Griffin was founded in 1840 and named for landowner Col. Lewis Lawrence Griffin. Griffin includes the Griffin Commercial Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several notable people are from Griffin and the city has been filmed for several notable shows and movies.
Griffin Technical College was located in Griffin from 1963 and a branch of Southern Crescent Technical College is in Griffin. The Griffin Synodical Female College was established by Presbyterians but closed. The University of Georgia maintains a branch campus in Griffin.