The Cobb County Courthouse in September 2006
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
|Founded||December 2, 1832|
|Named for||Thomas W. Cobb|
|o Total||345 sq mi (890 km2)|
|o Land||340 sq mi (900 km2)|
|o Water||5.0 sq mi (13 km2) 1.4%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||2,194/sq mi (847/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||6th, 11th, 13th|
Cobb County is a suburban county of Atlanta in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2018, the population was 756,865, making it Georgia's third most-populous county. Its county seat and largest city is Marietta.
Along with several adjoining counties, Cobb County was founded on December 3, 1832, by the Georgia General Assembly from the large Cherokee County territory--land northwest of the Chattahoochee River which the state stole from the Cherokee Nation and redistributed to settlers via lottery, following the passage of the federal Indian Removal Act. The county was named for Thomas Willis Cobb, a U.S. representative and senator from Georgia. It is believed that Marietta was named for his wife, Mary.
Cobb County is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is situated immediately to the northwest of Atlanta's city limits.
The U.S. Census Bureau ranks Cobb County as the most-educated in the state of Georgia and 12th among all counties in the US. It has ranked among the top 100 highest-income counties in the United States. In October 2017, Cobb was ranked as the "Least Obese County in Georgia".
Cobb county was one of nine Georgia counties carved out of the disputed territory of the Cherokee Nation in 1832. It was the 81st county in Georgia and named for Judge Thomas Willis Cobb, who served as a U.S. Senator, state representative, and superior court judge. It is believed that the county seat of Marietta was named for Judge Cobb's wife, Mary.
The state started acquiring right-of-way for the Western & Atlantic Railroad in 1836. A train began running between Marietta and Marthasville (now Atlanta) in 1845. Before the Civil War, Marietta was also a summer resort for residents of Savannah and Charleston fleeing yellow fever.
During the American Civil War, some confederate troops were trained at a camp in Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), where the Andrews Raid occurred, starting the Great Locomotive Chase. There were battles of New Hope Church May 25, Pickett's Mill May 27, and Dallas May 28. These were followed by the prolonged series of battles through most of June until very early July: the Battle of Marietta and the Battle of Noonday Creek.
The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain June 27, 1864, was the site of the only major Confederate victory in General William T. Sherman's invasion of Georgia. Despite the victory, Union forces outflanked the Confederates.
In 1915, Leo Frank, the Jewish supervisor of an Atlanta pencil factory who was convicted of murdering one of his workers, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan, was kidnapped from his jail cell and brought to Frey's Gin, two miles (3 km) east of Marietta, where he was lynched.
Cotton farming in the area peaked from the 1890s through the 1920s. Low prices during the Great Depression resulted in the cessation of cotton farming throughout Cobb County. The price of cotton went from 16¢ per pound (35¢/kg) in 1920 to 9½¢ (21¢/kg) in 1930. This resulted in a cotton bust for the county, which had stopped growing the product but was milling it. This bust was in turn, followed by the Great Depression.[clarification needed] To help combat the bust, the state started work on a road in 1922 that would later become U.S. 41, later replaced by Cobb Parkway in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
In 1942, Bell Aircraft opened a Marietta plant to manufacture B-29 bombers and Marietta Army Airfield was founded. Both were closed after World War II, but reopened during the Korean War, when the air field was acquired by the Air Force, renamed Dobbins AFB, and the plant by Lockheed. During the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Lockheed Marietta was the leading manufacturer of military transport planes, including the C-130 Hercules and the C-5 Galaxy. "In Cobb County and other sprawling Cold War suburbs from Orange County to Norfolk/Hampton Roads, the direct link between federal defense spending and local economic prosperity structured a bipartisan political culture of hawkish conservatism and material self-interest on issues of national security."
When county home rule was enacted statewide by amendment to the Georgia state constitution in the early 1960s, Ernest W. Barrett became the first chairman of the new county commission. The county courthouse, built in 1888, was demolished, spurring a law that now prevents counties from doing so without a referendum.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Cobb transformed from rural to suburban, as integration spurred white flight from the city of Atlanta, which by 1970 was majority-African-American. Real-estate booms drew rural white southerners and Rust Belt transplants, both groups mostly first-generation white-collar workers. Cobb County was the home of former segregationist and Georgia governor Lester Maddox (1966-71). In 1975, Cobb voters elected John Birch Society leader Larry McDonald to Congress, running in opposition to desegregation busing. A conservative Democrat, McDonald called for investigations into alleged plots by the Rockefellers and the Soviet Union to impose "socialist-one-world-government" and co-founded the Western Goals Foundation. In 1983, McDonald died aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007, shot down by a Soviet fighter jet over restricted airspace. I-75 through the county is now named for him.
In 1990, Republican Congressmen Newt Gingrich became Representative of a new district centered around Cobb County. In 1994, as Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in almost fifty years, Gingrich became Speaker of the House, thrusting Cobb County into the national spotlight.
In 1993, county commissioners passed a resolution condemning homosexuality and cut off funding for the arts after complaints about a community theater. After protests from gay rights organizations, organizers of the 1996 Summer Olympics pulled events out of Cobb County, including the Olympic Torch Relay. The county's inns were nevertheless filled at 100% of capacity for two months during the event.
In the 1990s and 2000s, Cobb's demographics changed. As Atlanta's gentrification reversed decades of white flight, middle-class African-Americans and Russian, Bosnian, Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, Mexican and Central American immigrants moved to older suburbs in south and southwest Cobb. In 2010, African-American Democrat David Scott was elected to Georgia's 13th congressional district, which included many of those suburbs. Cobb became the first Georgia county to participate in the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g) enabling local law officers to enforce immigration law.
The county is divided between two major basins. Most runoff flows into the Middle Chattahoochee-Lake Harding and Upper Chattahoochee River sub-basins of the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin) along the southeastern border, directly via Willeo Creek, Sope Creek (Sewell Creek), Rottenwood Creek (Powers Creek, Poorhouse Creek, Poplar Creek), Nickajack Creek and others. The large Sweetwater Creek is the other major stream, carrying the waters of Noses Creek (Ward Creek, Olley Creek, Mud Creek), Powder Springs Creek (Rakestraw Creek, Mill Creek) and others into the Chattahoochee. A ridge from Lost Mountain in the west, to Kennesaw Mountain in the north-central, to Sweat Mountain in the extreme northeast, divides the far north-northwest of the county into the Etowah River sub-basin of the ACT River Basin (Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin), which includes Lake Allatoona. Noonday Creek (Little Noonday Creek) flows northward into the lake, as does Allatoona Creek, which forms a major arm of the lake. Proctor Creek forms the much older Lake Acworth, which in turn empties directly into Lake Allatoona under the Lake Acworth Drive (Georgia 92) bridge. North Cobb is in the Coosa River basin.
There are several high points in Cobb County.
Originally in area code 404, the county was moved into area code 770 in 1995, and overlaid by area code 678 in 1998. Prior to 1995, those with phones tied to the Woodstock telephone exchange (prefixes 924, 926, 928, later 516 and 591) could also call the Canton exchange (479, later 445, then 704) as a local call. This became moot, along with other dual-zone exchanges in metro Atlanta, when the exurban exchanges (including Canton) were fully made a part of what was already the world's largest toll-free calling zone. It is a zone spanning 7,162 square miles (18,549 km2), with four active telephone area codes, and local calling extending into portions of two others.
Cobb's FIPS county code is 13067. Because the National Weather Service has not subdivided the county, its WRSAME code is 013067, for receiving targeted weather warnings from NOAA Weather Radio. The county is primarily within the broadcast range of one weather radio station: KEC80, on 162.550 MHz, transmitted to all of metro Atlanta and broadcast from NWSFO Peachtree City. The secondary station is the much newer WWH23 on 162.425 from Buchanan, which also transmits warnings for Cobb but has reception mainly in the western part of the county.
As of 2000, there were 697,553 people, 248,303 households, and 169,178 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,998 people per square mile (763/km²). There were 261,659 housing units at an average density of 770 per square mile (301/km²). The racial makeup of the county in 2010 72.4% White, 18.8% Black, 0.3% Native American, 3.06% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 5.3% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. 7.73% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 248,303 households out of which 35.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.20% were non-families. 23.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 36.50% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 6.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.90 males.
As of 2007, the median income was $70,472. The per capita income for the county was $32,740. About 6.0% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 688,078 people, 260,056 households, and 175,357 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,026.4 inhabitants per square mile (782.4/km2). There were 286,490 housing units at an average density of 843.7 per square mile (325.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 62.21% white, 24.96% black or African American, 4.46% Asian, 0.34% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 5.28% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 12.26% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 10.4% were German, 10.0% were English, 9.3% were Irish, and 8.6% were American.
Of the 260,056 households, 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 32.6% were non-families, and 25.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.17. The median age was 35.4 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $65,522 and the median income for a family was $78,920. Males had a median income of $55,200 versus $43,367 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,110. About 7.6% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
Cobb County maintains the Cobb County Public Library System. The libraries provide resources such as books, videos, internet access, printing, and computer classes. The libraries in the CCPLS are:
The Smyrna Public Library is a city-owned library in Smyrna.
Under Georgia's home rule provision, county governments have free rein to legislate on all matters within the county, provided that such legislation does not conflict with state or federal laws or constitutions.
Cobb County is governed by a five-member board of commissioners, which has both legislative and executive authority within the county. The chairman of the board is elected county-wide. The other four commissioners are elected from single-member districts. The board hires a county manager who oversees day-to-day operations of the county's executive departments.
County residents also elect a sheriff, district attorney, probate court judge, clerk of superior court, clerk of the state court, state court solicitor, chief magistrate judge (who then appoints other magistrate court judges), superior court judges, state court judges, tax commissioner, surveyor, and a seven-member board of education. In addition to the county sheriff, the constitutional chief law enforcement officer of the county, Cobb County has a separate police department under the authority of the Board of Commissioners. The sheriff oversees the jail, to which everyone arrested under state law is taken, regardless of the city or other area of the county where it happens, or which police department makes the arrest.
Each city has a separate police department, answerable to its governing council. Marietta, Smyrna, and Austell have separate fire departments, with the Cobb County Fire Department being the authority having jurisdiction over Kennesaw, Acworth, Powder Springs, and unincorporated areas. Cobb 911 covers unincorporated areas and the city of Marietta. Kennesaw and Acworth jointly operate a small 911 call center (PSAP) upstairs in Kennesaw city hall, dispatching the police departments in both cities, and forwarding fire calls to Cobb. Smyrna operates a separate PSAP while offering dispatch services to the city of Powder Springs. Austell operates its own separate 911 system.
The county retails potable water to much of the county, and wholesales it to various cities.
The current County Manager is Rob Hosack.
From 1980 until 2012, the county was a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first Democrat to win Cobb County since 1976, when Georgia native Jimmy Carter won every county in the state. In 2018, Stacey Abrams became the first Democrat to win Cobb County in a gubernatorial election since 1986 when Joe Frank Harris swept every county statewide.
In addition to the 4% statewide sales tax, Cobb County levies an additional 2% for special projects, each 1% subject to separate renewal every few years by countywide referendum (including within its cities). This funds mainly transportation and parks. Cobb levies a 1% tax to lower property taxes, but only for the public school budget, and not the additional 1% HOST homestead exemption for general funds. The county has also voted not to pay the extra 1% to join MARTA.
At the beginning of 2006, Cobb became the last county in the state to raise the tax to 6%, which also doubled the tax on food to 2%. The SPLOST barely passed by a 114 vote margin, or less than one-quarter of a percent, in a September 2005 referendum. The revenue was to go to a new county courthouse, expanded jail, various transportation projects, and the purchasing of property for parks and green space. In 2008, the school tax was renewed for a third term, funding the Marietta and Cobb school systems.
Private corporations include: