17 Historic Sites And Tours In Dalton, Georgia

17 Historic Sites And Tours In Dalton, Georgia

We are surrounded with rich and fascinating history.

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 The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.


To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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A Letter To New High School Grads

Well, you finally made it!


To all the new high school graduates:

Congratulations! You finally made it! You've worked hard to make it here and are now entering true adulthood. Some of you will be going away to college in the fall, some of you will go to work straight away, and some will take a gap year or two to travel and mature before deciding what to do with your lives. All of these are perfectly good options— as long as you are doing what you love!

To those of you going to work after graduation, it's time to work hard! High school has given you the necessary knowledge to go into the workforce, so get in there and work your ass off! Make sure you are doing something you love because if you love your work, you never work a day in your life! Put your mind to it and put your grind to it, and you'll be successful no matter what you do!

To the grads who are taking a gap year to travel and grow, enjoy the time you take to find out who you truly are! Travel is the best way to test yourself and find out where you excel and what you need to work at. You will also learn about new people, cultures, foods, and languages if you're traveling abroad, which is another great way to broaden your horizons and help you discover what it is you want to do once you go to college (if you decide to go to college).

And to those who are headed to college in the fall, get ready, because you're about to enter a world like no other, and start the best four years of your life! Now, I may be a bit biased because I go to the best school ever, (Go Nittany Lions!) but for everyone I have ever spoken to, college has been the most enjoyable time in their lives. It will be where you make friends that last a lifetime, take classes where you will learn how to work in the field you plan to enter once you graduate, and make connections that will get you jobs and internships in those fields.

Finally, to all the graduates reading, enjoy this summer. Enjoy it like it's your last summer ever. Travel, spend time with your friends, go to concerts and festivals, see new things, and take hundreds of photographs. Don't get too lazy, even though it's so easy to when you finally have no responsibilities!

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