Kennesaw has two community events to share this weekend.  First is an invitation to attend their virtual Menorah lighting and then announcing the Depot is open.!

City of Kennesaw to Host Menorah Lighting

City of Kennesaw Mayor, Derek Easterling, will join Rabbi Zalman Charytan of the Kennesaw Chabad Jewish Center to light a 9-foot Hanukkah menorah in Downtown Kennesaw on Sunday, December 13, the fourth night of the eight-day holiday, at 6:00 PM. The ceremony will be broadcast live to the City’s Facebook page,

About Chanukah (from Rabbi Z): Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins this year on the evening of Thursday, December 10 and concludes the evening of Friday, December 18. It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian-Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. The Syrian-Greeks also desecrated and defiled the Temple and the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service. Upon recapturing the Temple, only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight. In commemoration, Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah. The holiday is a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.

City of Kennesaw Opens Updated Historic Kennesaw Depot

The City of Kennesaw’s recently updated Historic Kennesaw’s Depot is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pictured above: Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling, City Manager Jeff Drobney & Staff cut ribbon for Grand Opening of Historic Kennesaw at the Depot.

The Historic Train Depot in Downtown Kennesaw is over 100 years old, but it is not the first such structure to serve the community. Construction on the nearby railroad was completed in 1850, and within a decade, a small, two-story hotel served as the primary stop for passengers. A drawing from the 1860s that appeared in the popular magazine Harpers Weekly also depicted an actual depot in the area, then known as Big Shanty, but the accuracy of the image continues to be debated. At the end of the Civil War, the Lacy Hotel and nearly every other structure in Big Shanty was destroyed, making verification of these early structures difficult.

The Western and Atlantic Railroad (W&A) resumed operations following the war, and in the 1870s, the line erected a new depot in Big Shanty. When Big Shanty incorporated and changed its name to Kennesaw in 1887, the local depot served as the center point from which the city limits were established. In 1890, the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway (NC&StL), assumed the lease to operate the W&A. In the course of operating the line, the NC&StL eventually replaced the 1870s depot with the one seen today, though the exact layout varied slightly from the current configuration. The Depot was redesigned in 1925 by reducing the size of the freight room while expanding and lowering the passenger and office areas.

The Depot remained in operation until 1968 when passenger service to the area ceased, and the City of Kennesaw subsequently purchased the structure. In the 1990s, the City refurbished the exterior of the Depot. The interior was remodeled in 2000, including new paint, the wooden platform surrounding the freight section of the structure was completely rebuilt, and an exhibit about local history was added to what used to be the passenger side of the building.

Recently, the staff of the Southern Museum completed a months long project to update and revitalize the local history exhibit inside the Depot. The displays, which include panels, cases and murals, now explore key topics in the history of the Kennesaw region. These displays include the indigenous peoples who once occupied the land, the impact of the Civil War, the significance of the railroad, the development of Downtown Kennesaw, cultural offerings of the City and the history of the Depot itself. The Depot’s bay window now boasts a rotating display of upcoming programs and attractions sponsored by the City of Kennesaw.

Kennesaw has a long and rich history, parts of which are not explored at the Southern Museum given its focus on railroads and the Civil War. The new exhibit inside the Depot is thus a welcome addition to the cultural legacy of the City.