Rich History of North Georgia: Southern Charm and Fascinating Places

We live in a fast-paced world where everything around us is ever-changing. Where everything is constantly shifting, where can you go to get back to the roots of everything and connect with the past? Discover the rich history of North Georgia.

Our luxurious Helen, Georgia cabins are located in one of the most historic and culture-rich regions in the entire nation. From the Cherokee tribes to the first gold rush on United States soil to Victorian-era lifestyle, the past has been well preserved in northern Georgia so that we can continue to learn and grow as a society.

Why not make it a point to discover our roots and history when visiting the Helen, Georgia, area? There are plenty of fascinating and historical places dotting the area. Whether you are visiting for a weekend or several weeks, you will never run out of things to do and see while visiting us.Oasis Cabin

Below Are Fabulous Places To Start On Your Journey To the Past While In North Georgia

1. Alpine Helen

Even the Alpine village of Helen, GA is laced with history. Throughout the town, you will feel as though you have been transported back in time to old-world Europe.

One of the best times of the year to experience the history of Helen is from mid-September through the end of October during Oktoberfest. This fun celebration of Bavarian lifestyle will allow you to enjoy the rich German culture and tradition through food, drink, dancing, music, and more.

2. Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store

This historic building was established in 1876 and is located right in the heart of Helen itself. This operation gristmill sits next to the Chattahoochee River and is used to stone grind corn and wheat-based products, the likes of which include grits, cornmeal, flour, pancake and waffle mixes, biscuit and bread mixes, etc.

The Nora Mill was originally constructed by John Martin who had come to Georgia in pursuit of gold. While many miners abandoned the area after a time, the Martin family made the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley their permanent home. Mr. Martin ran the mill until 1902 when sold to Dr. Lamartine G. Hardman, the governor of Georgia. It was at this time that the mill was named “Nora Mill” for Hardman’s sister.

Today, the mill is still used to grind fresh grains without the usage of preservatives or any additives providing consumers with old fashioned quality and service. Visitors to the store can enjoy overlooking a great deal of rainbow trout from the Mill’s deck, and can also purchase a number of handmade goods including Jams, mixes for baked goods, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and supplies, syrups, honey, popcorn, cornmeal, porridge, cereal, grits, bath and body products, and so much more.

3. The Crescent Farm Rock Barn

Located near Helen, you will find The Crescent Farm Rock Barn. Constructed in 1906 it is a beloved landmark in Cherokee County and is believed to be the singular rock barn in existence in all of Georgia.

The original barn was rebuilt to replace a wooden barn destroyed in a fire, killing valuable racing horses. The story tells us the constructor and owner of this barn, Augustus Lee Coggins, was responsible for raising mules to sell to allied forces for transporting weapons and troops in Europe during the First World War.

4. The Stovall Mill Covered Bridge

The remarkable Stovall Mill Covered Bridge, constructed in 1895 still stands strong in White County Georgia. This beautiful bridge spans the Chickamauga Creek and features a parking area and picnic area so that you can spend some time soaking in its history.

The bridge is named for Fred Stovall, Sr. who opened the mill complex located here for many years. Though the gristmill, sawmill, and shingle mill are now no longer standing, the bridge and remains of the dam are still evident today and are a popular place to visit for tourists.

5. The Chief Vann House

During the late 1700s, Vann, a Cherokee chieftain found success as a wealthy businessman. To establish and display his prominence in the community, he constructed the largest and most prosperous plantation in all of the Cherokee Nation. This spectacular plantation spanned 1,000 acres of what is today known as Murray County.

This magnificent brick home was completed in 1804 with two and one-half stories and was known as the most elegant in the region. After his tragic murder in 1809, Vann’s son took over the mansion, continuing to lead the Cherokee people and become even wealthier than his father.

Sadly, the vast majority of the Cherokee people’s native to the area were forced to move westward via the Trail of Tears. During this time, the Vann family lost their plantation and home. To this day, the Chief Vann House is Georgia’s most well preserved historic Cherokee Indian home.

This home is the first brick residence constructed in the Cherokee Nation. Many refer to the homestead as “the Showpiece of the Cherokee Nation”.

Visitors to Helen, Georgia can enjoy touring this home and viewing hand carvings, spectacular antiques, and a floating staircase.

6. Traveler’s Rest Historic Site

You and your group can connect with travelers to the northern Georgia region of the past when you visit the Traveler’s Rest Historic Site.

Located near Helen, GA, this stagecoach inn and plantation home was constructed circa 1815. The home was built by James R. Wyly who situated the house along the Unicoi Turnpike, developed to direct traffic over the Appalachian Mountains. Wyly operated the inn until 1833. At this time, he sold the property to his neighbor, Devereaux Jarrett who was known as the “richest man in the Tugaloo Valley.” Under Jarrett’s ownership, the inn was expanded two times and spanned his entire 14,400-acre plantation located along the Tugaloo River.

Traveler’s Rest became recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1965 because of its historical and architectural significance to the region. Visitors to the area are welcome to tour the home and enjoy many original artifacts and furnishings. 

7. Scarlett’s Secret

Although the legendary and beloved tale of “Gone With the Wind” is fictional, it holds a special place in the hearts of those who are fascinated by the Civil War period. Scarlett’s Secret is a magnificent collection of “Gone With the Wind” memorabilia.

The museum is in a large two-story plantation style home nestled in the Nacoochee Valley, not far from Helen, Georgia. Besides Civil War and movie collectibles, the entire house is furnished and decorated in the same style as the period. You will feel like you have truly stepped back in time.

While visiting the museum, you are welcome to sit down and stay a spell to enjoy homemade desserts and tea.

8. Historic Hawkins Street

Located just northwest of the Public Square of Dahlonega, the Hawkins Street Neighborhood is a must-see for all history buffs. This historical area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes a wide variety of homes and structures which have stood proudly along the street since the early 1800s and 1900s.

Featuring homes from historic state representatives and gold prospectors, storefronts, churches, and more, you will be delighted to enjoy the architectural styles of the buildings from yesteryear without traveling far from your cabin. 

9. The Gold Rush & Dahlonega Gold Museum

Most everyone knows about the famous California gold rush that occurred in 1849. However, there was another gold rush right here near Helen, Georgia, happening twenty years earlier!

Gold Rush Sites

One of the best ways to engage in historical activities near our Georgia cabin rentals is to check out all the sites related to the first Gold Rush in America. For starters, you can round up your group and head to Duke’s Creek Gem & Mining Company. Here, a group of experts will show you and your group how to pan for gold and other precious stones while learning about the rich history of the area.

Another fun spot to visit is the Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlonega. This actual pit mine was operational until the 1980s and features a 125-year-old stamp mill that still operates to crush quartzite in search for gold. Along with panning for gold, you can purchase ore or custom jewelry from the gold and gems found onsite.

Also, you will not want to miss out on the Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega. Here you can experience a descent into a former mineshaft, 200 feet underground. Once you complete your exciting 40-minute tour, you can pan for gold.

Gold Museum

The Dahlonega Gold Museum is located inside the Lumpkin County Courthouse and is the oldest courthouse in the entire state of Georgia. Here you will learn about the region’s significance in mining activities and minting United States coin tender. Before closing in 1861, workers in Dahlonega stamped more than six million dollars worth of gold coins. You’ll get to see a real gold nugget weighing more than five ounces! 

10. Marble Valley

When you visit the Old Pickens County Jail and the Kirby-Quinton Mountain Heritage Cabin, maintained by the Marble Valley Historical Society, you go back in time and see how people lived in northern Georgia in the late 1800s.

The cabin is arranged so visitors have an authentic experience of what life was like long ago, with furnished bedrooms, living quarters, and kitchens, equipped with tools and furnishings from the period.

A visit to the jail will give you an idea of how the history of law enforcement has evolved throughout the years.

11. Native American History

The legend of the Sautee-Nacochee Valley is one of tragic beauty and will bring the past to life for yourself and your party. As the story goes, a young Choctaw brave named Sautee fell in love with the daughter of a Cherokee chief. This princess was named Nacoochee, which means “The Evening Star,” and she also fell in love with Sautee even though their tribes were rivals. One evening, the pair fled to elope. Her father and several hundred of his braves hiding on the slope of Mount Yonah found them. The chief ordered his men to throw Sautee off the cliff. However, as soon he was thrown to his death, Nacoochee threw herself after her lover. Together, the pair now lay in rest in the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley.

Regardless of how accurate this Native American tale of a Romeo & Juliette type romance is, the rich history of the Sautee-Nacoochee valley remains. We highly recommend that those who visit Helen, Georgia take the time to visit the Sautee-Nacoochee History Museum to learn all about the Cherokee Indians, the original inhabitants of the area. Also, you can learn about the more recent history of the region, including the first white settlers, war times, and the Gold Rush.

Another exciting piece of history near your cabin rentals is in the Chattahoochee National Forest at the Track Rock Gap Archaeological Area. The 52-acre area contains the most highly preserved petroglyphs which are of Native American origin. Early Cherokee people called this the “Printed Area.” Here you will see the engravings of animal and bird tracks, crosses, and human footprints. 

You may also elect to pay tribute at the grave of a Cherokee princess, Trahlyta. Located just north of Dahlonega on Georgia Route 60, you will find a high pile of rocks and stones in the intersection between Georgia 60 and US 19 marking the grave.

Wrapping Up

Though it is evident that the area surrounding North Georgia is rich in history and culture, some of the attractions in the Helen area (such as the village itself) are simply recreations of structures from an earlier time. Though these replicas are beautiful and charming, you may also enjoy taking time to visit some of the structures that have withstood the sands of time. Through the years, the elements of these fascinating historic structures are still standing strong today.

What Do You Say?

Though there are plenty of fun things to do and see near the Helen cabin rentals, there is no reason to miss enjoying the rich and fascinating history of the area. Which of these structures will you visit first?