|Cherokee County and the state of Georgia|
|• Total||1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)|
|• Land||1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,109 ft (338 m)|
|• Density||410.7/sq mi (162.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0333342|
The first white settlement in the Waleska area began in the early 1830s. Among these first pioneer settlers were the Reinhardt, Heard and Rhyne families, who moved into the region looking for fresh, fertile farm land. At first, these settlers lived among the Cherokee population already established in the area, but by 1838 all of the Cherokee had been forced westward to Oklahoma in the U.S. Government relocation movement known as the Trail of Tears.
Early settler Lewis W. Reinhardt established a church in 1834 in the settlement known as Reinhardt Chapel and befriended many of the native Cherokee population. When the Trail of Tears forced the movement of Warluskee, the daughter of a local Cherokee Chief and friend of Reinhardt’s, westward, he named this settlement in her honor.
By the early 1850s, the Sharp family had moved into the area from Walhalla, South Carolina. In 1856, John J. A. Sharp and his brother, White Sharp, opened a store, cotton gin, and tobacco factory in Waleska. A post office was soon added to their store, officially putting "Walesca," as it was known originally, on the map. This spelling, however, was subsequently changed to the current “Waleska” in order to prevent confusion with another town that was already established at the time.
In 1883, son of Waleska founder, former Civil War Captain and Atlanta lawyer Augustus M. Reinhardt, along with his brother-in-law, former Civil War Lieutenant-Colonel John J. A. Sharp, founded Reinhardt Academy in Waleska for the impoverished children of Cherokee County. This school eventually became Reinhardt University.
Even though Waleska had been settled by white pioneers and farmers for well over 50 years, it wasn’t until 1889 that the city was officially incorporated by the State of Georgia
While industry in Waleska’s past has included tobacco farming, manufacturing, some mineral development, lumbering, and agriculture, which are both still active in the area, the chief “industry” of the town is and has always been Reinhardt University. Waleska has become almost exclusively known as a college town.
Waleska is located at .(34.317968, -84.552951)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), of which, 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) of it is land and 0.68% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 616 people, 107 households, and 78 families residing in the city. The population density was 422.7 people per square mile (162.9/km²). There were 114 housing units at an average density of 78.2 per square mile (30.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.96% White, 3.90% African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.30% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 0.81% from other races, and 4.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.60% of the population.
There were 107 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 10.7% under the age of 18, 58.4% from 18 to 24, 14.0% from 25 to 44, 11.9% from 45 to 64, and 5.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 77.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,071, and the median income for a family was $51,250. Males had a median income of $36,500 versus $33,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,126. About 5.5% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over.
Waleska, which is just 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta and a hour and 30 minutes southeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee by car, is the home of Reinhardt University. Founded in 1883, Reinhardt offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and is affiliated with The United Methodist Church. In addition to this main campus, the school has an off-campus site, Reinhardt University's North Fulton Center, located in Alpharetta, Georgia, and offers select programs of study in Cartersville, Georgia and Canton, Ga., as well as online courses.
- "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.
- History of Reinhardt College by Bowling C. Yates, 1969, [Marietta?], Ga.: n.p.
- City of Waleska Web site http://www.cityofwaleska.com/history.htm
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- City of Waleska website
- Cherokee County Democratic Party
- Cherokee County Republican Party
- Libertarian Party of Cherokee & Pickens Counties
- Reinhardt University's Web site