It was partly built in the English garden of Säfstaholm, a large estate which up until 1855 was home to philanthropist and art collector Gustaf Trolle-Bonde. The estate is nowadays owned by the municipality and contains an art museum with yearly exhibitions during the summer.
The town's expansion began in 1862 when a railway station was opened along the western main line (Västra Stambanan, which runs from Stockholm to Gothenburg). The station remained in operation up until 1971, but reopened in 2003.
The town is the birthplace of Gunnar Helén, former chairman of the Liberal Party, and former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson.