The Piedmont area, located at the crossroads of two early post roads, has been a settlement since the 1840s. It has been known at various times as Hollow Stump (allegedly because mail was at one point deposited in and picked up from a hollow stump), Griffen's Creek, and Piedmont Cross Plains (beginning about 1851), because of the many Native American trails that had converged here.
The town was incorporated in 1871 as Cross Plains. The first town newspaper, established the year before incorporation, was called the Cross Plains Democrat.
The Selma, Rome, and Dalton Railroad was built through town in 1868. That line went bankrupt and was bought in receivership by the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad in 1881. In 1984, the town's rail line was bought by the Southern Railroad which operated rail service until 1989.
The city received its current name from the U.S. Postal Service in 1888. It derives from the town's location in the Piedmont region of the state and is similar to the French and Italian words for an area characterized by the foothills of a larger mountain chain.
Piedmont's city school system was established in 1900. Since its inception, the system has consistently received state and national accolades and awards for its facilities, technology innovation, academic achievement, extracurricular experiences, and athletic successes.
The system is strongly supported by the city officials of Piedmont and the Piedmont Educational Trust (PET).