Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 030 Joel CowanReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 030 Joel Cowan

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 030 Joel Cowan

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 030 Joel Cowan
Creator: Cowan, Joel, 1936-
Dates: 2008 May 15
Extent: 1.0 interview
Collection Number: RBRL/220/ROGP
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Joel Cowan discusses the planning and development of Peachtree City, urban development in Atlanta, and broader infrastructure issues in Georgia, such as transportation, housing, watershed management, and the roles that the public and private sectors play in development. Cowan graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial management. Before graduation, he planned the community of Peachtree City, and served as its first mayor in 1959. He served as campaign manager, honorary chief of staff, and chair of the Growth Strategies Commission for Governor Joe Frank Harris. Cowan was the founding chairman of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. From 1990-1995 he served on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Collection Description

Biographical note

Joel Cowan was born in Cartersville, Georgia in 1936. In 1958, he graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial management. Before graduation, he developed the Georgia community Peachtree City and served as its first mayor in 1959. He served as the CEO of Peachtree City’s development and investment company, Habersham and Cowan, Inc. through 1976. After Peachtree City, he continued to work in development, becoming involved with Phipps Plaza, Snapfinger Woods, and Palmetto Dunes. He was campaign chairman for Governor Joe Frank Harris, and served as Harris’ honorary chief of staff. Harris also appointed him to the chair of the newly created Growth Strategies Commission. Cowan was the founding chairman of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. From 1990 to 1995, he served on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. He moved from development to international work, and has served as a director of World Airways Holdings Inc. Cowan has also been employed as an adjunct professor and holder of the William B. Turner Chair of Servant Leadership at Georgia Tech.

Scope and Content

In this interview Cowan discusses the planning and development of Peachtree City, Georgia, a planned community located about 30 miles south of Atlanta that was established in the late 1950s. He also gives insight to urban planning and development projects in and around Atlanta, such as Phipps Plaza and the Atlanta Civic Center. Furthermore, Cowan discusses broader infrastructure issues in Georgia, such as transportation, housing, watershed management, and the roles that the public and private sectors play in development.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Custodial History note

Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.

Preferred citation

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 030, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2013.


Related Materials

Access Points

City planning.
Harris, Joe Frank, 1936-
Oral histories.
Regional planning--Georgia.
Urban development.
Watershed management--Georgia.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

ROGP 030 Joel Cowan video, transcript, and interview index in OHMS Access Online
ROGP 030 Joel Cowan video, 2008 May 15 (Extent: 99.0 minutes ) Access Online
ROGP 030 Joel Cowan transcript, 2008 May 15 Access Online