Dahlonega, Georgia
Overview
 
Dahlonega is a city in Lumpkin County
Lumpkin County, Georgia
Lumpkin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 29,966. Its county seat is Dahlonega.- History :...

, Georgia, United States, and is its county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 5,242.

Dahlonega is located at the north end of Georgia 400, which connects Atlanta to many affluent suburbs to the north. It is consistently named as a best place to retire by many different publications due to its low cost of living, vibrant activities, continuing education for seniors, festivals, and beautiful setting.

In 1828 Dahlonega was the site of the first major gold rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

 in the United States.
Encyclopedia
Dahlonega is a city in Lumpkin County
Lumpkin County, Georgia
Lumpkin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 29,966. Its county seat is Dahlonega.- History :...

, Georgia, United States, and is its county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 5,242.

Dahlonega is located at the north end of Georgia 400, which connects Atlanta to many affluent suburbs to the north. It is consistently named as a best place to retire by many different publications due to its low cost of living, vibrant activities, continuing education for seniors, festivals, and beautiful setting.

In 1828 Dahlonega was the site of the first major gold rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

 in the United States. The Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site
Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site
The Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site is a Georgia state historic site located in Dahlonega that commemorates America's first gold rush and the mining history of Lumpkin County. The museum is housed in the historic 1836 Lumpkin county courthouse, which is located in the center of the town square,...

 sits in the middle of the town square
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

, housed in the old Lumpkin County Courthouse built in 1836. From its steps in 1849, Dahlonega Mint
Dahlonega Mint
The Dahlonega Mint was a branch of the United States Mint. It was located at 34°31.8′N 83°59.2′W at Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Coins produced at the Dahlonega Mint bear the "D" mint mark. That mint mark is used today by the Denver Mint, which opened many years after the Dahlonega Mint...

 assay
Assay
An assay is a procedure in molecular biology for testing or measuring the activity of a drug or biochemical in an organism or organic sample. A quantitative assay may also measure the amount of a substance in a sample. Bioassays and immunoassays are among the many varieties of specialized...

or Dr. M. F. Stephenson
M. F. Stephenson
M. F. Stephenson , whose full name was Dr. Matthew Fleming Stephenson, was born in Virginia. On February 25, 1836, he married Sarah Elizabeth Sumter Lyon. He was considered a Georgia geology and mineral expert, although there is no record of him receiving any formal education in the field of...

 tried to persuade miners to stay in Dahlonega instead of joining the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

, saying, "There's gold in them thar hills."
Corey Smith
Corey Smith (musician)
Corey Smith is a country/rock/blues singer and guitarist.-Background:Growing up in Jackson County allowed Corey Smith to visit the college town of Athens, Georgia regularly. Smith originally attended Gainesville State College, before transferring to the University of West Georgia for his now wife...

 wrote a song about the town of Dahlonega. It is the first track on his second album "In the Mood."

History

This area was occupied by indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 for thousands of years before European contact. When European American settlers arrived, it was the traditional territory of the historical Cherokee nation
Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century, and includes people descended from members of the old Cherokee Nation who relocated voluntarily from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokees who...

.

In 1828, Dahlonega became the site of the first major gold rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

 in the USA and became a boom town in the Georgia Gold Rush
Georgia Gold Rush
The Georgia Gold Rush was the second significant gold rush in the United States. It started in 1828 in the present day Lumpkin County near county seat Dahlonega, and soon spread through the North Georgia mountains, following the Georgia Gold Belt. By the early 1840s, gold became harder to find...

. The United States Mint
United States Mint
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

 built a branch mint
Branch mint
-United States:The original and main Mint of the United States Mint, has been located in Philadelphia , since 1793. Its current facility, Philadelphia's fourth, opened in 1969.U.S...

 here, which it operated from 1838–1861. The Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 Treasury Department took over the facility after the declaration of secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 and operated it until 1 June 1861. Dahlonega, GA was home to many Creeks and Cherokees and still is today. There are a few Creek and Cherokee descendents in Dahlonega, GA today, though they are not in communities but scattered throughout Dahlonega. Most of the descendents are Creek-Cherokee mixed. Names like Corn, Davis, and Bird and the Chambers Families were of Cherokee blood. Surnames like Limley and Cagle were of Creek and Seminole blood. Though not part of state or federal recognition they still practice their traditions as Cherokee and Creek people. The word Dahlonega originally spelled Da-lo-ni-ge-i means Yellow.

Numerous gold mines
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 were illegally developed in the area. Miners coming illegally into the Cherokee Nation as outlined in the treaty between the Federal Government and the Cherokee Nation in The Treaty of Washington 1819 to the area came into conflict with the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 Nation, whose territory they were trespassing on. They raised political pressure against the Cherokee because they wanted to get the gold. The Federal Government forced the Native Americans west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 on the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830...

 during Indian Removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

. Dahlonega was founded two years before the Treaty of New Echota 1835, which made its founding a violation of The Treaty of Washington of 1819.

In 1833 the city was named Talonega by the Georgia General Assembly on 21 December 1833. The name was changed from Talonega by the Georgia General Assembly on 25 December 1837 to Dahlonega, from the Cherokee-language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 word Dalonige, meaning "yellow" or "gold." The city is just east of Auraria
Auraria, Georgia
Auraria is a town in Lumpkin County, Georgia, United States, southwest of Dahlonega. Its name derives from aurum, the Latin word for gold. In its early days, it was also known variously as Dean, Deans, Nuckollsville, and Scuffle Town.-History:In 1828, a man walked Findley Ridge, kicked a rock,...

; each claims to be the site of the first discovery of gold. Senator John Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 (7th Vice President of the United States) owned the Calhoun Mine
Calhoun Mine
The Calhoun Mine is perhaps the oldest and best known mine in Lumpkin County, Georgia. When gold was discovered in Lumpkin County in 1828, which lead to the Georgia Gold Rush in 1829, it was discovered on owned by Robert Obar. After at least two intermediary sales, the land was purchased by...

, just south of the City Square.
The Dahlonega Mint
Dahlonega Mint
The Dahlonega Mint was a branch of the United States Mint. It was located at 34°31.8′N 83°59.2′W at Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Coins produced at the Dahlonega Mint bear the "D" mint mark. That mint mark is used today by the Denver Mint, which opened many years after the Dahlonega Mint...

, like the one established in 1838 in Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

, only minted gold coins, in denominations of $1.00, $2.50 (quarter eagle
Quarter Eagle
The quarter eagle was a coin issued by the United States with a denomination of two hundred and fifty cents, or two dollars and fifty cents. It was given its name in the Coinage Act of 1792, as a derivation from the US ten-dollar eagle coin...

), $3.00 (1854 only) and $5.00 (half eagle
Half Eagle
The Half Eagle is a United States coin that was produced for circulation from 1795 to 1929 and in commemorative and bullion coins since the 1980s. Composed almost entirely of gold, it has a face value of five dollars...

). This was cost effective in consideration of the economics, time, and risk of shipping gold to the main mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Dahlonega Mint was a small operation, usually accounting for only a small fraction of the gold coinage minted annually in the US.

The government decided against re-opening the facility after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. By then, the U.S. government had established a mint in San Francisco, California. Given the large amount of gold discovered in California from the late 1840s on, that mint handled the national needs of gold mint production.

As a result, surviving Dahlonega coinage is today highly prized in American numismatics
Numismatics
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

. The mint building burned in 1878. The North Georgia College
North Georgia College and State University
North Georgia College & State University is a four-year public university located in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Founded as North Georgia Agricultural College in 1873, it is the second oldest co-educational institution in the state. The university is renowned for its ROTC program, and is...

 campus built Price Memorial Hall on its foundation. The building has a gold-leaf steeple to refer to the history of the site.

In recent years, Dahlonega and Lumpkin County have been recognized as "the heart of Georgia Wine Country." The county features five vineyards and wineries that attract many tourists.

The historic Dahlonega Square is also a popular tourist destination, with gift shops, restaurants, art galleries and artists' studios. The city's local festivals draw many tourists. "Bear on the Square", an annual three-day festival held the third weekend in April, marks the day that a black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

 wandered onto the square. It features bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

 and old-time music. It celebrates the culture of the Southern Appalachians with a juried artists' market and other activities. "Gold Rush Days", an annual two-day event the third weekend in October, attract over 200,000 people.

Historical marker

Located at 384 Mountain Drive, WPA
Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects...

 Historical Marker 19 B-7 explains:


This court house, built in 1836, replaced the small structure
Log cabin
A log cabin is a house built from logs. It is a fairly simple type of log house. A distinction should be drawn between the traditional meanings of "log cabin" and "log house." Historically most "Log cabins" were a simple one- or 1½-story structures, somewhat impermanent, and less finished or less...

 used since the establishment of Lumpkin County in 1832. The town was named Dahlonega in October, 1833, for the Cherokee word Talonega meaning "golden."

From its steps in 1849, Dr. M.F. Stephenson, assayer [sic] at the Mint, attempted to dissuade Georgia miners from leaving to join the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

. His oration gave rise to the sayings: "There's millions in it," and "Thar's gold in them thar hills."

Geography

Dahlonega is located at 34°32′N 83°59′W (34.5305, −83.9847).

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (16.6 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,638 people, 1,060 households, and 568 families residing in the city. The population density was 568.1 people per square mile (219.5/km²). There were 1,181 housing units at an average density of 184.4 per square mile (71.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.94% White, 4.95% African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 2.56% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 1.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.57% of the population.

There were 1,060 households out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.4% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 13.5% under the age of 18, 42.9% from 18 to 24, 19.0% from 25 to 44, 13.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 73.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 69.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,636, and the median income for a family was $44,904. Males had a median income of $30,500 versus $22,917 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,572. About 11.4% of families and 24.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those age 65 or over.

Lumpkin County School District

The Lumpkin County School District
Lumpkin County School District
The Lumpkin County School District is a public school district in Lumpkin County, Georgia, USA, based in Dahlonega, Georgia. It serves the communities of Auraria and Dahlonega, Georgia.-Schools:...

 holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 215 full-time teachers and over 3,511 students.
  • Lumpkin County Elementary School
  • Long Branch Elementary School
  • Blackburn Elementary School
  • Lumpkin County Middle School
  • Lumpkin County High School

Higher education

Dahlonega is home to North Georgia College and State University
North Georgia College and State University
North Georgia College & State University is a four-year public university located in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Founded as North Georgia Agricultural College in 1873, it is the second oldest co-educational institution in the state. The university is renowned for its ROTC program, and is...

, the Senior Military College
Senior Military College
In the United States, a Senior Military College is one of six colleges that offer military Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs and are specifically recognized under 10 USC 2111a...

 of Georgia. The campus has a building, Price Hall, topped with a spire
Spire
A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, particularly a church tower. Etymologically, the word is derived from the Old English word spir, meaning a sprout, shoot, or stalk of grass....

, which is covered with gold leaf
Gold leaf
right|thumb|250px|[[Burnishing]] gold leaf with an [[agate]] stone tool, during the water gilding processGold leaf is gold that has been hammered into extremely thin sheets and is often used for gilding. Gold leaf is available in a wide variety of karats and shades...

 from the town. The rotunda
Rotunda (architecture)
A rotunda is any building with a circular ground plan, sometimes covered by a dome. It can also refer to a round room within a building . The Pantheon in Rome is a famous rotunda. A Band Rotunda is a circular bandstand, usually with a dome...

 dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 of the Georgia State Capitol
Georgia State Capitol
The Georgia State Capitol, in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, is an architecturally and historically significant building. It has been named a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the main office building of Georgia's government...

 in Atlanta is also covered with Dahlonega gold.

Other educational facilities

  • Wahsega 4-H Center, an environmental education center and summer camp owned by the University of Georgia
    University of Georgia
    The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

     and administered through the UGA Cooperative Extension Service Georgia 4-H
    Georgia 4-H
    Georgia 4-H was founded in 1904 by G.C. Adams in Newton County, Georgia, USA, as the Girls Canning, and Boys Corn Clubs.The Georgia 4-H Program is a branch of Georgia Cooperative Extension, which is part of the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and is funded...

     program
  • Camp Glisson, a year-round retreat camp owned by the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
    United Methodist Church
    The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...


Famous residents

  • Amy Ray
    Amy Ray
    Amy Elizabeth Ray is an American singer-songwriter and member of the contemporary folk duo Indigo Girls. She also pursues a solo career and has released four albums under her own name, and founded a record company, Daemon Records....

    , Indigo Girls
    Indigo Girls
    The Indigo Girls are an American folk rock music duo, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. They met in elementary school and began performing together as high school students in Decatur, Georgia, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area...

     singer and song-writer
  • Max Burns, Former United States House of Representatives
    United States House of Representatives
    The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

     Member
  • Sara Christian
    Sara Christian
    Sara Christian was the first woman driver in NASCAR history. Her fifth place finish at Pittsburgh reigned as the highest female finish from 1949 until 2011, when Danica Patrick finished fourth.-1949:...

    , NASCAR
    NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

     first female driver
  • John Bell
    John Bell (musician)
    John Farmer Bell is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the American rock band Widespread Panic, where he is known for his raspy southern drawl that hits a variety of octaves. He is frequently called JB by fans...

    , Widespread Panic
    Widespread Panic
    Widespread Panic is an American rock band from Athens, Georgia. The current lineup includes guitarist/singer John Bell, bassist Dave Schools, drummer Todd Nance, percussionist Domingo "Sunny" Ortiz, keyboardist John "JoJo" Hermann, and guitarist Jimmy Herring...

     lead singer and guitarist
  • Zac Brown, Zac Brown Band
    Zac Brown Band
    Zac Brown Band is an American country music, southern rock, and folk band based in Atlanta, Georgia. The lineup consists of Zac Brown , Jimmy De Martini , John Driskell Hopkins , Coy Bowles , Chris Fryar and Clay Cook...

     lead singer
  • Dallas Kinney
    Dallas Kinney
    Dallas Kinney, born in 1937 in Buckeye, Iowa is a world renowned photo journalist who won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize in photography for his photographs of Florida migrant workers...

    , Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

    winning photographer.

Further reading

  • "Gold-Mining in Georgia." Harper's New Monthly Magazine 59, Issue 352 (September 1879): 517–519. Available here
  • I Remember Dahlonega: Memories of Growing Up in Lumpkin County, by Anne Dismukes Amerson (Chestatee Publishing: 1993)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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