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Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
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Mountain | Park | Battles | Commanders
Trails | Park Tour | Kennesaw Mountain Attractions

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park lies just west of the city of Marietta, and a scant 2 miles from the city's historic downtown district. Eight miles long and barely a mile wide, the park now encompasses much of the area involved in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and some of the area where the Battle of Kolb's Farm.

Before the Civil War

Before 1755 this land belonged to Creek Indians. After they lost the Battle of Taliwa, the land was controlled by the Cherokee Indians. In fact the peak is named for the chief of a large Cherokee village in the area. These Indians were removed against their will during "The Cherokee Trail of Tears." At the base of Kennesaw Mountain a "Dr. Cox" began to offer his "water cure" in the mid-1840's. Patients would frequently follow an old road to the top of the mountain. This historic road, which was improved by the Confederates to move cannon to the top of Kennesaw Mountain, can be seen along the hiking trail to the top of the peak.

Lay of the land

Rising 1000 feet above the relatively flat plateau geologically known as the Central Uplands, Kennesaw is the tallest mountain in a short string of peaks north and west of Atlanta. Just south of it is a smaller acme known as Little Kennesaw. Together these peaks are a unique formation that can be spotted from Lookout Mountain to the north and west, Oglethorpe Mountain to the northeast, and Stone Mountain due east.

Two more hills create a north-south line. Pigeon and Cheatham Hill were scenes of intense, albeit brief, fighting ( see Fighting at Cheatham Hill for more information). From here south to Kolb's Farm the battle raged for almost a week as General William Tecumseh Sherman probed the Rebel line for weakness.

Creation of the Park

Illinois Monument, Kennesaw National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain Park began its life in 1899, shortly after completion of Chickamauga Battlefield, when the state of Illinois purchased a small tract of land near the Dead Angle. Almost 500 men from the state died here during The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Completed in 1914, The Illinois Monument was dedicated to these brave soldiers. The War Department took over management of the land in 1917. Over the next 21 years the park was expanded to include almost all of the 2,800+ acres it now encompasses. During the 1930's a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established near Pigeon Hill and workers from this camp were responsible for many of the improvements in the park, including almost all of the hiking trails.

Into modern times

Starting in the late 1960's, expansion in Marietta began to put a strain on the resources of the park. Increased visitation and widening usage forced the park management to cope with new problems. Slowly the park began to expand from solely historic preservation to include community use. Thirty years later Park Management aggressively seeks to defend its borders against modern encroachment. Today the park and nearby historic buildings, such as the McAdoo House, where U. S. Senator and Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo was born before The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain are threatened by modern intrusions like Publix and Kroger.

In September 1997, a major construction project started, expanding the Visitors Center and upgrading facilities to handle the larger (1.3 million, 1997 estimate) crowds.

The area is a popular hiking and picnic destination for nearby Atlanta. Usage of the trails has increased dramatically and the once quiet park faces the transition to a peaceful island in an urban setting. One popular activity is birdwatching. Migratory species found at times within the park include solitary vireos and black-throated green warblers. The mountain is the southern limit of many northern species. Among the unique plants of this ecosystem is the wooly lip fern.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park contains fragile historic sites. Many have been damaged in the past by insensitive or uncaring people. It is important to make every effort possible to ensure that these monuments to our national heritage are preserved. Please make every effort to leave the park better than you find it.


Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive
Kennesaw, GA 30144


(770) 427-4686
(770) 427-1760 (fax)

Open seven days a week, except closed Christmas day. Open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with some extended hours in the summer. Call for specifics.

County: Cobb County

Attractions in North Georgia

The Civil War in Georgia
Beginning with the Great Locomotive Chase and the battle of Chickamauga, to the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea

Article Links
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
Battle of Kolb's Farm
Central Uplands
Cheatham Hill
Cherokee Indians
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Chickamauga Battlefield
Civilian Conservation Corps
Creek Indians
Fighting at Cheatham Hill
Kennesaw Mountain Attractions
Lookout Mountain
Park Tour
Stone Mountain
William Tecumseh Sherman

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