Actual Factual Cobb: What's a jonquil and why is Smyrna obsessed?


Howdy! This is "Actual Factual Cobb," and thus is much better than the rest of the Internet. In this column series, I — Ben Brasch — will keep rootin' for answers and tootin' news about Cobb County from questions you ask until the esteemed AJC fires me upon realizing how much of the newsroom's coffee budget is expended on me.

If we're about to have a whole festival dedicated to some random flower, I figured we should talk about why it matters.

It's the pride of Smyrna gardens. It's the biggest happening in Smyrna every year. It's the logo of Smyrna — the Jonquil City.

But what the heck is a jonquil?

According to the city website: "A fragrant short-tubed, yellow flower with long narrow leaves that blooms in great quantities in Smyrna in the Spring."

Prepare yourself: Smyrna's Fall Jonquil Festival is this weekend

Great! We solved that! Nancy Drew would be proud. Just go ahead and check out the latest Mike Luckovich cartoon. 

I guess you could, but don't you want to know why Smyrna is called the Jonquil City?

As with many a good story, it starts in a burlap sack.

Specifically the one sent to Smyrna in 1883 by the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Taylor.

Actual Factual Cobb: How did the county's cities get these crazy names?

The Taylors bought 80 acres on Atlanta Road near the old Brawner hospital. (Hence the Taylor-Brawner House.)

Their son in Spokane, Washington, sent a burlap sack of jonquil bulbs to his parents who then distributed them to neighbors. Those are considered to be the area's first jonquil bulbs, according to the Smyrna Historical Society.

The Taylors may have moved to Spokane in 1907 to be with their son, but you can see the flowers they left behind all over the city in parks and home gardens, in a blanket of yellow.

Being Smyrna's only paved road in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Atlanta Road was lined with front yards repping King Alfred jonquils. Snowbirds heading back to the Midwest and Canada (some things never change) would buy bunches of jonquils for 10 to 15 cents a dozen.

Like Cobb County News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

In 1937, 18 women established the Jonquil Garden Club. Here's where we fan the floral flames of history. I'll let the historical society explain: 

"For a number of years, a number of members of the Smyrna Business Men's Club claimed that they introduced the name 'Jonquil City'. However, the ladies of the Jonquil Garden Club and the Spring Hill Garden Club agreed that Smyrna was first given the title by Smyrna Native, Lena Mae Green" at a convention in Ontario.

None of that has stopped thousands of people from enjoying the Fall Jonquil Festival every year since the early 2000s.

The festival also means Smyrna's long history with the jonquil isn't being uprooted anytime soon.

I, Ben Brasch, am a reporter with the AJC. To submit “Actual Factual Cobb” questions, contact me at ben.brasch@ajc.com or on Twitter at @ben_brasch, or via the form below.

 

<iframe src="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeSkRiq_XYhgh9x2v7iUEYweQINLKOVJ6XayoMHKXEH5aH3CA/viewform?embedded=true" width="100%" height="1200" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe>


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Vogtle at center of PSC race as incumbents fight to hold seats
Vogtle at center of PSC race as incumbents fight to hold seats

The state’s Public Service Commission impacts the wallets of millions of electricity and natural gas customers, yet the five regulators are among the least known elected officials in Georgia. Still, the low-profile state body suddenly finds itself in the crosshairs of a statewide debate that has reared its head just weeks before the Nov. 6 elections...
NEW DETAILS: Search continues for gunman after shots fired at cop car, SWAT standoff
NEW DETAILS: Search continues for gunman after shots fired at cop car, SWAT standoff

A search continued overnight for a gunman who fired multiple shots at an unmarked patrol car in southwest Atlanta Monday. Two undercover officers took fire while investigating a call in the 1100 block of Osborne Street about 9:30 p.m., Atlanta police said. According to Channel 2 Action News, there was complaint of drug activity in the area. A man...
Former Atlanta Fire chief will receive $1.2M settlement over firing
Former Atlanta Fire chief will receive $1.2M settlement over firing

The City of Atlanta has agreed to a $1.2 million settlement with an ex-Atlanta Fire chief over his firing after he wrote a book that compared homosexuality to bestiality. The city council approved the payout to Kelvin Cochran with a vote of 11-3, according to WSB Radio, which was at the city council meeting Monday. MORE: Former Atlanta fire chief...
Ex-Georgia high school star who was cut by Falcons accused of having sex with child
Ex-Georgia high school star who was cut by Falcons accused of having sex with child

A former Georgia high school football standout who briefly signed with the Atlanta Falcons was arrested Saturday by Columbus police for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. Justin Crawford, 23, who played running back at Hardaway High School and West Virginia University, faces charges of incest,...
Felon faces 7 felonies after alleged robbery at Pappadeaux in Gwinnett, SWAT standoff
Felon faces 7 felonies after alleged robbery at Pappadeaux in Gwinnett, SWAT standoff

A man was arrested Monday in Gwinnett County after allegedly attacking two men in a seafood restaurant parking lot and prompting a SWAT standoff at a nearby apartment complex, Channel 2 Action News reported. Mikail Dinkins, 26, of Duluth, is accused of pistol-whipping a man in the parking lot of Pappadeaux on Jimmy Carter Boulevard before robbing...
More Stories