Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A little History on Smyrna, Georgia

A little history on Smyrna, Georgia

Gleamings from .gov access information:

Smyrna, the "Jonquil City," has a long and colorful history, most of which cannot be offered on this website. For information beyond what is offered on this website, please contact the Smyrna Historical Society through the Smyrna Museum at 770-431-2858 or visit the facility located at 2861 Atlanta Road, Smyrna GA 30080 – adjacent to the Welcome Center (Aunt Fanny’s Cabin).

The following is a summary of history the City of Smyrna:

Cobb County was at one time equally divided between the State of Georgia and the Cherokee Indians. In 1831 a settlement was reached that deeded all the land to the State of Georgia. Shortly after, settlers began drifting into this area and in 1832 a campground, at which members of all denominations could worship, was permanently established. Soon the present site of the City of Smyrna became the center of the social and religious life of the surrounding area. From this campground the Methodist Church was organized in 1838.
Smyrna was first known as Ruffs Siding and later Varners Station. Eventually, the name Smyrna was given to the campground area. The name "Smyrna" is found in the Bible's book of Revelation as the name of one of Paul the Apostle's seven churches in Asia.
The railroad once played a fairly significant role in Smyrna’s development. In 1836 the construction of a railroad began through Cobb County, and by the date of completion in 1842, the railroad had started Smyrna on its change from a frontier village to a growing community. The railroad helped establish the permanent location of the city and provided work for the townspeople. Gristmills and factories were also established in the 1840’s. These mills and factories played a prominent role in the early growth of the community. However, by the close of the 19th century, Smyrna was primarily an agrarian community. While there was industry and the railroad, the economy was by then largely based on agriculture.

Smyrna's first brick building was erected in 1850. It was originally built as a boys’ academy, called Smyrna Institute. The building was later used as an officers’ training school, a hospital, and a house of worship. When General Sherman marched through Cobb County in 1864, it was the only building standing in the downtown area. This building stood on the site of the old Masonic Lodge that once stood on West Spring. On that site will soon be built the newest mixed-use development for the revitalized and active downtown.

In 1872, the State of Georgia incorporated Smyrna as a municipality, the boundaries then extending for one mile in every direction from the Smyrna Boys’ Academy. The first city election was held in 1873. Smyrna also boasts having had the first female mayor elected in the State of Georgia, Lorena Pruitt, in 1946.

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