Marietta’s Colorful History

One of the Marietta area’s earliest settlements was around 1824 in a town called Big Shanty that later was renamed Kennesaw. One of the first homes built during this time was Oakton House. It survived the 1850s Marietta fires, and the fire set by General Sherman in 1864 on his March to the Sea during the Civil War.

The Oakton House was continuously lived in since the time it was built and is currently open for special events and tours. It was originally 325 acres but now stands at five acres. The original gardens, smokehouse, barn and well house still remain. Major General Loring used Oakton House in 1864 for planning the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Marietta was a central site for the Western and Atlantic Railroad prior to it moving to Atlanta. However, even after the move, Marietta continued to thrive due to the railroad. The former train station now houses the current Marietta Welcome Center and Visitors Bureau. In 1845 Fletcher House was built and is now the current Marietta Museum of History and Kennesaw House. It was built originally as a cotton warehouse, but it was bought by Dix Fletcher and was turned into the Fletcher House Restaurant. It was among the few buildings that were able to survive the fire set by General Sherman. During the Civil War, Kennesaw House served as a morgue and hospital and is said to be haunted.

Recovery was slow following the Civil War in Marietta and throughout the South. However, over time, the city started to prosper and new businesses moved to town, including a machine works, textile mill, marble companies and a paper mill to help industrialize the area.

During World War II, Rickenbacher Field in Marietta served as the Bell Bomber factory’s home base. This state-of-the-art field tested bombers for four years before they were flown to the Western front.

During the 1950’s the real estate industry and business boomed as thousands of people moved into the Greater Atlanta area and Cobb County. The building of Interstate 75 increased tourism and also brought in outside investment for housing and industry. It saw the opening of many major hotels, office parks, and shopping malls.

The city of Marieta continues to thrive as north Georgia’s commercial hub. Its close to proximity to Atlant and unique blend of old South charm and urban sensibility have combined to make Marietta one of the country’s fastest-growing cities.