The History of Smyrna GA

The History of Smyrna GA

Nestled in the northwestern part of the Atlanta metropolitan area, Smyrna, Georgia, boasts a rich and multifaceted history. From its origins as a rural community to its evolution into a bustling suburban city, Smyrna has experienced significant growth and transformation over the centuries. This article delves into the historical development of Smyrna, GA, highlighting key events and milestones that have shaped its unique identity.

Early Settlement and Founding

The area now known as Smyrna was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Creek and Cherokee. European settlers began arriving in the early 19th century, attracted by the fertile land and the promise of a new life. By the 1830s, a small community had formed, known as Varner’s Station, named after a local tavern owner.

The town’s name changed to Smyrna in 1842, inspired by the ancient Greek city mentioned in the Bible. The arrival of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in the 1840s spurred growth, transforming Smyrna into a significant stop along the route between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta. This connectivity laid the groundwork for Smyrna’s future development, as it became an important transportation hub.

Civil War and Reconstruction

The Civil War had a profound impact on Smyrna. The Battle of Smyrna Camp Ground, part of the Atlanta Campaign, took place in July 1864. Union forces, under General William T. Sherman, clashed with Confederate troops, leading to significant destruction in the area. The Smyrna Camp Ground, a popular meeting place for religious revivals before the war, became a focal point of military activity.

Following the war, Smyrna faced the challenges of reconstruction. The local economy, primarily based on agriculture, struggled to recover. However, the resilience of its residents and the rebuilding of infrastructure, including the railroad, helped Smyrna gradually regain stability.

Growth in the 20th Century

The early 20th century marked a period of steady growth for Smyrna. The establishment of industries, such as brick manufacturing and a cotton gin, provided new economic opportunities. The construction of highways, including the Dixie Highway in the 1920s, improved accessibility and spurred further development.

During World War II, Smyrna’s proximity to the Bell Bomber Plant (now the Lockheed Martin plant) in nearby Marietta brought an influx of workers and their families. This population boom necessitated the development of housing and services, contributing to Smyrna’s transformation from a rural community to a suburban town.

Post-War Boom and Suburbanization

The post-war era ushered in a period of rapid suburbanization for Smyrna. The construction of the interstate highway system, particularly the completion of I-285 in the 1960s, further enhanced Smyrna’s connectivity to Atlanta and other surrounding areas. This accessibility made Smyrna an attractive location for new residents and businesses.

The 1960s and 1970s saw significant residential development, with the establishment of numerous subdivisions and shopping centers. Smyrna’s population continued to grow, and the city’s infrastructure expanded to accommodate the increasing demand for services and amenities. Learn more Smyrna.

Revitalization and Modern Development

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Smyrna underwent a process of revitalization and modernization. The city’s leadership focused on enhancing the quality of life for residents through strategic planning and community engagement. One of the most notable initiatives was the development of the Market Village, a mixed-use development in the downtown area, which became a focal point for community activities and events.

The city also invested in parks, recreational facilities, and infrastructure improvements, contributing to a vibrant and attractive environment for residents and visitors. Smyrna’s commitment to sustainability and green initiatives has earned it recognition as a Tree City USA community.

Smyrna Today

Today, Smyrna is a thriving suburban city with a diverse population and a strong sense of community. Its strategic location, just 10 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, makes it an attractive destination for families and businesses alike. The city continues to grow and evolve, balancing development with the preservation of its historical heritage and natural beauty.

Smyrna’s history is a testament to its resilience, adaptability, and forward-thinking spirit. From its early days as a rural outpost to its current status as a dynamic suburban city, Smyrna has consistently embraced change while maintaining its unique identity. As it looks to the future, Smyrna remains committed to fostering a high quality of life for its residents and preserving the rich legacy of its past.


Smyrna was named after the ancient Greek city mentioned in the Bible. The name was chosen in 1842, replacing the original name "Varner’s Station," which was named after a local tavern owner.

During the Civil War, Smyrna was the site of the Battle of Smyrna Camp Ground in July 1864. Union forces, led by General Sherman, fought Confederate troops, causing significant destruction in the area. After the war, Smyrna slowly rebuilt and recovered.

Several factors helped Smyrna grow:

  • New industries like brick manufacturing.
  • Improved roads, like the Dixie Highway.
  • The Bell Bomber Plant during World War II brought many workers to the area.
  • The construction of I-285 in the 1960s made it easier to travel to and from Smyrna.

In recent years, Smyrna has:

  • Built Market Village, a popular area with shops and events.
  • Invested in parks and recreational facilities.
  • Focused on green initiatives and sustainability, earning the Tree City USA recognition.
  • Planned carefully to improve the quality of life for residents.

Smyrna balances growth and history by:

  • Revitalizing historical areas while adding modern amenities.
  • Preserving historical sites and promoting local history.
  • Implementing planning regulations to protect landmarks and green spaces.
  • Involving the community in development decisions to reflect local values and heritage.