A Brief Early History of Marietta, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia is, without a doubt, a beautiful community which many of us call home. There are many great local businesses, friendly neighbors, and wonderful schools for our kids. It’s a happy and peaceful community today. But, in the early 30 years of Marietta history, the town had seen more excitement and milestones than most towns see in a century.

Marietta, Georgia town square

Before there was an Atlanta or a Chattanooga there was Marietta, Georgia. A small cluster of homes near the Cherokee town of Kennesaw were reported as early as 1824. An early road in what would become Cobb County crossed the “Shallow Ford” of the Chattahoochee and ran just south of these settlers.

The state of Georgia formed 10 counties from previously owned Cherokee land in 1832. One of those, Cobb county, was named after US representative Thomas Willis Cobb. Marietta was reported to be named after Cobb’s wife, Mary. Georgia legislature recognized the town of Marietta officially in 1834.

A few years later, the US ARMY Corps of Engineers was chosen to head the Western and Atlantic Railroad with its home base in Marietta. Due to this project, business began to boom. This was a significant turn of events for the little town. Upon completion of the railroad project, the sport of horse racing gained popularity. These races took place in the approximate area of the present-day Marietta Welcome Center and Visitors Bureau. Tanyards started to become a thriving business during this time as well. In 1848, the town incorporated and elected its first mayor, John Glover. By 1850, the major portion of the city’s income was dependent on the railroad business and tanyards. The Georgia Military Institute was built in 1851. And, the first bank was opened in 1855. However, during the 1850s, three major fires destroyed most of the city. William Tecumseh Sherman moved in and occupied the town in 1864 during the Civil War.

To learn more on Marietta, Georgia, visit the Marietta History Museum on the second floor of the Kennesaw House.