The City of Buford
Updated: May 10, 2021
Like so many southern towns, Buford got its start with the railroad. The city was founded in 1872 after a railroad was built in the area connecting Charlotte, North Carolina, with Atlanta. Buford was named after Algernon Sidney Buford, who at the time was president of the Atlanta and Richmond Air-Line Railway. The city's leather industry, led by the Bona Allen Company, as well as its location as a railway stop, caused the population to expand during the early 1900s until after the Great Depression had ended.
The area that is now Buford was originally part of Cherokee territory. The first non-Native Americans moved to the Buford area in the late 1820s or early 1830s, although the Buford area was not largely settled by them until the 1860s.
During the post-Civil War construction Thomas Garner and Larkin Smith purchased land around the railroad's and began developing the city of Buford. It was incorporated as the Town of Buford on August 24, 1872, and renamed the City of Buford in 1896.
Bonanza! Buford was widely known for its leather production and was even nicknamed "Leather City." The Bona Allen Shoe and Horse Collar Factory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and became a large producer of leather products, including saddles, horse collars, bridles, and shoes.
Bona Allen saddles were available through the Sears mail order catalog, and many Hollywood actors used saddles made by the Bona Allen Company, including cowboy actors Gene Autry, the cast of Bonanza, and Roy Rogers, who used a Bona Allen saddle on his horse Trigger. A statue of Roy Rogers and a Bona Allen saddle-maker saddling Trigger is located in downtown Buford. The Bona Allen Company thrived during the Great Depression in the 1930s, likely as a result of the Depression forcing farmers to choose horses over expensive tractors, thereby increasing the demand for saddles, collars, bridles, and other leather products.
Tannery Row in downtown Buford
The Bona Allen Company constructed Tannery Row in downtown Buford as a shoe factory in 1919.After a brief employee strike the shoe factory was closed in 1942, although it was briefly reopened by the request of the federal government during World War II to make footwear for the military. Afterwards, the factory closed in 1945.
Progress and the increased use of tractors in farming caused the Bona Allen Company to steadily decline until the tannery was eventually sold to the Tandy Corporation in 1968. Buford's leather industry ended after the tannery experienced a fire in 1981, when the Tandy Corporation decided not to rebuild the tannery and closed the facility.
In 2003 Tannery Row became home to the Tannery Row Artist Colony, which houses galleries and studios for artists. Tannery Row today houses an artist colony as well as Tannery Road Ale House which offers BBQ, pizza, sandwiches and libations as well as catering, events center, poker and live music.
With low inventory, great schools, shopping and parks, Buford prices have risen. To see homes for sale in Buford now go HERE.
Buford is located in both northern Gwinnett County in northern Georgia, with a small portion extending north into Hall County. The city is a suburb within the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The climate of Buford, as with most of the southeastern United States, is humid subtropical with four seasons including hot, humid summers and cool winters. July is generally the warmest month of the year with an average high of around 87 °F. The coldest month is January which has an average high of around 50 °F . If you are a gardener, this is zone 7A.
Buford, as with the rest of Gwinnett County, has a sales tax of 6%, which is a combination of the 4% state sales tax and a 2% local tax. In 2008, CNN Money ranked Buford as number 3 in its annual "100 best places to live and start a business" list.
Parks and recreation
Buford has several walking trails throughout the city; over 7 miles (11 km) of trails are accessible from both the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center and the Mall of Georgia as well as walking trails at Bogan and Buford Dam parks. Bogan Park also has several baseball fields and playgrounds as well as the Bogan Park Community Center and Family Aquatics Center. Buford Dam Park is next to Lake Lanier and has areas for swimming and other recreational activities. In addition to the parks run by Gwinnett County there are five city parks located throughout Buford, and a community center, which was completed in early 2012.
The city of Buford operates the Buford City School District for residents that live within the city limits, while Gwinnett County Public Schools and Hall County Public Schools operate schools for residents that live outside of the city limits. The Buford City School District operates two elementary schools, Buford Academy and Buford Elementary, as well as Buford Middle School and Buford High School.
Arts and culture
The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center is a museum and cultural center is located in Buford and was created to educate children about both water and environmental resources as well as Gwinnett's cultural heritage, including the county's Cherokee and Creek cultures. The Chesser-Williams House, a historic home which is believed to predate the 1850s and one of the oldest wooden-frame houses in Gwinnett county, was moved to the museum to become part of the museum's cultural exhibits.
Buford Community Center is a multi-purpose facility that was completed in 2012. Located across the street from Buford City Hall, the Buford Community Center has a museum, 290-seat stage theatre, an outdoor amphitheater, and several spaces for meetings, banquets, and weddings.
Buford has several clinics and family doctors, including an Emory Healthcare clinic and a Northside Hospital imaging center, but no major hospitals inside the city limits. The closest hospital is Northside Hospital-Forsyth, which is 9 miles away in Cumming.