Carrollton was incorporated December 22, 1829, and named in honor of Charles Carroll, last living signer of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1830, the town was surveyed and lots were laid out, with the central feature being the town square, which was later named Adamson Square, for local judge and congressman William C. Adamson. The first city commissioners sold business plots for Adamson Square at public auction on the first Tuesday in February of 1830. First Tuesday became known as trading day in Carollton.
Johnson's Drug Company, an apothecary shop, opened for business in 1854. Trade with local Creek Indians yielded roots and medical plants that served as a basis for Johnson's medicines, and this remained open until 1972.
Although it was the county seat and the main market town for most of Carroll County, transportation of both goods and passengers was difficult until the coming of the railroad in 1874, so Carrollton remained largely a frontier town until well after the American Civil War.
During the war between the states, there were four raids on the city of Carrollton. In 1865, Union troops set the northwest quadrant ablaze and held local citizens at bay.
The coming of the railroad in 1874 brought new prosperity to Carrollton. Farmers were able to bring their crops, mostly
cotton, to town for shipment to distant markets. The first masonry structure was build on the corner of Rome Street in 1873 by Patterson G. Garrison. Wagon yards, mule barns and cotton warehouses were located behind the buildings on the Square. The railroad also encouraged the growth of the fledgling industrial ventures, especially in the textile industry, in and around Carrollton.
At the start of the 20th century, Carrollton boasted running water, had electric lighting and telephone service and the town began paving its streets in 1918. By this time, there were three silent movie theaters located on the Square.
In 1906, Carrollton was chosen as the site of the Fourth District Agricultural and Mechanical School, which became West Georgia College in 1934, and is now the University of West Georgia.
Carrollton remained an agricultural and textile manufacturing center throughout the first half of the 20th century, but as the local production of cotton declined and the population became more urban, other industries began to take on a greater prominence. This diversification of industry has continued into the 21st century, aided in part by Carrollton's ready access to Interstate 20 and the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Through the years, the Carrollton Square has played host to many large gatherings, festivals and events, including the passing
of the Torch for the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta. Today, Downtown Carrollton consists of unique retail shops, coffee shops, unique restaurants, live entertainment and eclectic art galleries.