Blue Ridge, Georgia
|Blue Ridge, Georgia|
Downtown Blue Ridge
Location in Fannin County and the state of Georgia
|• Total||2.2 sq mi (5.6 km2)|
|• Land||2.2 sq mi (5.6 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,762 ft (537 m)|
|• Density||550/sq mi (216.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0331197|
Cherokee Indians controlled the area today known as Fannin County when the first white settlements appeared. Unlike much of the rest of Georgia, Fannin County's first settlers did not come from the east, but from the north. Written accounts date these earliest settlements to 1790.
Crossing the Appalachian Mountains to Fort Loudon (now Tennessee), the first settlers followed the Tennessee River south, where they took the Ocoee-Toccoa to the wide, fertile river valley that separates the Cohuttas and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Fannin County. Coastal Georgians began to push the Cherokee farther west and this land was surrendered by the Cherokee in 1835, under the terms of the Treaty of New Echota. In 1838 the Cherokee were forced to leave in a travesty today known as the Trail of Tears.
Fannin County was created in 1854 from portions of Union County and Gilmer County, with Morganton as the first county seat. Col. James Fannin, for whom the county is named, was a hero in the Texas War for Independence. Ordered by Sam Houston to pull back from a fortified position in Goliad, Fannin was surrounded by forces under the command of Gen. José de Urrea in the battle of Coleto. Fannin surrendered his force of about 400 men, who later were massacred.
According to historic records at the County Historic Cabin near Blue Ridge about early business in Fannin, Appalachian farmers in this area grew products that had to be taken to a mill and "cracked" before use, hence the term "cracker" was frequently was applied.
Agriculture and the businesses supporting agriculture, have been (and still are) a mainstay of the Fannin County economy since its earliest days. After the Civil War cotton became a mainstay of the area. A push for diversification at the start of the twentieth century greatly expanded the types of crops raised. From the mid-1800s until the start of the nineteenth century, mining also contributed to the economy, as did lumber from 1900 until World War II.
The Marietta and North Georgia Railroad made an economic decision to avoid the Fannin county seat, Morganton, building the railroad through the long, relatively-flat Toccoa River Valley. Col. Mike McKinney founded the town of Blue Ridge in 1886 along the route of the railroad. When the railroad arrived in Fannin County it gave the county a market for its agricultural products. What had taken days to deliver now took hours. In the early 1920s construction began on U.S. Highway 76, further increasing access to this once remote area.
Tourism picked up with the completion of the railroad to Blue Ridge, but this boon was short-lived. Starting in the 1950s tourism surged again in the county. With the completion of the Georgia Mountain Parkway in 1986 this trickle became a flood.
Much of the land in Fannin County is under Forest Service management. Beginning as the Cherokee and later the Georgia National Forest, today's Chattahoochee National Forest is a gem in the crown of Fannin County. Managed for use by all Americans, the land creates jobs, offers recreational opportunities, and preserves ecologically sensitive areas from overuse.
Blue Ridge, Georgia is located at (34.868344, -84.320991).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), all of it land. Blue Ridge is the physiographic region in the north east corner of Georgia.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,210 people, 553 households, and 319 families residing in the city. The population density was 557.2 people per square mile (215.3/km²). There were 631 housing units at an average density of 290.6 per square mile (112.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.26% White, 0.41% African American, 0.41% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.
There were 553 households out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.3% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 83.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,214, and the median income for a family was $35,259. Males had a median income of $25,859 versus $17,941 for females.
The per capita income for the city was $16,149. About 13.7% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 16.6% of those age 65 or over.
Fannin County School District
The Fannin County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 179 full-time teachers and more than 3,212 students.
- Blue Ridge Elementary School
- East Fannin Elementary School
- West Fannin Elementary School
- Fannin County Middle School
- Fannin County High School
The town has one of the few drive-in theaters in North Georgia, The Swan Drive-In Theatre.
Blue Ridge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Georgia. With key water features, such as Lake Blue Ridge and the Toccoa River, as well as being surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the southern tip of the Appalachian Trail. The area draws tourists and outdoorsmen from all over the United States and abroad.
Outdoor activities include fishing, kayaking, boating, tubing, swimming, hiking, camping, and blueberry picking, to name a few. The downtown area of the city is populated with several shops and antique stores. The tracks for the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway bisect the downtown, with the Scenic Railway operating out of the town's historic 100-year-old depot. The downtown area also serves as host for several seasonal festivals.
On an excursion on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, guests may choose an authentic indoor or open rail car, depending on the season; the destination is the mountain town of McCaysville, Georgia, sister city to Copperhill, Tennessee. During the two-hour layover, guests have lunch and take a walk across the "Blue Line" on the street and where they then are in Tennessee! A person can stand in two states at once if having one foot on the Georgia side and the other on the Tennessee side.
The rail adventure is a two-hour 26-mile round trip, with a two-hour layover to explore. The train runs from March through December, on weekends until June 13, then daily through July. In the peak fall month of October, trips are daily, beginning on October 3.
The scenic railway recently was designated one of the top five attractions for experiencing fall color by "Southern Living" magazine. Other seasonal trains include the Pumpkin Pickin' Special in late October, and the Santa Train from Thanksgiving until Christmas. For more information, call 1-800-934-1898 or see www.brscenic.com.
Notable Blue Ridge natives
- Drew Blake - author
- Madison Brantley - forensic zooarchaeologist
- Cohutta Lee Grindstaff, entertainer from MTV realty shows
- Kirk Kirkpatrick, CEO, executive
- Lake Underwood, entrepreneur, inventor, and racecar owner and driver
- Mark Wills - country singer
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 9, 2010.
- School Stats, Retrieved June 9, 2010.
- The News Observer
- Blue Ridge Georgia Chamber of Commerce
- Blue Ridge City Hall
- Blue Ridge Webcam
- Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
- Blue Ridge Current Events Website
- Blue Ridge Georgia Travel and Local Area Guide