Cobb County Georgia: A Brief History Lesson

Do you know the history of Cobb County, Georgia? It starts in 1832, as one of nine different Georgia counties that got carved out of disputed Cherokee Nation territory. It wound up being Georgia’s 81st county, and it was named in honor of Judge Thomas Willis Cobb. He served as a superior court judge, state representative, and Congressional senator. It’s also thought that Marietta, the county seat, was named for Mary, wife of Judge Cobb.

Cobb County Georgia Civil War Pic

Cobb County GA’s Rugged Past

1836 was the year that the state began acquiring right-of-way for Western & Atlantic Railroad, and a train started running in 1845 from Marietta to Marthasville and back. Marthasville is now known as Atlanta, Georgia. Until the Civil War, the city of Marietta was used often as a summer resort, particularly for residents of Charleston and Savannah looking to flee yellow fever.

During the Civil War, a number of Confederate troops received their training in a camp it what was known then as Big Shanty, now Kennesaw. The Andrews Raid occurred in Cobb County, GA, which started the Great Locomotive Chase.

Cobb County, Georgia & the Civil War

A trio of battles started the war action here, known to historians as Dallas, Pickett’s Mill, and New Hope Church. A prolonged sequence of other battles happened through summer months prior to Battles of Marietta, Noonday Creek, and Allatoona Pass, which was when Sherman started marching through the state of Georgia. His Union troops torched most of the homes they came across, and either burned or confiscated crops they came across, and not just in Cobb County either.

The Battle at Kennesaw Mountain happened here on June 27th, 1864. It was the Confederacy’s only major victory against Sherman’s campaign. Despite winning this one battle though, Union forces were able to outflank the Confederates.

Leo Frank was a Jewish supervisor of a pencil factory in Cobb County, Georgia. He was convicted of the murder of a member of his workforce, the 13-year-old Mary Phagan. He wound up being kidnapped right out of his jail cell and taken to a place called Frey’s Gin in East Cobb County Georgia, which was roughly two miles to the east of Marietta. It was here that he was lynched.

Cobb County’s Economy

In Cobb County, cotton farming was big from the 1890s until the 1920s. It stopped due to low prices of the Great Depression. The price of cotton fell almost in half over one decade, enough that the county stopped growing cotton, but continued to mill it for a while. The state government tried to help combat the economic losses with road work starting in 1922 that wound up being U.S. 41 and eventually Cobb Parkway.

Bell Aircraft started a Marietta, Georgia plant for the manufacturing of B-29 bombers in 1942. The Marietta Army Airfield was founded to support this. Both closed following World War II, but saw reopening in the Korean conflict. The Air Force wound up acquiring the Air Force and turning it into Dobbins AFB, still operating in the heart of Cobb County, GA. The plant was taken over by Lockheed, and there they manufactured transport planes like the C-5 Galaxy and C-130 Hercules for the military.

1990 was the year when Newt Gingrich represented a newly drawn district with a focus on Cobb County as he joined the House of Representatives, eventually rising to Speaker of the House in 1994.

The 1960s and 1970s saw Cobb County switch from a rural area to a suburban one. Integration in Atlanta caused many white families and citizens to move out into outlying areas. The demographics shifted again in the 1990s and after the turn of the millennium. Gentrification of Atlanta reversed previous ‘white flight,’ and older suburbs of Cobb in the south and southwestern corners started seeing middle-class African-Americans moving in along with immigrants from Russia, Bosnia, India, China, Brazil, Mexico, and many Central American nations.

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