17 Historic Sites And Tours In Dalton, Georgia

17 Historic Sites And Tours In Dalton, Georgia

We are surrounded with rich and fascinating history.
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From our famous textile heritage, to The Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel, to Emery Street School, and everything in between, Dalton is full of rich and fascinating history.

Several organizations in Dalton are working hard to preserve and uncover our history while also simultaneously trying to discover what our present and future identity should be. I have the honor of working for one of these organizations, the Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau. I hope you will read and share this article, research the things that you're interested in, and make plans to embark upon the historic learning opportunities that we are surrounded with!

Disclaimer: Every single historic site in Dalton is not mentioned in this list and the sites mentioned are not ranked in any particular order, they're all equally awesome.

1. The Western & Atlantic Tunnel Tour and Museum at Tunnel Hill

Construction began on the tunnel in 1848, during which time the population of Tunnel Hill grew to supply accommodations to railway workers. The tunnel, which spans 1,477 feet, was dug through the base of the Chetoogeta Mountain.

On May 9, 1850, the first Western and Atlantic train passed through the tunnel and the new town of Atlanta became one of the railway's major hubs.

The tunnel became part of several historical events during the Civil War (one of which was the Great Locomotive Chase), before heavy railroad traffic and larger train cars getting stuck in the tunnel led to the building of a larger parallel tunnel, ending the use of the tunnel in 1928.

The tunnel faced possible destruction from 70 years of neglect until, in 1992, steps were taken to preserve it. After a lengthy period of restoration and rehabilitation, the tunnel was opened to the public in 2000, just in time for its 150th anniversary.

2. The Clisby Austin House

Built in 1848 by the house's namesake, the Clisby Austin House is a prime example of the antebellum style of architecture. It has experienced several interesting events since its construction, primarily during the Civil War.

The house served as a hospital during the battle of Chickamauga. It was here that Confederate General John Hood was sent to recuperate after the amputation of his leg, which accompanied him along his journey (so it could be buried with him in case he died). The leg is buried near the house. The house also served as headquarters to William Sherman during the Battle of Dalton and it has been said that Sherman planned the Atlanta Campaign here.

The Austin family cemetery is located on a hill across from the house. Rebecca, mother of Clisby, has the only remaining headstone. It is believed that as many as 17 family members are buried there.



3. Tufts of the Past - Textile Heritage Self-Guided Tour

Dalton is wildly famous for our textile heritage. The self-guided tour can be downloadedhere.

4. The Dalton Distillery Tour

Dalton Distillers, LLC uses a family secret recipe of Real Georgia Moonshine that's over 100 years old. The Distillery offers tours to customers interested in learning more about their history and moonshining process.

5. Dalton Ghost Tours

Thrilling guests with their original Dalton ghost walk, haunted pub crawls, special events, paranormal celebrity appearances, private tours, and workshops since 2003.

6. Bandy Heritage Center History Museum

Through traveling exhibits, temporary gallery exhibits, on-line exhibits, educational programing, summer workshops for teachers, and other events, the Bandy Heritage Center encourages learning about Georgia's rich history and culture.

7. The Emery Center

The Emery Center, formerly Emery Street School is located in Dalton, Georgia, its mission is to promote awareness of African American culture and heritage. This museum is mind-blowing! So much content has been preserved to tell the history of the African American culture and heritage in Dalton. If you have never visited the Emery Center, please make it a point to do. I have so much respect for everyone involved in this institution.

8. Old Federal Road Driving Tour

In 1805, the U.S. and Cherokee established the Treaty of Tellico to build the Federal Roadthrough Cherokee territory. Driving the route takes about three hours. The audio CD tour may be purchased at the W&A Railroad Museum.

9. The Huff House Tour

This antebellum home was the headquarters of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston during the Civil War in the winter of 1863-64. It was also the site where Gen. Patrick Cleburne proposed arming slaves in exchange for their freedom to alleviate the manpower shortage facing the Confederacy.

Mrs. Lida E. Huff bought the house in 1890. At that time, the house faced the RR tracks (the Great Locomotive Chase passed by here in 1862), but approximately 18-years later Mrs. Huff had the house turned around so it would face the street like the newer homes on Selvidge. They accomplished this by placing the house on a turnstile powered by mules. The home stayed in the Huff family until 1971.

It has since been used as an office building. The Boring and Hill families donated the Huff House to the WMHS August 2013. The WMHS plans to restore the building and use it as a museum focusing on the house’s history.

10. The Hamilton House Tour

The oldest brick home in Dalton, Hamilton House was built by John Hamilton around 1840. During the winter of 1863, when Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and the Army of Tennessee occupied Dalton, Brig. Gen. J.H. Lewis headquartered here. His tent near the Spring House was the location where battle strategy was discussed and implemented. Guided tours offer an in-depth look at the history behind the house.

11. The Blunt House

An 1848 home of Dalton's first mayor, postmaster and religious leader, the Blunt House is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the first two-story house built in Dalton.

12. Prater's Mill

Built by Benjamin Franklin Prater in 1855, the water powered mill was originally fitted with the latest in grain cleaning, grinding and sifting machinery, all powered by the Coahulla Creek. The grounds host the Prater's Mill Country Fair every October! Fishing is permitted in Coahulla Creek. A nature trail provides a walkthrough of the area, and with a donation, the grounds can be reserved for private use.


13. Dug Gap Battle Park

These breastworks were built by Civil War soldiers during the Atlanta Campaign and feature a scenic view from the top of Dug Gap Mountain hiking trail that overlooks the Dalton area as well as the Georgia mountains.

14. Civil War Driving Tour

Take a guided driving tour with the "War Comes To Dalton" Civil War driving tour. Whitfield County is home to a rich Civil War heritage. This area felt the war's impact almost from the beginning of the conflict, thanks largely to the presence of a main north-south rail line: the Western & Atlantic.

During the early years of the war, Whitfield County witnessed the famous Great Locomotive Chase along with more customary sights such as troop trains and supply shipments puffing along the tracks. The area later became a hospital zone for Confederate wounded, using hospitals, churches and private residences to provide these medical services and eventually creating the need for a military cemetery.

The driving tour highlights the opening action of Sherman's Campaign. For sale now in The Dalton Freight Depot Welcome Center in historic Downtown Dalton, and the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center in Tunnel Hill. For more information or to order your copy, call 706-270-9960.

15. Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway

From the historic Praters Mill grist mill to the Cohutta Fishery to the top of Fort Mountain, a drive along the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway affords a view of northwest Georgia natural beauty and historic sites.

16. Confederate Cemetery and Memorial Wall

This cemetery has 421 Confederate and four "unknown" Union soldiers. The recently discovered names of the Confederates are engraved on the Memorial Wall. The cemetery entrance is across from West Hill Chapel.

17. The Dixie Highway of Dalton

The Dalton GA U.S. 41 Dixie Highway ran right down Hamilton St. in Downtown Dalton, as we know it now. There are currently several things in the works to continue preserving and promoting the Dixie Highway of Dalton. Stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who has fought hard in many ways to make and preserve the history of our great town of Dalton.

"History is not was, it is." -William Faulkner
Cover Image Credit: Civil War Railroad Tunnel

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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