Kennesaw is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States, located in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. It had a population of 29,783 according to the 2010 census. Founded in 1887, Kennesaw has a past surrounded with railroad history. During the Civil War, Kennesaw was the staging ground for the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862. In 2007, the city was selected by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation’s “10 best towns for families”.
In 2009 Newsmax magazine listed the city among the “Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns”. The city is perhaps best known nationally for its mandatory gun-possession ordinance. 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. 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).
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. Over 60,000 people from around North Georgia attend the festival. A parade starts the festival.
FOREVER FLAWLESS Store-Town Center Mall
The Forever Flawless Store is located in Town Center Mall. Opened in late February 1986, the mall was originally anchored by Rich’s, Macy’s and Sears. The Mall is almost identical to Gwinnett Place Mall. The Macy’s store was the first in Atlanta not to have originally been part of the Atlanta-based Davison’s chain, which Macy’s eliminated after owning it since 1929. The largest mall in the state when it opened, a fourth anchor, Mervyn’s, joined the mall later in 1986.
Town Center is part of a major retail hub in northern Cobb County, Georgia along Barrett Parkway. It is located between parallel parts of I-75 and I-575, just north of where the interstates meet or split from each other. The mall itself has seen several significant changes over the years. Built with a pad for an additional wing, a new wing extending north from the east wing was finally added in 1993 with a Parisian department store, the first to open in the Atlanta area. This was done likewise in 1995 at Gwinnett Place Mall with the same being. This brought the store count at the mall up to 220 stores and the amount of anchor store up to five. No other mall in the state had five anchors at the time except for North Point Mall, which opened also in 1993.
Enormously successful and drawing away customers that originally shopped at older Cumberland and Cobb Center Malls, the mall was first renovated in 1995 but has never been expanded aside from the Parisian addition. Store consolidations and retractions, however, have varied the anchor line-up in recent years. First, in 1996, JC Penney took over the former location of Mervyn’s, which pulled out of Georgia in late 1995. Second, Rich’s and Macy’s were merged into one store, prompting the closure of the three-story Macy’s that had been there since the mall’s original opening. However, part of the store was refurbished and is now used as a Macy’s Furniture Gallery (originally a Rich’s-Macy’s Furniture Gallery) and now operates as Macy’s Furniture Gallery, Macy’s Furniture Clearance Center and Macy’s Men’s Store. Macy’s now occupies the former Rich’s location.
Occupancy rates remain very high at the mall, and most major chain specialty stores are found in the mall. However, the mall is facing competition from all the big box stores on Barrett Parkway, two “lifestyle centers” that opened up on each end of the county and more upscale malls such as Lenox Square. However, on May 13, 2008, the mall announced a year-long renovation project and also added H&M. The project was finished in May 2009 with new food court designs, family restrooms, children’s play area, signage, and soft seating areas.
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