|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
|Walker County and the state of Georgia|
|• Mayor||Ray Crowder|
|• Total||1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)|
|• Land||1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.25 km2)|
|Elevation||732 ft (223 m)|
|• Density||1,238.8/sq mi (478.9/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0355145|
- 1 History
- 2 Politics, government, and law
- 3 Education
- 4 Culture and Tourism
- 5 Geography
- 6 Demographics
- 7 References
Prior to the 1800s, the Chickamauga-Cherokee had settled in the area around Chickamauga Creek, actively farming and hunting the lands. They remained there until their forced exodus during the Trail of Tears (1838). In the early-to-mid-19th century, the present town of Chickamauga was a large plantation in the rolling hills of north Georgia. When the Cherokee Nation was divided into districts and courts in 1820, Crawfish Springs was made the capital of the new Chickamauga District. After the Cherokee removal, and the first court in Walker County was held there in the former Cherokee courthouse. The local post office was Crawfish Springs, GA.
During the War of 1812, five hundred Cherokee warriors from the area fought alongside General Andrew Jackson —at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. This was against the Creek Indians, who were aligned with England. The battle was a victory for the Americans.
The Lee and Gordon families greatly influenced Chickamauga's post-Cherokee history. In 1836 Gwinnett County, Georgia native, James Gordon, established a plantation at Crawfish Springs and built a gristmill two miles east of town —on Chickamauga Creek. Lee and Gordon's Mill, which contained the area's first general store, was situated near a blacksmith shop and stagecoach stop. From 1840 to 1847, Gordon built his Doric-columned brick house (known today as the Gordon-Lee Mansion), which overlooks Crawfish Springs.
The area was settled by many other farm families and life was busy and fruitful in the fertile valleys, until even this remote part of the south was visited by the sounds of cannon and guns during the American Civil War. The Battle of Chickamauga, named for nearby Chickamauga Creek, was fought September 19–20, 1863. It involved more than 150,000 soldiers of the Northern and Southern Armies. Prior to the battle, Union Gen. William Rosecrans located his headquarters at the Gordon Lee Mansion. During the battle, wounded and injured soldiers were cared for in the home and its adjacent buildings. Many Union doctors remaining behind to care for their patients after the Southern victory. Parched soldiers of both sides drank from the town's namesake springs.
Crawfish Springs was the site of a 1889 reunion of veteran soldiers, both Northern and Southern, who had fought in the Battle of Chickamauga. Called the "Blue and Gray Barbecue", hundreds of soldiers and their families visited the sites of the bloody battle from over 30 years prior, smoking the pipe of peace, healing the wounds, and helping start the Chickamauga National Park. The Chickamauga Battlefield, established in 1890, is located just north of the City of Chickamauga, and is a part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the first and largest in the country.
In 1888, a railroad line was built running through Crawfish Springs. A syndicate bought the land and used some of it to develop a summer resort, complete with the Park Hotel, which opened in 1891. Around this same time, the Central of Georgia Railway built a stone depot for visitors to the hotel (both the tracks and depot remain today). After passenger service ceased in the 1950s, the city schools, library system, and recreation department used the depot. It now houses the Walker County Regional Heritage and Model Train Museum. Occasional tourist train excursions stop at the Chickamauga depot. The Durham Iron and Coal Company built coke ovens on Chickamauga's north side, used to transform coal into coke for iron and steel foundries in Chattanooga. Beginning in 1891, coal was transported by train twice daily from Lookout Mountain to Chickamauga. Production peaked in 1904, at about 700 to 1,000 tons of coal per day, and ended entirely during the Great Depression. These coke ovens were restored in the 1990s for exhibition.
In the early 20th century, Chickamauga became a textile-mill town. New England native Daniel Ashley Jewell, who had moved to middle Georgia prior to the Civil War built a cotton mill. The small community in central Georgia that grew up around his mill is still called Jewell, Georgia. His sister subsequently married a Colonel W.L.L. Bowen. Jewell and his brother-in-law reorganized the bag company and it became the Bowen-Jewell Bag Company. Soon after, Colonel Bowen's nephew, A. S. Bowen, joined the company as a salesman. The company's best customers were the large grain mills in east Tennessee. For this reason, it was determined to move the company to the Chattanooga area in 1905. D.A. Jewell and business partner Colonel Bowen purchased land in Chickamauga in 1907, from US Senator Gordon Lee. The men had heard that Gordon Lee, the owner of the springs was proud of his sharp business dealings and had sold Crystal Spring several times, only to immediately repossess it as soon as the first payment was missed. Mr. Jewell and Colonel Bowen dressed Themselves in their worst clothes and attempted to look like a less than affluential rural men. They approached Lee and discussed buying the land. When a price had been quoted, they told Lee to have his attorney draw up the papers and they would return to work out the terms of purchase. When they came back, they were wearing their normal clothes and had their attorney with him. Rather than seeking terms, they paid in cash, and Lee had no choice but to give up the property. Mr. Jewell and Colonel W.L.L. Bowen built the Crystal Springs Bleachery Company (in 1909). The Crystal Springs Bleachery Company was a major employer in the area and a significant player in the development of the town. The mill remains in operation today. In addition other notable manufactures have interests in Chickamauga such as Shaw Industries.
Over the last century, the city has changed and grown, from a population of 95 (in 1900) to 3,101 (in the 2010 official Census). The city is surrounded by the north Georgia mountains and valleys, and the history of the area has been rediscovered and restored wherever possible. Today, Chickamauga is host to a wide variety of antique, boutique and specialty shops, as well as cafes and restaurants. Within a few blocks of the main shopping district are a number of public parks and historic sites, including Crawfish Springs Park, Coke Oven Park, and Holland-Watson Veterans Memorial Park. The Walker County Regional Heritage & Train Museum is housed in the historic train depot located in downtown Chickamauga. From April to September the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers weekend train excursions from Chattanooga to Chickamauga.
When the city was incorporated in 1891, the city's north-south avenues were named for Union and Confederate Generals. Today, avenues named for Longstreet, Hood, Crittenden, Stewart, and more, are clearly marked by large, wood framed signs displaying a description of the General's accomplishments, his picture, and flags of the period.
Several major Civil War battle sites and museums are located near the city: Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Lookout Mountain, Lee & Gordon's Mill, McLemore's Cove, and the Martin-Davis House, located at the site of the Battle of Davis's Cross Roads.
Politics, government, and law
- Ray Crowder – Mayor
- John Culpepper - City Manager
- Randal Dalton – Mayor Pro Tem & Police Department
- Robert Robertson – Office & Finance & Recreation
- Evitte Parrish – Electric Department
- James Staub – Planning & Development & Streets & Grounds
- Daymon Garrett – Water & Sewer
- Juanita Crowder – Recorder
- Micheal Haney - Chief of Police
Chickamauga City Schools
The Chickamauga City School System is a public, tax-funded institution that is open to all students that live within the city limits. Students that live outside the city may also attend but must pay tuition since they do not contribute tax dollars for the school. The school district holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of one elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 68 full-time teachers and over 1,293 students.
- Chickamauga Elementary School
- Gordon Lee Middle School
- Gordon Lee High School
- D. A. Jewell V, Chairman
- Grant Parrish, Vice Chairman
- David Askew
- Billy N. Ellis
- Janet Landers
Walker County School District
The Walker County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of nine elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools. The district has 577 full-time teachers and over 8,844 students.
- Chattanooga Valley Elementary School
- Cherokee Ridge Elementary
- Fairyland Elementary School
- Gilbert Elementary School
- Naomi Elementary School
- North LaFayette Elementary School
- Rock Spring Elementary School
- Rossville Elementary School
- Stone Creek Elementary School
- Chattanooga Valley Middle School
- LaFayette Middle School
- Rossville Middle School
- LaFayette High School
- Ridgeland High School
Walker County Alternative Education Center
The Alternative Education Center in Walker County is located in the former Osburn Elementary School. When Cherokee Ridge Elementary was built the students from Osburn were transferred to the new facility and the Alternative Education program was moved into the still usable Osburn.
Oakwood Christian Academy
The Oakwood Baptist Church founded a private Christian-based academy in 1992. Currently the school offers grades Pre-K through 8th with over 275 students enrolled. It sponsors sports teams such as cheerleading and basketball. It was announced in December 2008 that by 2012 Oakwood Academy will grow to include a high school.
Culture and Tourism
Historic Chickamauga has a variety of tourist attractions in and around the city. Lee and Gordon's Mills, one of the oldest mills in the state of Georgia, is located about two miles east of the center of town on the west bank of the Chickamauga Creek. The Walker County Regional Heritage and Model Train Museum is housed in the stone train depot building. The museum exhibits Civil War collectibles, Indian artifacts and Cherokee arrowheads, WWI artifacts, antique guns and furniture and a complete working display of Lionel Old Gauge model trains that date back to 1947. The Chickamauga coke ovens are located just north of downtown Chickamauga on Highway 341. The beehive ovens of the Durham Iron and Coal Company were designed to turn coal into coke for use in the Iron and Steel Foundries in nearby Chattanooga Tennessee. The Gordon Lee Mansion was originally the Gordon residence built by Mr. James Gordon who began construction in 1840 and completed in 1847. The mansion and surrounding buildings are now used as a bed and breakfast as well as a restaurant and banquet center. Crawfish Spring, the main water supply for the early settlements, and later the City of Chickamauga in the early-to-mid-20th century, is located on Cove Road just south of the main town and across the road from the Gordon Lee Mansion. The spring is no longer used as a water supply and has been converted into a park setting with picnic tables, a swing, and a gazebo. The Holland-Watson Veteran's Park was dedicated on May 27, 2002. This park is named after two Chickamauga soldiers, Sgt. Eddie H. Holland and Cpl. Thomas A. "Tommy" Watson, who lost their lives during Vietnam. A Huey Helicopter is mounted on a pedestal in the center of the walking track as a symbol of the Vietnam War and those who fought and died for their country.
Chickamauga has a number of annual events that bring the citizens together in celebration. Generally, the most anticipated event is Down Home Days. This celebration is held the first weekend in May and features Concerts, Food, Dance, Parades, and Arts and Crafts Vendors. "War Between the States Day" is held the third weekend in September and features living history demonstrations, parades and Arts and Crafts. Activities during the day include reenactors demonstrating soldier camp life, food from the period and artillery firing. Also, demonstrations of refugee camp life will represent life for area farm families affected by the battle. A final celebration in the year is scheduled during the month of December. Christmas in the Streets is a festival celebrating the holiday season including many Holiday activities such as Parades, Christmas Shopping, Tree Lighting, Choirs, Hand Bells, Live Bands, and Pictures with Santa Claus.
Chickamauga is located at (34.874696, −85.292751).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it is land and 0.55% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,245 people, 899 households, and 644 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,238.8 people per square mile (478.9/km²). There were 951 housing units at an average density of 524.8 per square mile (202.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.35% White, 0.58% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.40% of the population.
There were 899 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,110, and the median income for a family was $46,037. Males had a median income of $31,447 versus $21,776 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,716. About 5.6% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.
- "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.
- Walker County, Georgia, Heritage, 1833-1983 (LaFayette, Ga.: Walker County History Committee and Walker County Historical Society, 1984).
- , The New Georgia Encyclopedia - Chickamauga
- Patrick Abbazia, The Chickamauga Campaign: December 1862-November 1863 (New York: Gallery Books, 1988).
- , James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University
- , National Park Service, The Origin & Evolution of the National Military Park Idea.
- , The New Georgia Encyclopedia - Chickamauga
- , Historic Markers Across Georgia - Crawfish Springs
- , City of Chickamauga
- , Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, Chickamauga Turn
- Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 3, 2010.
- School Stats, Retrieved June 3, 2010.
- Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 3, 2010.
- School Stats, Retrieved June 3, 2010.
- Alternative Education Center
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.