Duluth was originally Cherokee territory. When Duluth was established in the early 19th century, it was primarily forest land occupied by tribespeople. An Indian trail, called Old Peachtree Road by the settlers, was extended through the area during the War of 1812 to connect Fort Peachtree in present-day Atlanta with Fort Daniel near present-day Dacula. When Gwinnett County was established in 1818, white settlement of the area accelerated.
Cotton merchant Evan Howell constructed a road connecting his cotton gin at the Chattahoochee River with Old Peachtree Road, creating Howell's Cross Roads. The settlement later became known as "Howell's Crossing". Howell was the grandfather of Atlanta Mayor Evan P. Howell and great-grandfather of Atlanta Constitution publisher Clark Howell. His descendants continue to live in the area, but only Howell Ferry Road in Duluth bears the name.
Howell's Crossing was renamed "Duluth" in 1871 after Congress funded a north-south railroad line into the community. It was named after the city of Duluth, Minnesota. The Midwestern city had gotten its own railroad connection not long before, which had prompted Rep. J. Proctor Knott, a Kentucky Democrat, to make a speech in Congress mocking the project as wasteful. That speech drew national attention. According to contemporary reports, Evan P. Howell himself jokingly suggested the name change in a speech about the arrival of railroad service in the Georgia town. (Duluth, Minnesota, is named for Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut (1636–1710), a French captain and explorer of the upper Midwest, who negotiated peace between the Chippewa and the Sioux nation.)
The railroad encouraged the growth of Duluth's economy. A schoolhouse was built in 1871 on the site of what is now Coleman Middle School (formerly Duluth Middle School and Duluth Elementary School). The first Methodist church was organized in 1871, and the first Baptist congregation formed in 1886. Both churches continue today at new locations along State Route 120. The Bank of Duluth was charted in 1904, followed by the Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1911. Neither survived the Great Depression.
In 1922, Duluth elected Georgia's first female mayor, Alice Harrell Strickland. She donated 1-acre (4,000 m2) of land for a "community forest" and began efforts to conserve land for public recreation.
Duluth grew rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s, along with the rest of Gwinnett County. Georgia Governor George Busbee became a resident of Duluth in 1983 after leaving office, moving to the Sweet Bottom Plantation subdivision developed by Scott Hudgens. A major revitalization of the Duluth downtown area was undertaken in the early 21st century. Development along Sugarloaf Parkway has continued with construction of the Gwinnett Arena near the Gwinnett Convention Center.
In much of the 20th century, when Gwinnett County was still rural, Duluth was known in the area as being one of the few small towns with its own hospital, Joan Glancy Memorial Hospital. Consequently, many older residents of the area who call other towns home were actually born in Duluth. Joan Glancy was replaced with Gwinnett Medical Center - Duluth in 2006. The site of the old Joan Glancy hospital is now GMC's Glancy Campus, home to the Glancy Rehabilitation Center, the Duluth location of GMC's Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center and the Duluth location of GMC's Center for Sleep Disorders.
The city made national headlines twice in 2005. In March, Fulton County Courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols was captured in a Duluth apartment after holding a woman hostage. In April, local resident Jennifer Wilbanks was reported missing a few days before her planned wedding to John Mason. She was found a few days later in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she admitted to having lied about being kidnapped.
Duluth is located in the northeastern section of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Approximately 20 mi (32 km) from Downtown Atlanta, the city lies in the west-central section of Gwinnett County, bounded to the north by the Chattahoochee River (which also acts as the county line), northeast by Suwanee, south by unincorporated land, and west by Berkeley Lake.
Unincorporated portions of Forsyth County use a Duluth ZIP code despite being outside Duluth city limits in a different county. A significant part of the nearby city of Johns Creek in Fulton County shares at least one ZIP code with Duluth.
As of the census of 2000, there were 22,122 people, 8,735 households, and 5,642 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,512.3 people per square mile (969.5/km²). There were 9,061 housing units at an average density of 1,029.0 per square mile (397.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.65% White, 11.86% African American, 0.33% Native American, 12.89% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.83% from other races, and 2.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.05% of the population.
There were 8,735 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.10.
In age 18 and over, for every 100 females there were 94.5 males.
As of the census of 2010, there were 26,600 people, 11,313 households. The racial makeup of the city was 41.5% White, 19.5% African American, 22.2% Asian, and Hispanic race were 14.0% of the population. 2.8% from two or more races.Advanced Armament Corporation
Asbury Automotive Group
Merial Animal Health
The average income for a household in the city was $60,088, and the median income for a family was $69,437. Males had a median income of $46,683 versus $34,334 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,185. About 3.0% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.
Duluth has an annual Fall Festival, held in a town center. The Southeastern Railway Museum is located in Duluth, and is Georgia's official transportation museum.
The Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, a professional minor league ice hockey team (formerly known as the Gwinnett Gladiators), plays in the Infinite Energy Arena, which opened in 2003 in an unincorporated area of Gwinnett County (the arena has a Duluth zip code). The Sugarloaf Country Club golf course hosted the AT&T Classic, a PGA Tour golf tournament from 1997 to 2008. The Club currently host the Greater Gwinnett Championship, a Champions Tour golf tournament that initiated in 2013.
Duluth is also home of the Georgia Swarm of the NLL.
Unincorporated Gwinnett County is home to the Berkeley Hills Country Club, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Partnership Gwinnett and the 1818 Club, a private dining club.
In 2009, Duluth ranked No. 8 on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns," a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. In determining his ranking, Greenberg called the city "a stellar example of how creating a beautiful public space can build community spirit," citing its award-winning Town Green.
Citizens have a wide variety of recreational activities to choose from. The city maintains 7 parks as well as the Festival Center. Some of the sports offered are Tennis, Soccer, Ballet, Zumba. Swimming is available only 3.9 miles from city hall at West Gwinnett Aquatic Center.
The City of Duluth is governed by a mayor and five city council members, who together appoint the city administrator and city clerk. Elections are held every two years, in the odd numbered years, and the mayor and council members are elected for staggered four year terms.
The mayor of Duluth is Nancy Harris, the former principal of B.B. Harris Elementary School. The school is named for her father, B.B. Harris, also a former principal.
The city is represented in the Georgia General Assembly by Senator David Shafer, Representative Brooks Coleman and Representative Pedro "Pete "Marin who together form the city's legislative delegation.
Gwinnett County Public Schools operates public schools serving residents of the city.B.B. Harris Elementary (Duluth)
Berkeley Lake Elementary (Duluth)
Burnette Elementary (Peachtree Ridge) (Suwanee address)
Ferguson Elementary (Berkmar/Meadowcreek) (opening 8/10)
Chattahoochee Elementary (Duluth)
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary (Duluth)
M.H. Mason Elementary (Peachtree Ridge)
Parsons Elementary (Peachtree Ridge) (Suwanee address)
Kanoheda Elementary (Duluth)
Corley Elementary (Duluth)
Duluth Middle School (Duluth)
Coleman Middle School (Duluth)
Richard Hull Middle School (Peachtree Ridge)
Louise Radloff Middle School (Meadowcreek)
Duluth High School (Duluth)
Peachtree Ridge High School (Peachtree Ridge) (Suwanee address)
Duluth Junior Academy (Duluth)
Duluth Montessori School (Duluth)
Notre Dame Academy (Duluth)
Duluth holds the title of being a railroad city. Trains carrying both passengers and cargo can be seen at all times of day. In addition, Duluth is a heavily car-dependent suburb. A number of collector roads distribute traffic around both incorporated and unincorporated areas of the city, some of the most important being Buford Highway (), Duluth Highway (), Sugarloaf Parkway, and Pleasant Hill Road. Apart from Buford Highway, these roads bring traffic to Interstate 85, connecting the Duluth area to central Atlanta about 25 mi (40 km) away.
Gwinnett County Transit serves the city.
Gwinnett County Public Library operates the Duluth Branch in Duluth.Robby Bostain (born 1984), American-Israeli basketball player
Stewart Cink, professional golfer
Chris Duvall, professional soccer player for the New York Red Bulls
Robert L. Lynn, poet and former president of Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana
MattyB, Grammy award-winning musician