Know your City: 3 Interesting Facts from the History of Senoia GA

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History of Senoia GA

Getting to know the history of your surroundings can be very beneficial. Not only does it evoke a sense of pride in where you live, but you’re able to appreciate the evolution of the city. The website Patheos lists 7 reasons to appreciate history with the number one reason being to gain hope: “Expanding our knowledge of the past becomes a way to expand our hope for the present and beyond.” Whether you’re a Senoia native, a resident of a neighboring city, or just a Georgia history buff, we think you will appreciate this post. It’s a new year, winter break is over and school is back in session, so get ready for a quick lesson on the history of Senoia, GA.

Where does the name Senoia come from?

history of Senoia, GA.
Photo by Ben Prepelka

There’s some confusion about where the name Senoia comes from; it could be one of Senoia’s greatest mysteries. There are a few different explanations floating around, but the fact is that no one really knows. One explanation for the city’s moniker is that it was named after Chief William McIntosh’s mother Senoya. This is probably the most probable explanation, as Chief McIntosh played a major role in the creation of the Coweta area. However, the name of the city could have also come from a Native American word, Shenoywa, which would have been used for the title of the Chief. According to Senoia’s city website, there are a few other possibilities. The city could be named after a Native American chief, medicine man, and philanthropist who lived near the area. This idea sort of ties into another belief that Colonel William C. Barnes came up with the name Senoia to honor a Native American man who lived in the area. Although no one really knows the origin of the city’s name, we still love it!

“Hollywood of the South”

the history of Senoia, GA.

Everyone talks about how Atlanta has become the “new Hollywood” or the “Hollywood of the South”. When they say Atlanta, they must mean Senoia. This city has been the backdrop of the entertainment industry for decades. Of course, The Walking Dead has brought the city much recognition, but many equally-popular entertainment projects helped put Senoia on the map, so to speak. You might remember a little Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated movie by the name of Fried Green Tomatoes. Well, portions of that movie were filmed in Senoia and surrounding areas. Other movies that were filmed in this great city include: Driving Miss Daisy with Morgan Freeman, Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon, The Fighting Temptations with Beyoncé, and The War with Kevin Costner. Margaret Mitchell even did research in the area for her famous novel Gone with the Wind. There’s no coincidence that the city of Senoia was called “Location” before it acquired an official name;it is now the perfect “location” for the entertainment industry, with Raleigh Studios on Chestlehurst Road. Senoia possesses a historic charm that makes it worthy of being called the Hollywood of the South!

It’s “Seh-noy,” not “Seh-noya”

the history of Senoia, GA
Photo by Lee Howard

This fact is definitely for the non-residents of Senoia. The city has a beautiful name, but it is one of the most mispronounced cities in Georgia and probably has been since the city was given its title  in 1864. One minute, you’re blending in like a resident; then you open your mouth and say “Seh-noya” instead of “Seh-noy” and you begin to stick out like a sore thumb. But don’t worry about mispronouncing the name, I, a Georgia native, am guilty of this error as well. The good thing is that the residents won’t hold it against you and chase you down the street with torches and pitchforks for defiling their beloved city’s name. Senoia looks like a simple word, and you want to pronounce it the way it looks, but just remember the “a” is silent.

We love everything about this city and find its history extremely intriguing. If you want to learn more about the history of Senoia, GA, check out the city’s website or stop by the Senoia Historical Society for a walk down Senoia’s memory lane. Also, check out our posts on the history of other cities in the area: Fayetteville, Newnan, Peachtree City, and Tyrone. Know any interesting facts about your city? Share them with us; we’d love to read them!

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