|Motto: "Georgia alpine village"|
Location in White County and the state of Georgia
|• Total||2.1 sq mi (5.5 km2)|
|• Land||2.1 sq mi (5.5 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,447 ft (441 m)|
|• Density||204.8/sq mi (78.2/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0331948|
Formerly a logging town that was in decline, the city resurrected itself by becoming a replica of a Bavarian alpine town, in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. This design is mandated through zoning first adopted in 1969, so that the classic south-German style is present on every building, even the small number of national franchisees present (such as Huddle House and Wendy's). Because of this, tourism is the main industry in Helen, catering mostly to weekend visitors from the Atlanta area and also, motorcyclists, who enjoy riding the beautiful roads of Helen and its surrounding areas during all seasons. Helen is extremely crowded in late October, when autumn leaves typically peak. It also hosts its own Oktoberfest during September, October and November. There are many events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most well-known is the annual hot-air balloon race, which is held the first weekend in June each year. Helen, Georgia has been and continues to be recognized nation-wide as a recreational vacation spot where families spend time together and strong parent/child bonds are formed.
The main road through town is north/south Georgia 75. The Helen stream gauge (HDCG1) is located on its bridge over the Chattahoochee in the middle of downtown. A parallel route to the west is labeled Georgia 75 Alt to identify it as a bypass route around the town, and its massive traffic jams in the fall and on some other weekends. Unicoi State Park and Lodge, spanning 1,050 acres, is located immediately northeast of Helen on Georgia 356. Unicoi State Park encompasses Unicoi Lake, a 53-acre freshwater lake, that offers numerous outdoor activities for all seasons. Among them are a swimming beach, trout streams, wheelchair-accessible fishing docks, seasonal canoe, kayak and paddle boat rentals, seven picnic shelters complete with charcoal grills, three playgrounds for children, many spots for birding, 7.5 miles of hiking within the park (with adjacent trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest), 8 miles of mountain biking trails within the park, and plenty of places to enjoy the natural beauty of the lake and park. Unicoi State Park also offers lodging in several forms. The Lodge at Unicoi State Parks boasts 100 modern guest rooms with wireless internet, a conference center, a restaurant featuring a nightly mountain trout buffet (a local favorite), a lodge gift shop featuring quilts and other locally-made crafts, and four lit tennis courts. Other lodging at the park includes 30 cottages (some are dog-friendly), 82 Tent/Trailer/RV Campsites, 33 Walk-In Campsites, and 16 "Squirrel's Nest" Camping Shelters (covered shelters with a nearby bathhouse, grills, picnic tables and firepit). Access to Anna Ruby Falls, part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, is located through the park.
In 1975, DOCUMERICA photographer Al Stephenson documented life, recreation and the economy of the Helen area before and during the construction of Alpine Village. These photos are available at the Wikimedia Commons site for Helen (see External Links below).
In 2005, significant damage occurred in parts of Helen on August 30 when Hurricane Katrina spawned a tornado in the area. The northward-moving tornado went through the edge of town, but did strike the EconoLodge motel, and brushed the Unicoi Lodge (behind building B) at the park.
Helen is located at (34.702396, -83.727508).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 430 people, 208 households, and 112 families residing in the city. The population density was 203.8 people per square mile (78.7/km²). There were 319 housing units at an average density of 151.2 per square mile (58.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.56% White, 5.12% African American, 0.23% Native American, 10.93% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 0.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.02% of the population.
There were 208 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.0% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% were non-families. 42.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 28.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,917, and the median income for a family was $40,781. Males had a median income of $39,107 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,281. About 6.7% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.1% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
- Alpine Public Schools are part of the White County School District. The White County School District has four elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools.
- Dr. Jeffrey Wilson is the Superintendent of Schools. The district has 233 full-time teachers and over 3,758 students.
- "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.
- "Unicoi State Park and Lodge". Georgia State Parks. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Helen, GA - Fussen, Bavaria, FRD - Sister City Monuments on". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
- "White County School District". White County School District. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
- School Stats, Retrieved June 30, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Helen, Georgia.|
- Official website
- Helen Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race & Festival