Henry County Charm: Low Cost of Living And a High Quality of Life
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| Summer 2023

Henry County Charm: Low Cost of Living
And a High Quality of Life

By H.M. Cauley

Close enough to Atlanta to take advantage of its employment,

recreation and cultural centers, Henry County shares a close connectivity with the metro area. Henry’s 245,000 residents, spread out over four cities and a handful of unincorporated communities, enjoy both a low cost of living and a high quality of life.

After all, there’s something about strolling on a charming courthouse square or shopping in a historic downtown district that balances the hustle and bustle of everyday big-city living with a peaceful, one-of-a-kind charm.

History and Housing

Named for Patrick Henry, the founding father best known for his “give me liberty or give me death” speech, Henry County was founded in 1821 and originally claimed a much larger geographic footprint than it does today: Butts, Clayton, DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Spalding counties were all formed from parts of Henry. During the Civil War, the area was considered one of the leading counties in the state.

The fast-growing county is home to a young population with a median age of 37, and boasts a median household income of $73,491, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The housing boom of the 1990s and early 2000s was good for the county, as land was available and affordable and attractive to buyers who liked being able to hop on Interstate 75 for a quick drive to downtown Atlanta. The county’s median home price is $202,300, just below the state median of $206,700.

The highest concentration of residents can be found in the county’s four main cities—McDonough, Stockbridge, Locust Grove and Hampton—each with its own attractions and charm.

The county’s premier residential communitysurrounds the Eagle’s Landing Country Club in Stockbridge. Pocket developments nestle up to the 27-hole, Tom Fazio-designed courses where houses often sell above the half-million mark. Club members enjoy golf as well as tennis, swimming and other amenities. More upscale properties ring the edge of Lake Dow on McDonough’s eastern edge.

Business and Education

Henry County is home to a bustling business community, with employers including the Federal Aviation Administration, which staffs the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hampton. Major corporations with a presence in the county are Briggs & Stratton, Home Depot, Goodyear Tires and Ken’s Foods. The Henry County Chamber of Commerce works with hundreds of member organizations, from large corporations to small locally owned businesses, to chart a course for the area’s continued prosperity.

Among the county’s major employers is Piedmont Henry Hospital, a 259-bed medical facility in Stockbridge staffed by more than 750 physicians and over 500 nurses. Part of the Piedmont Healthcare system, the hospital provides 24-hour emergency care and a range of medical, surgical and diagnostic services.

The leading employer in Henry County is the county itself: The government and the public school system together employ about 7,700 workers. Henry County Schools serves the region’s students with 28 elementary, 11 middle and 10 high schools. In addition, more than a dozen independent schools are scattered across the area.

Community and Culture

McDonough, the county seat, leads the way in setting the tone for the county’s laid-back lifestyle. About 30 minutes from Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, this town of 30,000 has worked hard to keep its connections to history intact, starting with the 1920s-style gas station that doubles as the town’s welcome center.

The city square, dominated by a red-brick courthouse built in 1897, is home to a variety of events throughout the year, many of which are sponsored by the nonprofit McDonough Arts Council, dedicated to hosting arts events throughout the year. It’s also the home of the Henry Players community theater company, which has staged such favorites as “Titanic,” “Les Misérables” and “Sweeney Todd” since its formation in 1991.

One of the town’s main attractions is its Heritage Park, a 129-acre site of ball fields, walking trails, playgrounds, picnic pavilions and an event center. The park is also home to Historic Village, a hands-on museum that educates visitors about Henry’s history, with an old schoolhouse, a 1934 steam locomotive and an 1827 settlers’ cabin. Another nearby draw is Southern Belle Farm, a working 330-acre farm that offers a variety of family activities throughout the year.

On the county’s southside, the small city of Locust Grove, population 9,750, is home to Noah’s Ark, a nonprofit animal rehabilitation center that invites visitors to view some of its extraordinary inhabitants, including tigers, bears and baboons. Another destination for residents and visitors alike is the expansive Tanger Outlets mall, featuring such major manufacturers as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, the Gap, Old Navy and Nike.

The city of Stockbridge, in the county’s northeast section, boasts the highest number of residents, with 29,163. Its location just 13 miles from the airport and its proximity to both I-75 and I-675 make it a major draw for newcomers in search of easy commutes to the rest of the metro area. The city maintains four public park complexes, with walking trails and tracks, playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts and bike paths.

Stockbridge is also a hub of the county’s arts scene, serving as home to the Academy Theatre, one of the oldest professional companies in the state, as well as the Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra. The city is also where the rock band Collective Soul and Martin Luther King Sr. were born, with the latter preaching his first sermon there. And Stockbridge High School is where Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II, the 2022 National League Rookie of the Year, graduated from.

Former Brave Jason Heyward, today with the Los Angeles Dodgers, also grew up in the county and graduated from now-defunct Henry County High School. Several former and current pro football players also hail from the county.

The city of Hampton, with 8,346 residents, is home to the Henry Arts Alliance, which sponsors cultural and educational events in the county and the surrounding area. But it’s best known for Atlanta Motor Speedway, an 870-acre race facility hailed as the largest sporting venue in the state. The speedway is a leading venue for NASCAR events in the Southeast, with room for some 125,000 spectators. A visit to the track can be a daylong affair, with tailgating, dining, musical performances and more.

Whether you’re looking for high-octane racing thrills or small-town charm, Henry County has plenty to offer. The area’s affordable housing, plentiful culture and recreation, and convenient access to Atlanta make it a great place to call home.

Essential Info

Henry County Government

Henry County Chamber of Commerce




Locust Grove

Henry County Schools

Academy Theatre

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Eagle’s Landing Country Club

Henry Arts Alliance

Henry Players

Heritage Park

McDonough Arts Council

Noah’s Ark

Piedmont Henry Hospital

Southern Belle Farm

Tanger Outlets


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