Lumpkin County built its now historic jail in 1884. It features jail cells on the building’s second floor. The sheriff or a deputy lived on the ground floor. The National Register of Historic Places added the building to its list in 1985. Inside, visitors can glimpse the jail’s iron cell doors and scribbles inmates on the cell walls as they passed the time.
The 20th Century Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Oct. 12, 2002. The Memorial was made possible by the efforts of the Veterans Memorial Association of Smyrna.
54 Columns is a collection of 54 columns ranging from 10 to 20 feet tall. It was created in 1999 by Sol LeWitt, a minimalist artist. Known to some as Ghetto Stonehenge, the columns are supposed to resemble the Atlanta skyline. The art project was commissioned by the Fulton County Arts Council. In 2007, the Atlanta City Council designated the 210-acre Freedom Park, which is home to 54 Columns, as an Atlanta Public Art Project. LeWitt’s works can be seen in a number of museums nationwide, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The Connecticut-born LeWitt died in 2007 at the age of 78.
Adairsville, GA 30103
Just south of Adairsville, the raiders stopped to tear up the track, prohibiting their pursuers from continuing the chase in a locomotive. At this point, the pursuers abandoned their second locomotive — the William R. Smith — and continued on foot. Minutes later, they commandeered their third engine. They ran the Texas in reverse for the remainder of the chase. Today, a small museum located in the historic 1847 Western & Atlantic depot interprets the city’s role in the Great Locomotive Chase and features a number of exhibits related to the town’s history.
The Flood Control Act of 1941 and the Flood Control Act 1944 authorized the construction Allatoona Dam, but World War II delayed the start of work. Construction began in 1946, and reservoir started to fill in during December 1949, eventually flooding the town of Allatoona. In January 1950, the dam and power station were operation in January 1950. Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the dam.
After Atlanta fell, Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood began marching toward Nashville, Tenn., hoping to break Sherman’s supply line. Hood attacked at Union troops positioned at a railroad pass southeast of Cartersville. The Battle of Allatoona Pass on Oct. 5, 1864, is among the Civil War’s bloodiest battles, and roughly 1,600 soldiers on both sides died. The railroad has been rerouted, but the battle site now sits on the edge of Lake Allatoona and is part of Red Top Mountain State Park.
The 30-acre garden is home to a number of exhibits, including an edible garden, a rose garden and rare orchid display. In 2010, the Atlanta Botanical Garden opened the Canopy Walk, a 600-foot-long walkway that towers 40 feet above the ground and gives visitors a chance to view a woodland garden from above.
Located in the heart of Atlanta’s trendy Buckhead community, the Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926. The museum, which sits on a 33-acre campus, features six permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits. In addition to the main exhibits, the museum is also home to the historic Swan House, Tullie Smith Farm and Wood Family Cabin. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of Civil War artifacts in the United States.
The Atlanta Monetary Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Midtown provides an interesting look into the history of currency. The museum’s collection includes a nice range of historic bills and coins. That includes $100,000 bills with President Woodrow Wilson and $10,000 bills with O’Hagel printed on them. It also has on display a rare set of coins from the former U.S. Mint in Dahlonega, Ga.
The building that today serves as the Smyrna Welcome Center was once a famous restaurant serving up Southern-themed fare. Isoline Campbell MacKenna opened Aunt Fanny’s Cabin in 1941, turning an 1890s-era cabin into a country store selling food made using the recipes of Fanny Williams, her family’s retired cook. The restaurant, originally located a few miles away from its current location operated until 1994.
Battlefield Park commemorates the Oct. 9, 1779, Battle of Savannah during the Revolutionary War. On that day, an allied force of more than 5,000 French and American troops attacked the 2,500 British soldiers defending the city. It was the second bloodiest battle of the American Revolution, and roughly 800 troops were killed or wounded during the fight. The attack failed, and allied forces retreated from Savannah on Oct. 18, 1779; the city remained under British control until 1782. The city of Savannah purchased the land in 2003, and the park built on the site includes a modern recreation of a redoubt.
The Big Chicken, located along Cobb Parkway in southern Marietta, is a true Atlanta landmark. Motorists reference the 56-foot-tall big chicken when giving directions. Radio stations mention it when describing traffic. Airplane pilots even use it as a landmark for navigation. Today, the Big Chicken is a bit of an anomaly, something unique at a fast food restaurant. Cobb Parkway is a string of urban sprawl, one fast food joint after another. Originally built as more or less a marketing gimmick, the chicken has been embraced by locals and has remained a landmark for more than 45 years. After it was damaged by a storm in 1993, KFC debated whether to rebuild the Big Chicken. The community seemed to be in agreement: The Big Chicken was a local landmark, and it needed to remain; KFC shelled out $700,000 to rehabilitate the restaurant and return the giant bird to working order. Today’s incarnation of this local icon features a moving beak and rotating eyes.
By the 1920s, apples were becoming an important crop in parts of the state, including Cornelia. Because of the crop diversification, Habersham County skirted the devastating effects of the boll weevil’s destruction of the cotton crop. In 1925, Southern Railway donated to the city a monument dedicated to the fruit that helped save their community. The seven-foot- tall, 5,200-pound apple statue was molded in Winchester, Va., and sits atop an eight-foot- tall concrete pedestal next to the train depot. The apple was dedicated on June 4, 1926, and a number of dignitaries, including U.S. Sen. Walter F. George attended the event. By the mid 1930s, the apple crop nearly spelled doom from the city, but the statue remained as a reminder of the city’s past.
The Booth Western Art Museum opened in 2003 and showcases Western art and is said to be the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art nationwide. The 120,000-square foot museum is the second largest art museum in Georgia. It features works by Frederic Remington, Albert Bierstadt, George Caitlin and Charles Russell.
The Casimir Pulaski Monument stands in Monterey Square near the battlefield where Polish nobleman Casimir Pulaski died during the siege of Savannah. Pulaski, along with Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, is considered “the father of the American cavalry.” Workers laid the cornerstone for the monument in either 1825 or 1853, depending on the source. The monument’s inscription reads, “Pulaski, the Heroic Pole, who fell mortally wounded, fighting for American Liberty at the siege of Savannah, October 9, 1779.” On October 29, 1779, Congress passed a resolution that a monument should be dedicated to Pulaski, and the Savannah monument was the first monument in the United States dedicated to Pulaski.
The 21-acre park, today a centerpiece of downtown Atlanta’s tourist district, was built as a central green space and remains a popular place for outdoor events. The park, which helped positively transform downtown Atlanta, is surrounded by some of the city’s biggest tourist destinations, including the Georgia Aquarium and CNN Center.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park preserves the sites of two major battles of the American Civil War: the Battle of Chickamauga and the Chattanooga Campaign.
Opened in 1965, the Clermont Lounge has the distinction as the first and longest continually operating strip club in Atlanta. The establishment is located in the basement of what was once the Clermont Motor Hotel. As Wikipedia notes: “The Clermont is perhaps best known for featuring some dancers who do not meet the traditional physical standards for strippers, the most famous of whom is Blondie, noted for her ability to crush empty beer cans between her breasts as well as for her poetry.”
The College Football Hall of Fame opened in Atlanta in August 2014 in Downtown Atlanta next to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park. The College Football Hall of Fame was previously located in South Bend, Ind. More than 975 players and more than 210 coaches have been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. More than 300 schools are represented. The 94,256-square-foot facility includes exhibits, interactive displays, event space and a 45-yard indoor football field.
The Concord Covered Bridge over Nickajack Creek was built in 1872 to replace an earlier bridge destroyed during the Civil War. The one-lane bridge, also known as Nickajack Creek Covered Bridge, is more than 130 feet long and 16 feet wide and is a part of the Covered Bridge Historic District, so named for the bridge. An earlier bridge was built in the area in 1848, but troops under Union Gen. William T. Sherman burned the span on July 4, 1864. The current bridge was renovated or upgraded in the 1950s and again in 1999. Much of the traffic that used to cross the bridge was diverted to the East-West Connector when it opened in the 1990s. The one-lane bridge has a relatively low clearance, and several times every year motorists driving vehicles too big for the bridge crash into the structure and damage it.
Concord Woolen Mills dates to 1847 when Robert Daniell and Martin Ruff opened the mill. The mill was destroyed on July 4, 1864, by Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops. The two men rebuilt the mill, which reopened in 1868. By 1870, the mill had 16 workers, making it the largest employer in the area. The two men sold the mill in 1872. The mill went out of business in 1916, and the ruins are located along what is today the Heritage Park Trail and Silver Comet Trail.
Along Interstate 75 sits a definite oddity: a Titan missile. The missile, acquired from the Air Force in 1968 after it was declared obsolete, was flown from California to Warner Robins Air Base where it was stored for some time before it was given to the community. Titan I missiles were used between 1959 and 1965 and is considered the country’s first In-tercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The missile in Cordele stands on what has been dubbed Confederate Air Force Pad No. I.
Cooper’s Iron Works is the last remaining remnant of the 19th century town of Etowah. Jacob Stroup established the works in the 1830s, and Mark Anthony Cooper purchased the ironworks in the 1840s. In 1863, cooper sold the iron works to the Confederate States of America in 1863, and federal soldiers on May 22, 1864, destroyed the ironworks and mill, bringing about an end to the city’s livelihood. Following the Civil War, the town never again returned to its antebellum prominence. A smokestack is all that remains of the ironworks.
On March 30, 1842, Crawford W. Long stepped into the history books when he used Ether as a surgical anesthesia. His legacy lives on at the museum that bears his name. The Crawford W. Long Museum in the Jackson County city of Jefferson, about 25 miles from Athens, opened in 1957.
The Crime and Punishment Museum in Ashbury, Ga., opened in August 2003 in a bucolic community of about 4,100 located along Interstate 75. The building — known to many as “Castle Turner” — served as the county jail from about 1907 until 1993. Miles Cribb was the only inmate hanged inside the jail. Today, visitors to the museum can see the trap door that dropped, sending the condemned Cribb to his death. They can also gaze upon the blood-stained collar he was wearing at the time he was executed and see a replica of an electric chair, affectionately nicknamed “Old Sparky.”
Dahlonega, GA 30533
The 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse in downtown Dahlonega, Ga., is home to the Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site. Located on the town square, the courthouse is the oldest surviving courthouse building in the state, serving in that capacity until 1965. The state park is a testament to the first major gold rush in the nation. The museum collection includes exhibits about how gold is mined, tools miners used and actual samples of gold. The building features wooden seats from 1889 and the judge’s chambers.
The Delta Flight Museum was established in 1995 and opened to the public in June 2014. Located in a pair of 1940s era maintenance hangars, the museum is home to historic aircraft, including the Spirit of Delta, Delta’s first Boeing 767. Employees, retirees, and friends purchased the plane and donated it to Delta in 1982.
This solid bronze German Shepherd Dog DOGNY sculpture was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2013. The statue is part an American Kennel Club public art initiative. The project, “DOGNY: America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs,” honors the Canine Search and Rescue dog and handler teams who served following the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.
The Double-Barreled Cannon was the brainchild of Dr. John Gilleland, a dentist from Jackson County, Ga., and a member of Mitchell’s Thunderbolts. Built in 1862 at the Athens Foundry and Machine Works, the Double-Barreled Cannon is today little more than a bookmark in history and a rather unique relic. The cannon was designed to fire two cannonballs connected by a chain so as to “mow down the enemy somewhat as a scythe cuts wheat.” According one account, the cannon was tested on a site along Newton Bridge Road, but since the two barrels did not have the same range, the chain broke in mid-air. According to some sources, one of the cannon balls killed a cow in a field nearby. According to a number of sources, including books and newspaper accounts, the cannon was not used in battle. But, according to a Confederate Veteran article, the cannon was used during a skirmish, but not as originally designed.
The Elberton Granite Museum in Elberton, Ga., opened in 1981. The free museum is dedicated to telling the story of how granite is produced and its impact on Elberton, Ga., is on display. The many exhibits at the museum include artifacts, photographs and whimsical anecdotes. While the tools of the trade show how granite is carved from the earth, a seven-foot-tall granite statue tucked away in a backroom of the museum illustrates a lighter side of the granite industry and how people view the monuments produced.
Located on the north shore of the Etowah River and south of modern-day Cartersville, the mounds were inhabited from 1000 to 1550 by Muskogean Native Americans of the Mississippian culture, so named because the culture originated along the banks of the Mississippi River. Designated a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s, this 54-acre state park includes a museum with artifacts discovered at the site, six mounds the natives built, and a number of other related sites. The now 1,000-year-old Native American town is generally believed to be a city Hernando de Soto visited in 1540 when he was exploring the area. By that time, according to historians, the civilization was in decline and the Etowah Indian Mounds may have been abandoned.
A Coca-Cola syrup salesman named James Couden painted a sign advertising the soda on the side of Young Brothers Pharmacy (known as Young Bros Drug Company at the time). It turns out he made history with his work of art as this was the first Coca-Cola painted wall sign in the world. The pharmacy celebrates the advertisement with a display of Coke memorabilia and collectibles. Interestingly, the Coca-Cola Co. regularly repainted the sign until the late 1970s, but underneath all those paint jobs was the original sign, which was restored in 1989.
James Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica on what is today St. Simons Island in 1736, just three years after he founded Georgia.. The goal of the settlement was to to protect the southern boundary of the British colony of Georgia from the Spanish. At times, more than 600 British troops were stationed at the fort. A visitor to the fort in 1745 described it as “a pretty strong fort of tabby,” noting the structure was “surrounded by a quadrangular rampart, with four bastions of earth well stocked and turned, and a palisade ditch.” During the battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek in 1742, Oglethorpe’s successfully repulsed Spanish attempts to invade St. Simons Island.
Darien, GA 31305
Built in 1721, a dozen years before the first city in Georgia, Savannah, was founded, Fort King George was both the first English settlement on Georgia’s coast and the British Empire’s southernmost outpost in North America. It remained the southernmost settlement until 1736 when Fort Frederica was built on what is today St. Simon’s Island. With the help of historic drawings, the Lower Altamaha Historical Society and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in 1988, a number of the fort’s structures were rebuilt, including the cypress blockhouse. The reconstructed fort is a replica of Barnwell’s original construction. Today, the park highlights the area’s 18th century cultural history, including the Guale Indians, the 17th century Spanish mission Santo Domingo de Talaje, Fort King George and the Scottish colonists. In addition, the state park features information about 19th century sawmilling.
The first European settlers came to the area in the late 1700s and built a series of forts, including Fort Yargo, to protect themselves from the natives. The 260-acre Fort Yargo State Park is home to a long fort was built in 1792 or 1793. The structure may have been built at the request of the Creek Indians who were then at war with the Cherokees. The Creeks likely were the first Indians to arrive in the area of what is now Barrow County and created the village of Snodon in what is now downtown Winder.
When Mark Anthony Cooper found himself $100,000 in debt in 1857 and his company, the Etowah Iron and Manufacturing Co., was about to be auctioned, he turned to his friends for help. With the help of 38 friends, Cooper raised $200,000 and purchased back his company. But, he didn’t forget his friends, and in 1860, after he repaid the debt, Cooper built a monument to thank them. The monument was originally erected on the town square of Etowah where his iron company was located. In 1864, the monument survived the wrath of Union soldiers led by Gen. William T. Sherman. In 1927, as the federal government was poised to create Lake Allatoona, the monument was relocated to nearby Cartersville. Three decades later, the monument was moved to the banks of Lake Allatoona to make room for more parking spaces in downtown Cartersville. In 1999, the monument moved to its current location in downtown Cartersville and the aptly renamed Friendship Plaza.
The Georgia Capitol Museum traces its origins to 1889 when the Georgia General Assembly revived the office of state geologist and directed him “to collect, analyze, and classify specimens of minerals, plants and soils.” The following year, the governor designated the corridors of the fourth floor of the Capitol as temporary quarters to house the museum.
Since first unveiled in March 1980, the Georgia Guidestones have confounded and intrigued tourists. An anonymous benefactor, using the name R.C. Christian, showed up in Elbert County in 1979 to build the monument. According to sources, Christian was working on behalf of an anonymous group. The 19-foot-tall monument, comprised of six granite stones, sits along Georgia Highway 77 on one of the highest tracts of land in Elbert County. The monument, known as “America’s Stonehenge,” was built using granite from Elbertson, the “Granite Capital of the World.”
The Georgia State Railroad Museum is home to more than 40 railroad locomotives and cars and house in the historic Georgia State Railroad Museum roundhouse. The building dates to 1851, but the railroad demolished about half of the roundhouse in 1926 and re-engineered the facility to accommodate larger steam engines. Southern Railway, successor of the Central of Georgia Railroad, closed the facility in 1963 and subsequently started demolishing buildings on the property. The Coastal Heritage Society in 1989 took over management of the facility to preserve the shops for future generations.
Marietta’s own Glover Machine works built locomotive No. 81421 was in 1916. Coulbourn Brothers operated the 2-6-0 narrow gauge steam engine as No. 4. The steamer returned to Glover Machine Works in 1921. It has been displayed in Marietta since 1992.
Along a busy stretch of Windy Hill Road lies a 19th century cemetery, the last vestages of the antebellum residence of Asbury Hargrove. Roughly 20 people are buried in the cemetery. Hargrove was born in 1809 and died in 1879. Between July 6-15, 1864, Brig. Gen. Edward M. McCook used the residence as his headquarters.
Atlanta, GA 30309
The High Museum of Art, the premier art museum in the South, is in the midst of a multi-year partnership with The Museum of Modern Art. Through 2013, the partnership will bring many international exhibitions to Atlanta and past exhibitions have included masterpieces by Claude Monet and Leonardo de Vinci.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Ted Turner co-founded CNN in 1980 and helped transform the way people consume news. The outspoken Turner, who at one time owned the Atlanta Braves, still finds ways to make headlines even though he’s been out of the news business for years. For those interested in how modern newsrooms operate, the 55-minute Inside CNN Atlanta Studio Tour gives a behind the scenes look at what goes in to the making of a newscast watched by 2 billion people globally.
The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, Ga., includes sites related to President Jimmy Carter. The site includes his boyhood farm, his former school and the town railroad depot, which served as his campaign headquarters during the 1976 election. Carter, the 39th President of the United States, was born in 1924 in Plains and still lives in the small town.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park offers the opportunity to connect with an important time in American history and a free outdoor experience. Located between Marietta and Kennesaw, the 2,923-acre national park offers visitors the chance to learn about an important time in history and also enjoy the great outdoors. The national park features 18 miles of walking trails, some rather steep as they approach the top of the mountain. The park features three battlefield areas: one located in front of the Visitor Center, another off Burnt Hickory Road and the main site at Cheatham Hill, which during the Civil War was called the Dead Angle. The visitor center is a logical place to start because it provides an abundance of information about what happened during the battle.
The Marietta City Cemetery, adjacent to Marietta Confederate Cemetery, was established in the 1830s. The city cemetery is the final resting place to a number of the city’s prominent denizens, including S.V. Sanford, the namesake for the University of Georgia’s football stadium. It is also where 13-year-old Mary Phagan was buried after she was killed April 26, 1913.
As the Civil War dragged on, wounded soldiers from the battles that ravaged North Georgia were taken to Marietta to be buried. That continued until Gen. William T. Sherman took control of the city on July 2, 1864. Following the war, Henry Greene Cole, a Marietta businessman and Unionist, offered land to build a cemetery for both Union and Confederate soldiers, but many city residents wouldn’t entertain the proposal of burying battlefield enemies in the same graveyard. So, in 1867, Jane Glover officially gave the land to a memorial association to create the cemetery for Confederate soldiers. Union troops who were killed throughout North Georgia were re-buried in the nearby Marietta National Cemetery. In addition to the more than 3,000 grave sites, the cemetery is home to a number of monuments, including a six-pound cannon that Union troops captured near Savannah. The cannon resided at the Georgia Military Institute for a number of years.
The story of fighting fires in Marietta, Ga., from bucket brigades to pumper and ladder trucks, is on display at the Marietta Fire Museum. One of the highlights of the museum is an 1879 horse-drawn Silsby steamer, which is nicknamed “Aurora.” The unit is said to be one of only five of its kind still in existence. The horse-drawn steamer remained in service until 1921 when it was replaced by an American LaFrance Pumper, also on display in the museum. The pumper is famous for being one of the first motorized fire vehicles in North Georgia. Also on display are a 1929 Seagrave pumper, a 1949 Pirsch ladder truck and a 1952 Chevrolet panel truck. In addition to the fire vehicles, a number of antique helmets, firefighting accessories and a “Wall of Flame” featuring photos of some of the city’s larger fires from over the years are on display.
The Marietta Museum of History is housed in a former cotton warehouse and hotel. It is one of the oldest buildings in Marietta and was where the members of the Andrews Raid before stealing a locomotive in Kennesaw, Ga., on April 12, 1862. The museum offers a series of exhibits dedicated to the city’s history and features memorabilia, including photographs and artifacts.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site consists of several buildings and sites connected to King. They include his boyhood home, the original Ebenezer Baptist Church and Fire Station No. 6. The area includes a total of 35 acres and was designated as a National Historic Site on Oct. 10, 1980. The King Birth Home, located at 501 Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn historic district, was built in 1895 and is located about a block east of Ebenezer Baptist Church. King was born here in 1929, and the King family lived in the house until 1941. Its was later converted into a two-family dwelling. The Rev. A.D. Williams King, the brother of King Jr., lived on the second floor in the 1950s and early 1960s. The visitor center offers free tours of the house led by National Park Service rangers. Fire Station No. 6 was built in 1894 and served the Sweet Auburn community until 1991. The fire station was an important community meeting place. A 1927 American LaFrance fire engine is on display at the museum.
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is located in the eastern Atlanta suburb of Conyers and is often referred to as “Georgia’s Most Remarkable Concrete Building.” The community was started on March 21, 1944, by 21 trappist monks who relocated to land donated by media mogul Henry Luce and the Archdiocese of Atlanta from Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. The Monastery itself was built between 1944 and 1949, the Monastery. A 17,000-square-foot Heritage Center, which opened in 2011, includes information about the history of the Monastery, a bonsai nursery and a café. Visitors looking to take home a piece of the experience need to stop by the gift shop or the bonsai nursery.
The “Murmur Trestle” has for years attracted R.E.M. fans from around the globe. Gracing the back of the band’s 1983 album “Murmur,” the bridge is best known today as the Murmur Trestle. The trestle was built in 1883 and served the Georgia Railroad and later CSX Transportation and was last used in 1998. Athens-Clarke County purchased the trestle in 2000.
Located on 51 acres next to Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia, the Museum of Aviation is the second-largest aerospace museum of the U.S. Air Force and the fourth most visited Department of Defense museum. The museum, which opened in 1984, has four exhibit buildings displaying U.S. Air Force aircraft, missiles, cockpits and other exhibits. The museum is also home to Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.
New Hope Cemetery in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody dates to 1859, though the first known burial dates to May 1887. Many no doubt overlook the cemetery as it is overshadowed by modern developments and urban sprawl. The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 350 people. It was once part of New Hope Presbyterian Church. The last burial in the cemetery was 2014.
Atlanta, GA 30312
Oakland Cemetery was founded in 1850. Among the famous people buried in the cemetery are Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind; Bobby Jones, one of the best golfers to ever play; and William A. Fuller, the conductor who successfully pursued Union spies during the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase.
The Ocmulgee National Monument preserves traces of over ten millennia of Southeastern Native American culture. Natives first came to the area during the Paleo-Indian period hunting Ice Age mammals. While many different cultures occupied this land for thousands of years, the centerpiece of the monument is a series of earthworks built before 1000 CE by the South Appalachian Mississippian culture, a regional variation of the Mississippian culture.
This bell from the former City Exchange dates to 1802 and may be the oldest in Georgia. The bell, imported from Amsterdam, hung in the cupola of the City Exchange from 1804 until the building was razed to make way for the new Savannah City Hall built in 1905. In addition to signalling the closing time for shops, a watchman would also ring the bell in event of a fire and to welcome distinguished visitors to the city. Today, it hands in a replica of the City Exchange, which was erected in 1957.
The old Rockdale County Jail was built in 1897 and was remained in use until 1969. Its exterior walls are three bricks thick, while interior walls are two bricks thick. The floor and ceiling of the second floor are constructed of steel with six inches of concrete above it. The main floor consisted of an office for sheriff and living quarters for his family. Five Rockdale County sheriffs and their families lived in the building between 1897 and 1969. The Rockdale County Historical Society acquired the property in 1975.
The 189-acre Piedmont Park hosted the Piedmont Exposition of 1887 and the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895. Much like Central Park is to New York City, Piedmont Park is a centerpiece greenspace for the city of Atlanta.
The 12,000-acre Red Top Mountain State Park features more than 15 miles of hiking trails. The park, named for for the soil’s rich red color caused by high iron-ore content, is also home to an 1860s homestead. The park also offers nice views of Lake Allatoona.
Rock Hawk Effigy Mound is comprised of thousands of pieces of quartzite. While referred to as a hawk, scholars do not know what type of bird the original builders intended to portray. The mound is one of two such effigy mounds found east of the Mississippi River. Current archaeologists believe Woodland Indians built the site between 1,000 and 3,000 years ago. These Native Americans may have been part of the Adena or Hopewell cultures, or they may have represented a different group.
The Savannah History Museum, housed in the former Central of Georgia Depot, chronicles the history of Savannah from 1733 to modern times. Among the 40,000 artifacts housed in the museum is the bench from the movie Forrest Gump, information about Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts and a steam locomotive from the early 20th century. The railroad used the building until 1972, and the Coastal Heritage Society opened the museum in 1989.
Shoupade Park preserves a rare but essential remnant of the Civil War’s River Line. Confederate Brigadier Gen. Francis Shoup in 1864 built a series of earthen forts shaped like arrowheads large enough to hold 80 soldiers. The fortification, known as “Shoupades,” allowed them to fire shots to the right, left and straight ahead as the enemy approached. Confederate troops wanted the shoupades to stop Union troops from crossing the Chattahoochee River and entering Atlanta. Modern development wiped out most of the Shoupades over the years. However, through an agreement with a developer, the city of Smyrna helped preserve one of the works. A shoupade model is on display at the Smyrna Museum.
The Silver Comet Trail repurposed a former rail line into a popular multi-purpose path. The route dates to the 1890s when a rail line connecting Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. Seaboard Air Line Railroad operated the line and its successor, CSX, abandoned it in 1987. The trail is named for the Silver Comet passenger train, which ran from May 18, 1947, until 1969. The trail starts in Smyrna, Ga., and passes through Paulding and Polk counties and connects with the Chief Ladiga Trail at the Georgia-Alabama border.
According to various sources, Smyrna Methodist Church founded the Smyrna Memorial Cemetery in 1838 near what is today the intersection of Memorial Place and Atlanta Road in the heart of the city. The 170-year-old cemetery lies in the shadows of Smyrna Market Village. The cemetery is home to a number of notable denizens of Smyrna over the years, including John Moore, who served the first mayor of Smyrna when the city was incorporated on Aug. 23, 1872. There are a total of 638 people buried in Smyrna Memorial Cemetery, but only about 238 graves are marked with headstones. The grave of Elijah Fleming, who died on April 8, 1848, is the earliest marked grave in the cemetery. The grave of his daughter, Mary, who died on March 14, 1858, at the age of 17, is the second oldest marked grave in the cemetery. A 1999 archaeological survey located 395 graves that were previously lost to history.
Smyrna, GA 30080
Since it officially opened on April 25, 1999, the Smyrna Museum has dedicated to keeping alive the stories that make the Jonquil City unique — from images of the city’s past to artifacts from important events in history.
Located in a replica of the city’s railroad depot that was build in 1910 and razed in 1959, the museum is home to thousands of photographs, a number of exhibits and other displays, the museum is also home to a number of genealogical research materials.
While admission is free, the museum, which is operated by volunteers, does accept donations.
The 35-acre Southeastern Railway Museum opened in its current location in 1998. The museum, which previously operated on a 12-acre site until 1997, is home to approximately 90 pieces of rolling stock, including locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses. Guests can board a vintage caboose for a ride around the museum’s grounds, which was previously home to a railcar repair facility. The museum has been designated “Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum.”
A Smithsonian Institution affiliate, the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History features collections of rare Civil War weapons, uniforms and other personal items; an exciting exhibit about the Great Locomotive Chase, including the General locomotive; and a full-scale replica of a locomotive factory that helped rebuild the South after the war. The Jolley Education Center features a variety of hands-on exhibits to inspire a love of learning in children. During the sesquicentennial, 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Southern Museum will be hosting numerous events that will explore topics relevant to this tumultuous time in history.
Located in downtown McRae, Ga., is a replica of the Statue of Liberty. The 35-foot-tall McRae version was built by the Lion’s Club of McRae at one-twelfth the size of the original. The statue was built using various materials, including Styrofoam, an electrician lineman’s glove and a stump from a nearby swamp. The Lady Liberty doppelgänger is located in Liberty Square, which is also home to a marble memorial honoring Telfair County residents who died in military service and a replica of the Liberty Bell, which is apparently the the town’s old fire bell was taken down (with a crack in it, of course).
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Make the 1.3 mile trek or ride the sky lift up Stone Mountain. With more than 3,300 acres of natural beauty, a variety of outdoor attractions, entertainment and recreation, Stone Mountain is the most visited attraction in Georgia. Visitors can now climb to new heights on Sky Hike, a quarter of a mile course that allows visitors to trek through the treetops by mastering wooden bridges, balancing on a single rope suspended in the air and climbing to the top of vertical net bridges.
Trahlyta was a Cherokee who lived in the North Georgia Mountains near what is today Dahlonega. According to legend, she drank from a nearby Fountain of Youth to maintain her renowned beauty. A warrior named Wahsega courted her, bus she rejected him. Upset by this, Wahsega kidnapped and imprisoned Trahlyta. Longing to see her home again, Trahlyta eventually died. Her last wish was to be buried in the mountain forests near her home. Today. a five-foot-tall pile of stones marks her grave. According to the historical marker at the site of her supposed grave, “custom arose among the Indians and later the Whites to drop stones, one for each passerby, on her grave for good fortune.” Highway department workers apparently twice tried to move the pile of rocks as part of road projects. But, both times at least one person was killed in the process.
Taylor-Brawner Park sits on what was once the Brawner Hospital complex. Following a 2005 Parks Bond, the city of Smyrna removed dilapidated buildings and developed a 10-acre park, which today includes a gazebo, two picnic pavilions, walking trail, amphitheater, playground, and open space. The park is also home to a pair of historic buildings: Brawner Hall and the Taylor-Brawner House.
Opened in January 2009, Tellus is home to one of only two digital planetariums in Georgia. The 120,000-square-foot museum also includes Science in Motion, a journey through the development of motorized transportation. Tellus replaced the Weinman Mineral Museum, a 9,000-square-foot museum.
Athens, Ga., was once home to Navy Corps Supply School, which was located in the city’s Normaltown neighborhood from Jan. 15, 1954, until 2011. In 1990, as a tribute to the school, the Athens community placed a 4,000 pound, haze gray anchor in the median of Broad Street. The anchor for a destroyer ship was apparently donated because its bent shaft left it unusable for naval purposes.
The Dillard House is perhaps best-known for its seemingly endless southern cuisine and hospitality. Formerly a boarding house, the restaurant touts itself as one of the original farm-to-table restaurants in Georgia. The Dillard House continues to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner family-style daily. Its cuisine is adapted from recipes handed down from Dillard family members and chefs. Family owned and operated, The Dillard House offers 90 hotel rooms, four cottages and 20 rental cabins at Chalet Village.
Atlanta, GA 30313
The largest aquarium in the world is home to tens of thousands of marine animals. More than 10 million visitors have passed through the aquarium since it opened in November 2005. Highlights include great hammerhead sharks, four beluga whales and four whale sharks, which call a 6.3 million gallon tank home. In 2011, the aquarium launched a daily Dolphin Tales show.
The Old Rock Gaol in downtown Greensboro was built about 1807 after the Superior Court of Greene County recommended a substantial jail be built. The jail, patterned after European bastilles, was built with using granite from a local quarry. With walls that are two feet thick, the jail has the distinction of being the oldest standing masonry jail in Georgia. The jail was used until 1895. Open by appointment, visitors can see where executions by hanging took place. Hangings were legal in Georgia from 1735 to 1924.
Located at the intersection of Finley and Dearing streets in Athens, Ga., The Tree that Owns Itself is an oak tree that has been willed to itself. As the story goes, in about 1890, UGA Professor William H. Jackson willed the oak tree and the land that surrounds it to the tree to protect it in perpetuity. While the original tree fell during a windstorm on Oct. 9, 1942, the oak that today stands at Finley and Dearing streets is actually an offspring of the original and is known as the Son of The Tree that Owns Itself. It was planted on Oct. 9, 1946, by the Junior Ladies Garden Club in the exact same spot.
Tunnel Hill, GA 30755
Crews building the Western & Atlantic Railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tenn., faced a number of natural obstacles. None, however, were as foreboding as Chetoogeta Mountain. What workers built was a 1,477-foot-long engineering phenomenon that has stood the test of time. Work on the tunnel started on July 15, 1848, and the first train rolled through the tunnel on May 9, 1850. The railroad actually started rail service between Atlanta and Chattanooga in the 1840s. The tunnel remained in service until 1928 when a new tunnel opened a few feet away to accommodate larger trains. For years, the older tunnel sat unused, and eventually fell into disrepair.
Ty Cobb has a tough legacy, to say the least. He is one of the greatest players to ever take the field. He holds the all-time career batting average record with a .366 average, and he was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as part of the inaugural class. The Ty Cobb Museum in his hometown of Royston, Ga., puts Cobb in an interesting light. The museum helps tell the story of Cobb and how he helped shape his home town, an impact that is felt even today.
George Washington sent a pair of bronze six-pounder cannons to Savannah after he visited the city in 1791 as part of his so-called “Southern Tour” following his inauguration. Affectionately called “George” and “Martha” after the nation’s first president and his wife, the guns — one British and one French — were given to the Chatham Artillery. In 1825, there was a push to send the guns to Augusta, but they remained in Savannah. According to one account, the guns were buried in 1861 uncovered in 1872.
The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum chronicles the Jewish experience and the universal themes of diversity and human dignity. The museum, which opened in 1996, collects and preserves Jewish culture and history through permanent exhibitions like the Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years, 1933-1945. The exhibit was designed by local architect and Holocaust survivor Ben Hirsch. The Cuba Family Archives also houses the largest repository of Jewish archival material in the region.
The William Root House Museum & Garden showcases what life was like for a middle-class Georgia family during the 1860s. Hannah and William Root built the simple frame house circa 1845. William Root an early merchant in Marietta, and the first druggist in town. The structure was more typical of houses in the south than the grand plantations and columned mansions.
The Woodstock, Georgia, community unveiled the Woodstock Memorial in May 2009. The memorial, located in The Park at City Center in the heart of the city, consists of 10 tons of polished granite and is dedicated to local veterans. The monument, designed by Robert Young, reads, “To the men and women of Woodstock, Georgia who served in the armed forces of our country preserving our freedom and our way of life Erected in their honor.”
The World Athletes Monument, located at Pershing Point in Midtown Atlanta, is also known as the Prince Charles Monument. The four-story-tall monument features five bronze statues holding up a globe and standing atop a limestone base. The Prince of Wales gave the statue to the city as a gift to commemorate the games. Over the years, the monument has served as a gathering place for Atlantans commemorating major national or international events, including the 1997 death of the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana.
Atlanta, GA 30313
Pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886. The original World of Coca-Cola opened in Atlanta in 1991, but was upgraded in its current location near Centennial Olympic Park in May 2007. The 35,000-square-foot exhibition features the largest collection of Coke memorabilia, a 4-D theater and a bottling operation that produces eight ounce commemorative bottles for guests.
Turner County, nicknamed The Peanut Capital of the World, is home to a Golden Peanut Co. shelling plant and The World’s Largest Peanut. The 20-foot-tall monument, built atop a crown on a brick base, was made the official peanut monument of the state in 1998. The slogan painted on the side of the monument reads: Georgia 1st in Peanuts. The monument, located along Interstate 75, is dedicated to Nora Lawrence Smith, a member of Georgia Journalism Hall of Fame.
Atlanta, GA 30315
Zoo Atlanta was founded in 1889, when businessman George V. Gress purchased a bankrupt traveling circus and donated the animals to the city of Atlanta. City leaders opted to house the collection in Grant Park, where the zoo remains to this day. The zoo’s original animals included a black bear, a jaguar, a hyena, a gazelle, a Mexican hog, lionesses, monkeys and camels. Today, Zoo Atlanta features more than 40 exhibits that are home to 800 animals from 200 species. Highlights include a five-acre African Plains and The Asian Forest that is home to the zoo’s giant pandas.