In 1811, the Tennessee State Legislature appointed a committee to select a new site for the Rutherford County seat. The site eventually chosen was 60 acres of land belonging to Captain William Lytle. The General Assembly named the new town "Cannonsburgh," honoring Newton Cannon, a young politician in Williamson County, but upon Captain Lytle's request, changed the name to "Murfreesborough" one month later. The naming was in memory of Lytle's friend, Colonel Hardy Murfree. In 1817, "Murfreesboro" was recognized as an official city by the State Legislature and, in 1818, was named the capital of Tennessee because of its central location. However, Nashville regained title as the State capital in 1826.
In the early years of Murfreesboro, it was mainly an agricultural community, with corn, cotton, and tobacco being the main crops. By 1853, the Murfreesboro area was home to three colleges and several academies, prompting it to be called the "Athens of Tennessee" by a visiting religious reporter. Although education suffered from the military occupation and the trauma of the Civil War, by the early 1900's it began to regain momentum. In 1911, Middle Tennessee State Normal School, for the training of teachers, was opened in Murfreesboro, joining Tennessee College for Women, which had opened in 1907. Today, Middle Tennessee State University is the home of 23,000+ students and has the highest undergraduate enrollment in the state.
After WWII, Murfreesboro and Rutherford County began to change from an agricultural based economy to industrial and manufacturing. Industrial growth has been steady since that time, contributing to a stable economy and phenomenal growth. In the past decade, Murfreesboro has enjoyed substantial residential and commercial growth. The City's population has increased 53.2 percent from 44,922 in 1990 to 68,816 in 2000. Murfreesboro now has, by special census, a population of 100,575.
Named the Most Livable Town in Tennessee, Murfreesboro is the fastest growing city in the state and it's not hard to see why. Murfreesboro provides the quality of life that attracts growth -- plentiful housing, excellent schools, employment opportunities, outstanding services, recreational programs and regional medical facilities.