After Greensville County was cut from Brunswick in 1781, the courthouse was moved to present-day Lawrenceville. The town, not officially laid out in lots around the courthouse until 1814, was probably named for Captain James Lawrence, naval hero in the War of 1812. However, persistent lore has it that the town was named in honor of a race horse called Lawrence.
The town is centered on its courthouse square and the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century commercial blocks on Main and Hicks streets. The town began as a county seat, but experienced its real growth spurt between 1890 and 1920 when the labor force that helped build the Atlantic and Danville Railroad settled here. Its once-busy turntable and roundhouse are now archaeological sites, and most of the railroad buildings from the days when Lawrenceville was the important midpoint of the line are gone. The surviving company-built houses (BR9) of most of the two hundred or so men who worked for the railroad are in the area between Windsor Avenue and High Street. Tobacco cultivation plays a less vital but still important part in the local economy. The town marked the national bicentennial in 1976 with the installation of its only traffic light, at N. Main and Church streets.
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