From trains to shopping to a sought-after university, Kennesaw has plenty to offer its residents and visitors. Its history dates back to the 1830s when the Georgia Legislature agreed on the construction of a railroad through Cobb County. Known as the Western and Atlantic Railroad, the track ran from Atlanta to Cartersville. Kennesaw grew in the 1850s and became home to a depot, eating house and workers’ shanties.
Then, in the 1860s, the Civil War affected the area. Kennesaw became a training camp for soldiers, with most living in tents. Notoriety came when the locomotive, The General, was stolen by Yankee spies led by James J. Andrews. The group stole The General in order to head north and destroy the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which served as a vital part in communication and transportation in the South. However, William A. Fuller, the conductor, and his men chased The General on foot and then on another locomotive, Texas.
Though this southern feat is still celebrated today as the Great Locomotive Chase, Kennesaw fell to Sherman’s troops in June of 1864. During his famous March to the Sea, the union commander ordered that the Western and Atlantic Railroad be destroyed from Kennesaw to the Chattahoochee River.
Since then, Kennesaw was incorporated, rebuilt the railroad, grew cotton, suffered from the boll weevil and has grown into a prosperous city.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Homefinder, Kennesaw is now home to 50,687 people. Most own their homes, with a median home sale price of $169,500. For those looking to buy, Trulia has over 942 homes for sale. These homes range in price from $20,000 to $2,000,000. For those interested in renting, the site lists 196 rentals. Prices range from $600 to $4,500 a month.
Amongst the population, about 40 percent are family households. Because Kennesaw was selected as on the nation’s “10 best towns for families” by Family Circle magazine, this percentage comes to no surprise.
Schools in the area include Kennesaw Elementary, Bullard Elementary, Awtrey Middle, Palmer Middle, Harrison High, North Cobb High, Kennesaw Mountain High and Kennesaw Charter Science and Math Academy. Additionally, Kennesaw State University provides an excellent education for college students. As one of the fastest growing schools in the university system, Kennesaw State is Northwest Georgia’s major university. Cheering on the school’s soccer, basketball, baseball and soon-to-be football teams are a popular activity in the area.
Other activities include:
Shopping and Dining
• Trackside Grill. Family owned and a Kennesaw favorite, Trackside Grill features classic comfort and southern American cuisine. Menu items include stuffed French toast, blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict, crab hash, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, shrimp and grits, chicken pot pie, catfish, turkey, cornbread stuffing and pizza.
• Town Center Mall. With over 175 stores, Town Center at Cobb is northwest Atlanta’s main shopping destination. The mall directory includes Macy’s, Sephora, H&M, bebe, The Limited, Express, Coach, Disney Store, Champs Sports, Brookstone and Build-a-Bear Workshop.
• Capers. Blending flavorful American food with a Mediterranean atmosphere, the restaurant serves tons of enticing dishes. Menu items include chicken and waffles, catfish over grits, fire roasted mushrooms, catfish, spinach artichoke rolls, crispy brick duck, stuffed chicken, baby back ribs, sautéed trout, brie salad, homemade bruschetta, Butterfinger cheesecake, toasted strawberry poundcake.
Entertainment and Recreation
• Swift-Cantrell Park. Serving as a premier location for recreation and relaxation, the park features 42 acres, two playgrounds, a dog park, skate spot, three picnic pavilions, two restroom buildings, trails, drinking fountains and acres of turf for sports.
• Farmer’s Market. Operating from May through October, the market is held at the Adams Park soccer field parking lot at 2753 Watts Dr. It features locally grown produce, fresh baked breads and desserts, homemade jams, jellies, salsa, house plants and specialty goods. The market is opened every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, the Southern Museum features three impressive permanent collections and a wide range of exhibits. Visitors will learn about the daily lives of soldiers during the Civil War, see a reproduction of a turn-of-the-century locomotive factory and watch an exciting depiction of the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase.
• Smith-Gilbert Gardens. These gardens of exotic and unusual plants surround the Hiram Butler House. Built in 1882, the house is on the National Register of Historic Homes. The gardens also include koi ponds, shaded picnic area and Tea House.
• Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. The park preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta campaign and also contains Kennesaw Mountain. Visitors can see three battlefield areas, tour a farm house and learn more about the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
Though you won’t have to ride a train into town these days, visit Kennesaw to discover all that it has to offer. For more information about Cobb County new homes, click here.