Murfreesboro is a city in Tennessee. The center of population of Tennessee is located in Murfreesboro. The city is part of the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes thirteen counties and a population of 1,486,695 (2007). Although Murfreesboro is sometimes considered a suburb or exurb of Nashville, Tennessee, it is far enough away [about 35 miles (56 km)] and has a large enough population to maintain a separate identity from its larger neighbor.
The town was first named “Cannonsburgh” in honor of Tennessee politician Newton Cannon, but was soon renamed “Murfreesboro” for Revolutionary War hero Colonel Hardy Murfree, later the great-grandfather of author Mary Noailles Murfree. As Tennessee grew westward, it became clear that having the state capital in Knoxville would be a burden to those who had to travel from the western end of the state. In 1818, Murfreesboro became the capital of Tennessee until 1826, when Nashville became the state capital. On December 31, 1862, the Battle of Stones River, also called the Battle of Murfreesboro, was fought near Murfreesboro. This was a major engagement of the American Civil War. After the battle, Murfreesboro was used as a supply depot for the Union Army. Stones River National Battlefield is now an historical site.