During Reconstruction, residents began to settle along the Georgia Pacific Railroad as it was being built between Atlanta and Birmingham. In 1882, they founded Temple and named the town for Major Robert H. Temple, a Civil War veteran and the chief engineer of the railroad. The next year, Temple earned its charter.
In 1904, the Temple Model School opened to teach students about agriculture and homemaking. Its curriculum spread across the state, and even more important, its student transport caught the eye of others nationwide - Temple boasted the country's first school bus.