Marchione Pens History of Smyrna

Bill Marchione

Bill Marchione

A new book by a Smyrna author recounts the fascinating history that created Smyrna. A Brief History of Smyrna, Georgia, By William P. Marchione, PhD, is published by the History Press, of Charleston. S.C.

The dynamic city of Smyrna, Georgia, situated a scant 15 miles northwest of Atlanta, has a fascinating history. In July 1864, two significant battles were fought within the confines of present-day Smyrna as General Sherman’s Federal juggernaut converged on the “Gateway City” of Atlanta. The town was incorporated in 1872 with a population of fewer than 300 residents and high expectations that rapid suburban development would ensue. It was the coming to the area of the aeronautics industry in the post–World War II period that finally generated sustained growth. Then, in the 1990s, the city reinvented itself through an aggressive urban renewal program spearheaded by its dynamic mayor, Max Bacon, and a progressive-minded city council.
This is Marchione’s seventh book, along with many scholarly articles and newspaper articles. He taught for 40 years in high school and college and served on the board of education in Massachusetts.

“I have been interested in history all my life,” Marchione said in a presentation to the Smyrna Golden K Kiwanis club.

“I grew up with stories of relatives left behind and a desire to connect to the past. As I was walking to school each day, I wondered who lived in these old homes,” he said. I knew I had to write a history of Brighton Massachusetts,” he said, although it took in 25 years.
He was born in 1942 and his family came to America in 1924.

The current book came out of many conversations with longtime residents.

“Pete and Lilly Wood were very generous to me loading photos and materials,” he said. Also, he gave thanks to Mike Terry and former elected officials Hugh Ragan and Forest4er Puffy, all members of the club.

Marchione lives in the Williams Park neighborhood (across the railroad from the Smyrna Market Village) which has the greatest concentration of older architecture in the city. It made up 40 percent of the original city. Marchione was chairman of the history committee and has presented slide lectures on one’s Park history to the Smyrna history community.

“I give a lot of credit to the imaginative leaders of this city in building City Hall, the library and community center. They gave this community a new image and redeveloped the city.”

Marchione is a retired history professor, author, lecturer and oral historian.

He holds degrees in history from Boston University (BA, 1964), George Washington University (MA, 1969) and Boston College (PhD, 1994). In the mid-1970s, he did extensive graduate work on the history of the South at the University of Tennessee. Articles by Marchione have appeared in the New England Quarterly and the South Carolina Historical Magazine. A former longtime member of the Boston Landmarks Commission, Dr. Marchione has received numerous awards and citations for his work as a local historian, educator, preservationist and lecturer. A Brief History of Smyrna, Georgia is his seventh book and his third for The History Press.

From the November 2013 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton and Austell, GA.