Acworth, also known as the “Lake City,” is experiencing rapid residential growth as newcomers discover its natural beauty, recreational opportunities and stable economic base. Once a busy trade center on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Acworth was incorporated in 1860. Located just 35 miles northwest of Atlanta, Acworth boasts a small-town atmosphere with easy access to the city via Interstate 75 or Highway 41. Acworth makes great use of its location on the banks of Lake Acworth and Lake Allatoona with a full calendar of events, such as a national wakeboard competition, Easter egg hunt and road races, plus year-round recreational opportunities, like swimming, boating and camping. In addition to its 12 parks, Acworth is also home to Cobblestone Golf Course, which was recently ranked the No. 1 public course in the state by Golf Digest. Its historic downtown district offers an eclectic collection of antique shops and modern boutiques. As a Georgia Main Street city, Acworth is committed to preserving its historic buildings for generations to come.
Once known as Salt Springs, Austell was a popular location for hunters, who came to hunt the deer attracted to the area’s salt licks. The hunters claimed the area’s water also had medicinal properties, and so they began to settle there. Around the same time, the Georgia Pacific division of the Southern Railway made Austell the main station between its lines headed to Birmingham and Chattanooga. The town is named for Gen. Alfred Austell, who founded the Atlanta National Bank (which later became Wachovia) because of his efforts to lure major railways south. Austell is buried in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery. Today, Austell is a thriving historical center located just 18 miles from Atlanta, with a population of around 6,000 people. Six Flags Over Georgia, a 290-acre theme park, lies just outside the city limits and draws many visitors throughout the year.
One of the metro area’s most historical cities, Kennesaw was originally one of the shanty towns that sprang up around the Western and Atlantic Railroad in the 1830s. Many of these towns were destroyed by Sherman’s army during the Civil War, but were subsequently rebuilt. Kennesaw was incorporated in 1887 and has been growing ever since. It is now home to one of the state’s best school systems, as well as institutes of higher learning, like Kennesaw State University, the state’s third largest university. Parks and other recreational opportunities abound in Kennesaw, the home of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Earlier this year, Kennesaw landed the No. 10 spot on SafeWise’s list of the 50 Safest Cities in Georgia. This family-oriented town hosts a wealth of events and festivals throughout the year, from outdoor movies, a farmers market and road races to the annual Pigs & Peaches BBQ and Taste of Kennesaw festivals.
Marietta, the county seat of Cobb, is known for its historic town square and small-town charm. Chock full of shops and restaurants, as well as hosting festivals, concerts and other events in the square’s Glover Park, the square is also home to the famed Earl Strand Theatre. The 1935 Art Deco theater was restored and reopened in 2009 and hosts movies, concerts and shows year-round. Education is a top priority in Marietta. As an International Baccalaureate World School District, Marietta City Schools was the first district in Georgia to offer the IB Middle Years Program for grades 6–10. The district is also home to five Georgia Schools of Excellence and one National School of Excellence. With more than 56,000 residents calling Marietta home, the city truly has something for everyone. In 2011, CNNMoney.com named Marietta one of the top 25 places in the country to retire.
With its motto of “Small Enough to Know You…Large Enough to Serve You,” Powder Springs, a city with a population of nearly 14,000, embodies the spirit of community that is prevalent throughout Cobb County. Incorporated in 1838 under the name Springville, the town became known as Powder Springs in 1859. The name comes from the city’s seven springs, which contain minerals that turn the sand black. Powder Springs has worked hard to preserve its unique heritage, as evidenced by downtown’s Seven Springs Museum. Recreation is still important, and over the past few years Powder Springs has developed an extensive citywide trail system that connects neighborhoods, parks and public facilities.
Smyrna, Cobb’s second-largest city, is known as the Jonquil City for the many bright yellow blooms that pop up every spring. Like many of Cobb’s cities, Smyrna originally sprung up around the burgeoning Western and Atlantic Railroad in the 1830s and was officially incorporated in 1872. It has steadily grown ever since, and now boasts a well-planned and rejuvenated downtown area that has served as a model for many other communities. The Village Green features shopping, dining, a community center and one of the state’s only city-owned libraries, all intertwined with new residential spaces. In 1997, the revitalization project earned the city the prestigious Urban Land Institute’s Award of Excellence, and the area continues to grow in popularity. Within one mile of downtown, Smyrna residents have access to 33 acres of parks and green space. Businesses thrive in Smyrna because of its supportive city government and its proximity to the thriving Cumberland-Galleria business district.
Typically defined as the area east of I-75 and south of Town Center at Cobb, East Cobb is a vibrant and prosperous residential and commercial community. The Cumberland-Galleria business district is a major hub for conventions and retail, and in 2017 will be the new home of the Atlanta Braves major league baseball team. Though not a municipality, it is a strong residential draw because of its excellent public schools and well-planned subdivisions. Shopping opportunities abound at centers like Merchant’s Walk and the Avenues East Cobb. Numerous parks offering recreational activities, and a close proximity to the cultural events of Atlanta continue to lure newcomers across the Chattahoochee River to this popular locale.
The unincorporated town of Vinings lies between the affluent West Paces Ferry section of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood and Smyrna. Despite its small size (an area of about 3.3 miles and a population of a little more than 9,000), the town center of Vinings Jubilee attracts those searching for unique shopping and dining experiences who want the feel of the suburbs with easy access to the city. One of Vinings’ premiere attractions is the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, home of the Atlanta Opera, as well as musicals, plays, concerts and other events. Through education and various fundraisers, the Vinings Historic Preservation Society helps to maintain the city’s historical buildings.
Mableton, which occupies more than 20 square miles between interstates 285 and 20, is the Atlanta area’s largest unincorporated area. It is also one of Cobb County’s most historic areas. The Mable House Plantation was used as a camp by Federal troops during the Civil War and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and leased to the Cobb County Parks and Recreation Department for concerts and other events. The complex also has an amphitheater and arts center. Its proximity to the major business districts of both Cobb County and the city of Atlanta, as well as the Silver Comet Trail, make it an ideal location for families and businesses alike.