In 2014-2015, the iconic stone fire lookout tower constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps camp 468 (SP-6) was restored by the state as part of the interpretive plan at Fort Mountain State Park. The tower was used until the early 1960s when it was replaced by a steel tower on a nearby mountain. In 1971, the cupola burned and the tower fell into disrepair.
As you make your way up the short but vigorous trail to the top of Fort Mountain you will encounter scattered rocks of varying sizes. It helps you aunderstand the availability of material that lead to the construction of the rock wall the mountain is known for.
It has an otherworldly feel and I found it as fascinating on a recent trip as I did when I visited as a child.
Located near the summit of Fort Mountain, the rock wall which gives the mountain its name remains a mystery. Its origin has been attributed to everyone from Hernando de Soto to the Cherokee. The de Soto connection has long been disproved but the specific use by the Cherokee is still being researched. Some believe it was ceremonial while others consider it territorial.
The drive up Georgia Highway 2/52 to Fort Mountain State Park affords several breathtaking overlooks of the Cohutta Wilderness, the largest such area designated in Georgia. This southwestern chain of the Appalachians is striking for its natural beauty.
James Vann (1765, or 1768-1809) was the son of a Cherokee mother, Wa-wli, and Scottish father, Clement Vann. By 1800 he became a principal leader of the Cherokee, due to his wealth and influence as a tavern keeper and trading post operator. This home, completed in 1804, served as the seat of his 1000+ acre plantation. Diaries of Moravian missionaries at Spring Place indicate that Byhan and Martin Schneider were instrumental in the construction of the home. Sometimes described as a “hard drinking business man”, Vann nonetheless encouraged cultural and educational opportunities for the Cherokee, largely through his assistance in the establishment of the Moravian mission and school at Spring Place. Vann was murdered in 1809, presumably as retaliation for killing his brother-in-law in a duel the previous year. His son Joseph later inherited the house, which in 1819, hosted President James Monroe who was traveling from Augusta to Nashville
The Chief Vann House, as it’s commonly known, is a state historic site today, but beware, it has very limited hours and is closed during part of the year.
Located on the corner of East Market Street and North 2nd Avenue across from the Wright Hotel, the old Cohutta Bank Building is one of the nicest intact commercial structures in downtown Chatsworth. It was most recently home to the Murray County Arts Guild. It is presently available for sale or lease.
Chatsworth Downtown Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
The Wright Hotel was one of the first in Chatsworth. It was owned by Thomas and Laura Wright, who also lived on the property. After Mrs. Wright’s death in 1948, the hotel was leased to Lester Quarles and later the Keeter family. Its name was changed to the Chatsworth Hotel during this time. One of the Wright’s daughters, Kate Raine, returned to Chatsworth in 1969 and continued in the business begun by her parents many years earlier. The Whitfield-Murray Historical Society inherited the property upon Mrs. Raine’s death in 1986.
The Dennis community which grew up around this historic gristmill was one of the earliest settlements in this section of Northwest Georgia. It was named for Dennis Johnson, who was an early mill operator and postmaster. One of the grindstones indicates that it may have been originally known as Cohutta Mills but this is unclear. Electrified in the 1940s, the mill operated on a limited basis until the 1950s. The original structure survives and is the centerpiece of a property that today includes two wonderful rental cabins on the banks of Rock Creek, known as Dennis Mill Cabins and Events.