* Interstate 75 was still just three or four lanes in each direction in most of Cobb, and only two lanes in north Cobb, hard though that may be to believe now.
* Town Center mall was just opening, and was surrounded by parking lots, of course, but beyond that was belted with fields and forest. Barrett Lakes Boulevard, today one of the busiest roads in the Town Center area, was still a one-lane dirt road in the early 1990s.
* The Galleria Centre was still a shopping mall, not a convention center, and the Cobb Energy Centre wasn't even a pipedream yet.
* Driving on Cobb Parkway north of Bell's Ferry Road was like motoring through rural Georgia. Now that stretch of Cobb Parkway is a twin of the rest of the road, with strip malls and eateries lining the way. And most of the seedy-looking motor courts that once dotted it are long gone, replaced by car dealerships and fast-food restaurants.
* Northside Chevrolet was still located on Roswell Street near the Big Chicken, which still endures. The drive from Marietta to Roswell on Roswell Road took you past more pastures than subdivisions and once past Barnes Mill Road commercial developments were reminiscent of oases.
* Austell and Powder Springs roads were just two lanes wide, and most of the houses along them were still residences, rather than commercial. Dallas Highway was just a two-lane road through the country.
* Acworth and Kennesaw were sleepy railroad towns that had seen better days and didn't seem likely to see them again any time soon. Powder Springs had a quaint downtown and not much of anything else. Smyrna had the most rundown, ramshackle Main Street I think I had ever seen. Mayor Max Bacon and his city council finally had the right idea and bulldozed it in the 1990s. The new Smyrna sure beats the old one.
* There was no Ernest Barrett Parkway in west Cobb. The best way to get to I-285 and Atlanta was via driving through Marietta.
* The county parking deck just off Marietta Square had not yet been built, so finding a place to park on the Square usually meant circling it repeatedly in hopes of finding someone pulling out.
* The Marietta Police Department was still housed in a cramped building with a jail on the top floor that Police Chief Chuck Simmons later disparaged as "something right out of 'Cool Hand Luke.'"
* Marietta Square was dead as a doorknob after dark, and not overly safe.
* The Cobb-Marietta Library was still housed in the old post office building on Atlanta Street (now the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art).
* Virtually all commercial signage in the county was written in English. Now, many streets in Cobb could pass for somewhere in the Third World.
* Ethnic restaurant choices were limited to Chinese and Mexican. Now you can find any cuisine in Cobb from Korean to Guatemalan.
* I remember doing a story at Kennesaw State College 20 years ago and coming away unimpressed with its campus and facilities. Ditto for Southern Tech, which was best known for its annual bathtub race, which I covered a time or two. Today, Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University are powerhouse institutions dotted with modern buildings and dorms and are first-choice colleges for many Cobb students.
* What was then Cobb General Hospital in Austell sat on a vast lawn with nothing nearby but 1960s-style ranch houses. Now WellStar at Cobb Hospital is nearly overtaken by the sprawl at the nearby intersection of the East-West Connector and Austell Road is the commercial hub of south Cobb.
* "Shooting the 'Hooch" was a popular way to while away a summer afternoon. Few do so anymore, thanks to worries about the Chattahoochee River's water quality.
* And I can't look back on the past 20 years without mentioning some of the many people I covered who have passed on: folks like Marietta Mayors Joe Mack Wilson, Ansley Meaders and Dana Eastham, Cobb Superior Court Judge Bob Flournoy and state Rep. Jack Vaughan Jr. Folks like Marietta City Hall denizens Aaron Cuthbert, David Hughes, Don White, and police Capt. Donnie Ellers, who was killed in a speedboat accident on Lake Allatoona the morning after helping crack the biggest murder case of his career. There were also George Gay, hero of the World War II Battle of Midway, municipal bond wizard Lex Jolley, Marietta history buff Charlie Brown, history professor and former Cobb Commission Chairman Phil Secrist, and of course, former Gov. Lester Maddox.
That's a lot of changes, and a lot of losses, in 25 years. I wonder what the next 25 will hold?
Joe Kirby is Editorial Page editor of the Marietta Daily Journal.