The City of Calhoun is the county seat of Gordon County and it is located about 70 miles north of Atlanta. According to the U.S. Census in 2000, Calhoun had a population of 10,667 and a total land area of 11.7 square miles. Calhoun was originally the site of New Echota, the capital of the Native American Cherokee Indian Nation until the Cherokee Indians were expelled from North Georgia on the Trail of Tears in 1839.
After the State of Georgia appropriated the Cherokee Indian’s land, it was arbitrarily carved into counties and Gordon County was created in 1850. At about the same time, small town previously named Oothcaloga decided to change its name to Calhoun in honor of South Carolina’s Senator John C. Calhoun, who was a vociferous champion of state’s rights over federal rights. The City of Calhoun was incorporated in 1852 and it grew until March 20, 1888, when a tornado destroyed many of the buildings. Just as the citizens were beginning to rebuild their city, a fire swept through it on October 23rd of that same year and destroyed most of the remaining buildings.
The burgeoning bedspread industry in Dalton that developed during the 1930’s helped many people in Calhoun earn a living through the Great Depression and when Dalton’s bedspread industry converted to carpeting after World War II, the economy in Calhoun began to improve. But economic growth in North Georgia stagnated until after World War II when many of the state highways were completed. Development increased during the latter half of the 20th century and Calhoun evolved into a thriving city that features a friendly, small town ambiance and a relaxed lifestyle.
The most historic place in Calhoun is the New Echota Historic Site, which was created as a Georgia State Park and opened to the public in 1962. The New Echota Historic Site is listed as a National Historic Landmark because it contains 12 original and reconstructed Native American Indian buildings including the Council House, the Court House, and the Print Shop where the first Indian language newspaper was published. The New Echota Historic Site also contains a store that was built in 1805, Missionary Samuel Worcester’s home, a smoke house, corn cribs and barns. At the Visitor’s Center, people can watch a 17 minute educational film and purchase authentic Native American Indian arts and crafts.
Real estate in Calhoun
Calhoun is located about 10 miles south of Dalton, which contains over 150 carpet manufacturing plants and approximately 100 carpet outlet stores. Many people who work in Dalton live in Calhoun because housing prices are less expensive while the quality of living is comparable to Dalton. The estimated median home value in Calhoun was $143,918 in 2007, having appreciated from $93,400 in 2000. The cost of living index in Calhoun is relatively low at 83.1 and the average population density is 1,246 people per square mile.
Many homes in Calhoun were built between 1950 and 1970. But during the 1990’s, commercial development at South Industrial Park, Calhoun North Industrial Park and Calhoun-Gordon County Industrial Park stimulated more new residential development so Calhoun contains a blend of older and newer homes. Homes and properties in Calhoun are situated in beautiful rural areas. Single family detached homes in Calhoun range in price from under $100,000 to $200,000 for a 2 or 3 bedroom home on ¼ to ½ acre of land.
Hotels in Calhoun include Americas Best Inns, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Jameson Inn, Quality Inn and Ramada Limited. There are 4 shopping centers in Calhoun containing food stores and general merchandise stores, and Prime Outlets is the largest outlet mall in northwest Georgia with more than 60 name brand shopping boutiques. Restaurants in Calhoun feature classic American cuisine and Southern barbecue. Local favorites include the Echota Smokehouse and B.J.’s Restaurant, both of which specialize in home style country cuisine.
The cultural center of Calhoun is the Harris Arts Center at 212 South Wall Street. Home to the Calhoun Gordon Arts Council, the Harris Arts Center features original works of art by local artists. Other community organizations such as the Calhoun Community Chorus and the Calhoun Little Theatre also utilize the Harris Arts Center. The Calhoun Little Theatre presents a series of dramatic performances and musicals throughout the year that are very popular.
The largest public park in Calhoun is Salacoa Creek Park on Highway 156. Open from March through October, Salacoa Creek Park contains a 125 acre lake with facilities for swimming, camping, fishing and boating. One of the more interesting historic houses in Calhoun is named Oakleigh and it was used by General William Tecumseh Sherman as a headquarters during the Civil War. The Antebellum style Oakleigh house is home to the Gordon County Historical Society and it contains a collection of approximately 1,500 dolls.
About 10 miles northeast of Calhoun, Carters Lake is the deepest lake in Georgia and it offers a wide variety of opportunities for entertainment and relaxation. With 62 miles of shoreline and 3,200 acres of lake area, Carters Lake has facilities for fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking and mountain biking. There are also some restricted areas for hunting with a license. Houseboats, pontoon boats and lakeside cabins are available for rent from Carter’s Lake Marina.