The City of Canton is the county seat of Cherokee County and it is located about 40 miles north of Atlanta near Lake Allatoona. According to the U.S. Census in 2000, Canton had a population of 7,709 and a total land area of 14.3 square miles. By 2004, Canton’s population had increased to 15,094 and in 2007 the population was estimated to be 21,464. During this 7 year time period, Canton became the 5th fastest growing city in the United States and the fastest growing city in Georgia.

Ever since Cherokee County was created in 1832, Canton has been the most important commercial, educational and social center in the county. Canton was originally incorporated as a town named Etowah in 1833 when it was made the county seat but after a local silk production company became successful in 1834, the name was changed to Canton in honor of Canton, China, where most of the world’s silk was produced. During the late 1870’s, the Marietta and North Georgia railroad constructed railroad tracks from Atlanta that allowed passengers to easily reach Canton and the city became a popular summer resort. Along with most of North Georgia, Canton suffered through the economic depression of the 1930’s but it emerged in the second half of the 20th century with a strong economic base.

Canton is only 4 miles from the northeast side of Lake Allatoona. Lake Allatoona is 12,010 acres in size, 11 miles long, and it has 270 miles of shoreline. It was created in 1950 after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed Allatoona Dam to restrict the Etowah River. Red Top Mountain State Park is located on a peninsula of Lake Allatoona and it is the most popular tourist destination in the region surrounding Canton. The 1,562-acre Red Top Mountain State Park contains swimming areas, fishing areas, tennis courts, 12 miles of adventurous hiking trails, boat ramps and docks. Visitors can either bring their own boats or rent boats from Park Marine.

In partnership with the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, the City of Canton created another 411 acre lake with the Hickory Log Creek Dam Project that was completed in 2007. The new lake provides 44 million gallons of drinking water and is another source of public recreation. In addition to the lake’s 15 miles of shoreline, the recreation area contains 25 acres of parkland with picnic areas.

Real estate in Canton

The estimated median home value in Canton was $154,741 in 2007, having appreciated from $104,700 in 2000. The cost of living index in Canton is relatively low at 91.5 and the average population density is 1505 people per square mile. The real estate market in Canton is characterized by master planned developments with modern condominiums and townhouses. Canton contains 38 residential subdivisions. Some master planned communities are oriented around championship golf courses and others feature horseback riding trails and stables for the use of residents.

Typical 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom single family homes in Canton range in price between $110,000 and $175,000. Condominiums and townhouses in master planned communities range in price from $125,000 to $400,000. There is also a significant amount of undeveloped land that is already zoned for development in Canton, and 5-10 acre lots are often available for sale.

Lodging, shopping, dining and entertainment

Hotels in Canton include Comfort Inn, two different Days Inns, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn. Red Top Mountain State Park has 92 tent and RV campsites, 18 fully equipped cottages, and a Lodge that rents 18 separate 2-bedroom cottages with fully equipped kitchens. Lake Allatoona has more than 1,000 secluded tent and RV campsites along its shoreline, plus numerous areas for picnicking, fishing, boating, waterskiing and swimming.

Downtown Canton contains many restaurants and cafes and because of its historic architecture, it is a picturesque place to leisurely stroll and shop. The Antique Village Mall is Canton’s largest antique mall and it features more than 50 antique dealers with an excellent selection of antiques, collectibles and valuable memorabilia. Restaurants in Canton primarily feature Southern barbecue and classic American cuisine. The Winchester Woodfire Grill offers aged steaks cooked over a hickory fire and provides live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Operated by Canton’s Downtown Developmental Authority, the Canton Theatre provides a wide range of theatrical productions and Broadway musicals during their season from April to September. The Canton Theatre is an historic building that was constructed in 1913 and its renovation was part of the city’s overall plan to revitalize and redevelop the central business district. The Canton Theatre’s renovation and operation is the Downtown Developmental Authority’s largest and most successful development project.

Another historic location in Canton is the Crescent Farm Historical Center at 658 Marietta Highway. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Crescent Farm Historical Center contains the 400 acre Crescent Farm with its original farm house. The Crescent Farm Historical Center also contains the Rock Barn, which is the only existing barn in Georgia that was built with stones instead of wood.