No visit to Cartersville is complete without some time spent in Historic Downtown Cartersville. The downtown square grew following the Civil War when Cartersville became Bartow’s County seat. Today the city maintains much of its early character, juxtaposed with exciting new restaurants, artist galleries and boutiques filled with items you’ll want to take home. At the center of downtown is Friendship Plaza and the Cartersville Depot Welcome Center. This is the place for sweet sounds downtown with free music, cars shows and fun events on many weekends throughout the year.
The plaza’s hallmark is Cooper’s Friendship Monument, believed to be the only monument in the world commissioned by a debtor to honor his creditors. Along the CSX railway is Cartersville’s Fence of Fame honoring local notables for their unique contributions to society. Also included is monuments to Bartow County’s first Vietnam casualty, and in remembrance of September 11, 2001. Train watching is a popular Friendship Plaza pastime as about 40 freight trains pass by daily. Passenger rail ended in Cartersville around the late 1960s.
The square’s north side is anchored by the Booth Western Art Museum and Bartow History Museum. To the south of Friendship Plaza is the World’s First Outdoor Painted Wall Sign for Coca-Cola. To the east is the Grand Theatre, and to the west is Legion Theater, both thriving with the performing arts for which Cartersville has become well-known. Beyond downtown Cartersville’s western borders is the iconic and often-filmed 1903 Courthouse, Rose Lawn Museum, and Cartersville’s residential historic districts. In between there are some of northwest Georgia’s best chef-owned restaurants, and 40 shops, galleries and coffeehouses. Whether you’re being entertained by family and friends, taking in a Pumphouse Players’ performance, or enjoying the sounds from regional musicians, Historic Downtown Cartersville is a memorable must to experience.
As you could imagine with a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum like Booth Western Art Museum and such a vibrant cultural scene, Downtown Cartersville is also home to the Downtown Art Walk, where visitors are encouraged to engage with free public art sculptures throughout the city center. Download the Downtown Art Walk Guide here.