Smyrna Museum Celebrates 30th Anniversary

smyrna-museumThe Smyrna Historical and Genealogical Society will celebrate its 30th birthday on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Smyrna History Museum, 2861 Atlanta Road in the replica of the 1905 Railroad Station that was demolished in 1959. Refreshment and a brief program will recognize members and volunteers who have served the society and the City of Smyrna for many years.

The present and newly elected members of the city council, county commissioners, and other office holders are being invited to attend.

The Smyrna Historical Society was chartered as a not-for-profit organization on May 17, 1985 after an initial meeting of the original incorporators, former Smyrna Mayor Harold Smith, his late wife Betty, neighbor Emmett Yancey (who died last year) on April 18, 1985. The last City Attorney, George Carreker, handled the legal work.

The stated purposes of the group were to be a membership organization for collecting, preserving and distributing information, photographs, documents, artifacts and other memorabilia relative to the City of Smyrna and the surrounding area. Another goal was to establish a museum and research library for its members and the general public.

The first general membership meeting was held March 27, 1986 in the community room at Kings Spring Park (now Tolleson Park) with 18 people in attendance.

The first issue of Lives and Times, the official publication of the society was published March 1986 and has been published six times a year since that time. The current issue (September – October) was mailed October 30.

The membership grew rapidly and soon became one of the largest service organization in Cobb County with more than 300 members and volunteers. It was five years before another of the purposes was realized. That was the establishment of the Smyrna Museum in the building at 2858 King Street which formerly housed the Smyrna Health Clinic. It was opened to the public on Saturday, April 25, 1992, in connection with the annual celebration of the Jonquil Festival.

During those first few months co/founder Betty Smith handled scheduling of volunteers and installing a variety of exhibits. Two rooms were established for permanent displays reflecting the history of Smyrna. A third room was devoted to research materials including old volumes of bound Smyrna newspapers. The lobby portion was for temporary exhibits.

Historical Society members, city officials and hundreds of other Smyrna residents were sadden when, on September 20, 1993 Betty died of cancer 10 days after her 62nd birthday. The museum was dedicated in her name in later ceremonies with Mayor Max Bacon, Councilmen Pete Wood and Bill Scoggins officiating.

The museum remained at the King Street location until April, 1999 when the Downtown Development program that had started in 1991 completed the moving of Aunt Fanny’s Cabin from Campbell Road to its present location and construction of the relocated replica of the 1910 Railroad Station at the intersection of Atlanta Road and East Spring Street.

The Smyrna History Museum currently houses thousands of Smyrna area photographs, artifacts, videos, etc. including oral histories of World War 11 veterans, long-time Smyrna residents, annuals from most of the Smyrna area schools and more than 200 videos of construction and demolition of Smyrna are developments that document the Smyrna’s history from the early 1830’s to the present time.

From  The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.