What’s the Difference Between Milton and Crabapple?

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Apr 21, 2023

Crabapple, Georgia, is one of the oldest parts of Fulton County, Georgia. but was originally part of Cherokee County, Georgia, as early as 1832.  

At a 5-way intersection intersection – Crabapple Road, Mayfield Road, Birmingham Highway, Mid Broadwell Road and Broadwell Road — the small and quaint, downtown Crabapple and also is called “Crabapple Crossing”.

In 2006, a portion of Crabapple was one of several communities incorporated into the new city of Milton. “Downtown” Crabapple now sits within the Milton city limits, while the surrounding Crabapple area is split between the cities of Roswell, and Alpharetta.

A Crabapple resident living in Milton can use Alpharetta city facilities and programs — and vice versa — without having to pay non-resident fees that can add up to 75 percent to the cost of participating, thanks to a regionalized park system established by the two cities.

History of Crabapple

Crabapple was part of the land contributed in 1857 to form Milton County, Georgia. The first permanent settlement at Crabapple was made in 1874, with the community taking its name from a crabapple tree near the original town site.

As a result of the Great Depression, Milton County was later absorbed into Fulton County in 1932. The historic heart of Crabapple is anchored by an historic brick building at the crossroads of Crabapple Road-Mayfield Road, Birmingham Road-Broadwell Road, and Mid-Broadwell Road.

Crabapple was once home to Cherokees Indians who lived in North Georgia and eventually early settlers who established farms in the area. One of those early settlers, James Dorris, operated a store from which he traded with the Indians, and he married a Cherokee woman. He and other Crabapple pioneers, including the Rucker family, have roads named after them.

The community itself got its name from the crabapple trees once grown in the area. But cotton became the dominant crop, and one 19th century settler, John B. Broadwell, developed a strain of high-yield cotton seed that was hugely successful.

Crabapple became part of Milton County, which later merged with Fulton County in 1932. By the early 20th century, several of the buildings at the Five Corners intersection had been erected, including a cotton gin next door to Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails that is now occupied by a marketing consultant, and a two-story brick building now used by a design firm.

Crabapple Today

Eventually, metro Atlanta’s growth exploded northward to places like Sandy Springs and Alpharetta. That opening of Ga. 400 in the 1970s spurred additional growth along the western side of Alpharetta and eventually the Crabapple community in the 80’s and 90’s.

The city of Milton adopted a building code for Crabapple as a means of maintaining walkability within the downtown area. It requires residential and commercial development to undergo a design review to ensure building height, architectural styles, materials and parking placement are done in ways that encourage walking and are compatible with the area’s history.


Milton, GA, has often been a focal point for those seeking a serene yet dynamic lifestyle, with its perfect mix of pastoral scenes and modern amenities. The distinction between Milton and Crabapple can be subtle, but it’s this fine line that adds depth to the charm of the region.

While Crabapple offers the allure of Johns Creek’s amenities, downtown Milton exudes a quaint charisma that appeals to those who yearn for both tradition and progress. For prospective homeowners, Milton continues to entice with new construction opportunities that beautifully blend the past and the present.

In essence, whether one is drawn to the historic vibes of Crabapple or the evolving elegance of downtown Milton, both areas promise a harmonious balance of the old and the new.

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