Barnesville, the county seat for Lamar County, incorporated on February 20, 1854. The city remembers Gideon Barnes, who operated a log house tavern and a stage line between Macon and Columbus.
Constructed in 1931, the Lamar County courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Place. Other historic sites in Barnesville are the Confederate Cemetery and the Gachet House. The Old Jail Museum, the former jail, features relics from the city's history.
Before the Civil War, Barnesville flourished as a manufacturer and shipper of buggies, wagons, carts, and hearses. The annual Barnesville Buggy Days is a celebrated festival that takes place the third week of September. This weeklong arts and crafts festival highlights a time in Barnesville history (1880s) when the city was the South's top producer of horse drawn buggies.
Gordon College, a two-year institute, is located in Barnesville.