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Kennesaw, Georgia facts for kids

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City of Kennesaw
Kennesaw City Hall
Kennesaw City Hall
Location in Cobb County and the state of Georgia
Location in Cobb County and the state of Georgia
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Coordinates: 34°1′24″N 84°36′55″W / 34.02333°N 84.61528°W / 34.02333; -84.61528Coordinates: 34°1′24″N 84°36′55″W / 34.02333°N 84.61528°W / 34.02333; -84.61528
Country United States
State Georgia
County Cobb
Incorporated September 21, 1887
 • Total 9.82 sq mi (25.44 km2)
 • Land 9.71 sq mi (25.16 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.27 km2)
1,089 ft (332 m)
 • Total 29,783
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3,507.67/sq mi (1,354.25/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 770/678/470
FIPS code 13-43192
GNIS feature ID 0316387

Kennesaw is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States, located in Cobb County, within the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Known from its original settlement in the 1830s until 1887 as Big Shanty, it became Kennesaw under its 1887 charter. According to the 2010 census, Kennesaw had a population of 29,783, but in 2019 it had a population of 34,077 showing a 14.4% increase in population over the past decade. Kennesaw has an important place in railroad history. During the Civil War, Kennesaw was the staging ground for the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862. The city is perhaps best known nationally today for its mandatory gun-possession ordinance requiring all households in Kennesaw to have a gun, with certain exceptions.



As the Western and Atlantic Railroad was being built in the late 1830s, shanties arose to house the workers. These were near a big spring. A grade up from the Etowah River became known as "the big grade to the shanties", then "Big Shanty Grade", and finally "Big Shanty".

The name "Kennesaw" is derived from the Cherokee word gah-nee-sah, meaning cemetery or burial ground.

Civil War and after

Camp MacDonald, a training camp, was located there from 1861-1863.

During the Civil War, Big Shanty was the site of major fighting in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, part of the larger Atlanta Campaign. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, located southeast of the city limits, now contains many of these historic areas, though much of the surrounding land has been developed, and some buried artifacts have been taken by people with metal detectors.

L.C. Chalker purchased a 1.25-acre (0.51 ha) tract of land adjacent to the Kennesaw Cemetery from J.W. Ellis in 1934, which was sold for burial purposes. Chalker purchased another 1 acre (0.40 ha) adjacent to the first parcel in 1948, which was also to be used for a cemetery. The Chalker family managed these portions of the cemetery until they were sold to the City of Kennesaw in the mid 1950s. The earliest known burial is the infant Lucius B. Summers, who was interred in 1863. Other grave markers date as far back as the 1860s to the 1890s. Civil War veterans are buried here. The cemetery is still in use.

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History is located downtown, next to the Western and Atlantic Railroad tracks on Cherokee Street, just off Main Street (old U.S. 41 and State Route 3). The museum is the current preservation and display location for The General, the locomotive that played the key role in the Great Locomotive Chase (The Texas which chased it is at the Atlanta Cyclorama).

In March 2004, First Lady Laura Bush designated Kennesaw a Preserve America Community.


Kennesaw is located in northwestern Cobb County, bordered by the city of Acworth to the northwest. Kennesaw Mountain is located southeast of the city limits in the battlefield park. Its summit is the highest point in the Atlanta metro area, at an elevation of 1,808 feet (551 m) above sea level. The city was renamed for the mountain.

U.S. Route 41 and State Route 3 pass through the city as Cobb Parkway, leading southeast 7 miles (11 km) to Marietta and northwest 17 miles (27 km) to Cartersville. Interstate 75 passes just northeast of the city limits, with access from exits 269, 271, and 273. Via I-75, downtown Atlanta is 27 miles (43 km) to the southeast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Kennesaw has a total area of 9.5 square miles (24.7 km2), of which 9.4 square miles (24.4 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 1.08%, is water.


Kennesaw has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).

Climate data for Kennesaw, Georgia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 52
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) −12
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.86


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 244
1890 168 −31.1%
1900 320 90.5%
1910 573 79.1%
1920 467 −18.5%
1930 426 −8.8%
1940 436 2.3%
1950 564 29.4%
1960 1,507 167.2%
1970 3,548 135.4%
1980 5,095 43.6%
1990 8,936 75.4%
2000 21,675 142.6%
2010 29,783 37.4%
2019 (est.) 34,077 14.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 29,783 people, 11,413 households, and 7,375 families residing in the city. There were 12,328 housing units at an average density of 1,027.3 per square mile (396.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.9% White, 22.3% Black, 10.8% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 5.3% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander (U.S. Census), 4.7% of other races, and 3.0% non-Hispanic mixed of two or more races.

There were 11,413 households, out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.0% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

Gun law

Kennesaw is noted for its unique firearms legislation in response to Morton Grove, Illinois' law mandating gun prohibition. In 1982 the city passed an ordinance [Sec 34-21]

(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

K-Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History
Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

Local attractions


Personal income

The median income for a household in the city was $61,355 and the median income for a family was $75,465. Males had a median income of $46,953, versus $42,809 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,165. About 8.2% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.1% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.


Several festivals are held annually. Every April the annual Big Shanty Festival displays over 200 arts and crafts booths along with 20 food booths downtown featuring several local businesses and entrepreneurs. Over 60,000 people from around North Georgia attend the festival. The festival begins with a parade through downtown.


Public schools are provided by the Cobb County School District.

Elementary schools include Big Shanty Intermediate., Bullard, Chalker, Hayes, Kennesaw, and Lewis.

Middle schools include Awtrey, Lost Mountain, McClure, Palmer, and Pine Mountain.

High schools include Harrison High School, Kennesaw Mountain, North Cobb, and Kennesaw Charter Science & Math Academy.

Private schools include Sunbrook Academy at Legacy Park, Sunbrook Academy at Stilesboro, and Mount Paran Christian School.

Kennesaw State University is located within the city and is part of the University System of Georgia.


In 2016, the Atlanta Blaze of Major League Lacrosse played their first year of play as an expansion franchise with home games at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University. The team relocated in 2019.

Notable people

  • Caroline Cossey, English model
  • Jesse James Dupree, lead singer of rock band Jackyl
  • Yan Kaminsky, NHL left winger
  • Ron Lester, actor
  • Justin Fields, National Football League quarterback playing for the Chicago Bears
  • Lil Yachty, rapper
  • Payne Lindsey, documentary filmmaker and podcast host of Up and Vanished and Atlanta Monster
  • Sean O'Pry, model
  • Mathew Pitsch, Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Fort Smith from 2015-2019; former resident of Kennesaw
  • Dansby Swanson, infielder for the Atlanta Braves
  • Lucas Till, actor
  • Brian Voss, professional ten-pin bowler on the PBA Tour
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