the state of Georgia
Location in Cherokee County in the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Cherokee
 • Total 18.7 sq mi (48.5 km2)
 • Land 18.6 sq mi (48.2 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
968 ft (295 m)
 • Total 22,958
 • Density 1,235/sq mi (476.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
30114, 30115, 30169
Area code(s) 770/678/470
FIPS code 13-12988
GNIS feature ID 0331320

Canton is a city in and the county seat of Cherokee County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 22,958, up from 7,709 at the 2000 census.


Canton is located near the center of Cherokee County at 34°13′38″N 84°29′41″W / 34.22722°N 84.49472°W / 34.22722; -84.49472 (34.227307, −84.494727). The city lies just north of Holly Springs and south of Ball Ground. Interstate 575 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 14 through 20. Canton is 40 miles (64 km) north of downtown Atlanta via I-575 and I-75.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.7 square miles (48.5 km2), of which 18.6 square miles (48.2 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.76%, is water. The Etowah River, a tributary of the Coosa River, flows from east to west through the center of the city.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 214
1880 363 69.6%
1890 659 81.5%
1900 847 28.5%
1910 2,002 136.4%
1920 2,679 33.8%
1930 2,892 8.0%
1940 2,651 −8.3%
1950 2,716 2.5%
1960 2,411 −11.2%
1970 3,654 51.6%
1980 3,601 −1.5%
1990 4,817 33.8%
2000 7,709 60.0%
2010 22,958 197.8%
Est. 2015 25,469 10.9%
U.S. Decennial Census


As of the 2010 census, there were 22,958 people, 8,204 households, and 5,606 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,234.3 people per square mile (476.8/km²). There were 9,341 housing units at an average density of 502.2 per square mile (194.0/km²).

There were 8,204 households, out of which 42.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were headed by married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.8% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77, and the average family size was 3.30.

Ethnicity, age, and sex

The racial makeup of the city was 75.6% White, 8.9% African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 10.2% some other race, 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race comprised 22.5% of the population.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 34.7% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.6 years. For every 100 females there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.


For the period 2010-12, the estimated median annual income for a household in the city was $46,691, and the median income for a family was $52,432. Male full-time workers had a median income of $36,971 versus $37,092 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,705. About 13.4% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.6% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.


Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the site where Canton would be founded lay in the heart of the Cherokee Nation. During the first 100 years of Georgia's history, Northwest Georgia was generally considered "Indian Country" and was bypassed by settlers going West. Georgia had made a treaty with the federal government in 1802 shortly after the Revolutionary War to relinquish its Western Territory (it claimed the Pacific Ocean as its western boundary) in exchange for the removal of all Indians within its boundaries. Although other tribes had been removed, the Cherokee remained. Since this was the heartland of the Cherokee Nation, the state and nation were reluctant to disturb them. But following the Georgia Gold Rush in 1829, European-American settlers ignored the Indian problems and began to move into the area north of Carrollton and west of the Chattahoochee River and named it Cherokee.

Many members of the Cherokee Nation moved west in 1829, but the majority stayed until removed by federal troops sent into the area during the summer of 1838. The remaining Cherokee were gathered and held in forts until the removal could be completed. Present-day Cherokee County had the largest and most southerly of these forts, Fort Buffington, which stood 6 miles (10 km) east of Canton. Today nothing stands to identify its timber structure, but the area is marked by a large piece of green Cherokee marble quarried near Holly Springs. By autumn of 1838, the federal troops had accomplished their mission, and the Cherokee at Fort Buffington were marched off to join other groups on the infamous "Trail of Tears," a lengthy march in worsening winter weather to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.

The new settlers chose a site for a permanent county seat and courthouse in 1833, naming it "Etowah". The name was changed to "Cherokee Courthouse" in 1833. In 1834 it was changed to "Canton" (pronounced cant'n), after the Chinese city of Guangzhou, which was then known in English as Canton (pronounced can tahn). The name was chosen because a group of citizens had dreams of making the Georgia town a center of the silk industry, which was concentrated in China at the time. Though Canton never became a significant silk center, it did become a successful manufacturing community.

During the American Civil War, Canton, which had a population of about 200, was burned between the dates of November 1–5, 1864, by the Union Army under the command of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. Canton was destroyed by a foraging party of the Ohio 5th Cavalry under the command of Major Thomas T. Heath. At the time the Ohio 5th Cavalry was headquartered in Cartersville. The written order for destruction was given on October 30, 1864, by Brig. General John E. Smith. Union troops were ordered to burn the town because of Confederate guerrilla attacks coming from Canton and directed against the Western and Atlantic Railroad near the town of Cassville. The railroad was a vital supply line for the Union Army from the captured city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to newly captured Atlanta. The Union troops identified the Canton home of Governor Joseph E. Brown for destruction. The same Union party destroyed Cassville, the county seat of neighboring Bartow County, on November 5, 1864, as it has also been a base of guerrilla actions. Cassville never rebuilt, but Canton survived to prosper, as it was the county seat.

Over the years, Canton evolved from unsettled territory to a prosperous mill town known the world over for its "Canton Denim". The original county of 1831 now includes 24 counties. The city of Canton remains the county seat.

The poultry division of Central Soya Corporation located a plant to the region in the 1954 which is now Pilgrims Pride. The Canton Cotton Mills, which produced the famous "Canton Denim", closed in 1981. Since then, Canton has grown as the suburbs of Atlanta have expanded northward, and is currently experiencing its period of greatest population growth, which nearly tripled between 2000 and 2010.


The Cherokee County Airport (FAA LOC ID: 47A) is located adjacent to I-575 7 miles (11 km) northeast of downtown Canton.

A redevelopment project currently underway includes an already completed 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) terminal, the ongoing lengthening of the runway from its current 3,414 to 5,000 feet (1,041 to 1,524 m), a new parallel taxiway, instrument landing equipment, and new hangars. The new facilities will accommodate 200 hangared corporate aircraft and provide 100 tie-downs for smaller aircraft.

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