The City of Ringgold is located in Catoosa County only 3 miles south of Georgia’s border with Tennessee. According to the U.S. Census in 2000, Ringgold had a population of 2,422 and a total land area of 3.9 square miles. Often referred to as the Marriage Capital of the South, Ringgold is renowned for short waiting times after blood tests, wedding packages from marriage chapels, and clocks inscribed with “I got married in Ringgold, Ga.” The country singers George Jones and Tammy Wynette were married in Ringgold, and so were Dolly Parton and her husband, Carl Dean, who was born in Ringgold.
Prior to European settlement, the entire region of North Georgia was inhabited by Native American Cherokee Indians. In 1803, the Cherokees allowed the U.S. federal government to build a highway through their lands from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Savannah, Georgia, and the highway was finished in 1805. A small community called Cross Roads developed at a crossroads in the federal highway and it was incorporated as Ringgold in 1847. Ringgold was named after Major Sam Ringgold, a hero from the Battle of Palo Alto in 1846, which was the first major battle of the Mexican-American War. Major Sam Ringgold was credited with inventing the Flying Artillery tactic in which batteries of light artillery were used to attack opposing forces and then quickly moved to another location to attack again.
The most historic building in Ringgold is the Ringgold Depot, which was constructed in 1849 by the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Built of stone, the Ringgold Depot is one of the few Antebellum style railroad depots in Georgia and at the time that it was built, Ringgold was larger than Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ringgold was the first town to be burned by General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army on his infamous march to Atlanta and the Ringgold Depot was damaged by cannonball bombardment. But it was restored and it is now home to the Ringgold Visitor’s Center.
During the Civil War, the Battle of Ringgold Gap occurred on November 27, 1863. Using the historic Ringgold Depot as a command post, General Patrick Cleburne’s 4,100-man Confederate force defeated General Hooker’s 12,000-man army, and this important Confederate victory stalled the advance of the Union Army during the winter of 1863. The Battle of Ringgold Gap Confederate Park is located on Highway 41 in Ringgold and the Ringgold Gap Civil War Festival is celebrated annually in October.
Real estate in Ringgold
Ringgold is conveniently situated along Interstate 75 about 10 miles from both Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Dalton, GA, where 150 carpet manufacturing plants are located. Many people who work in either Chattanooga or Dalton live in Ringgold because home prices are low when compared to other parts of North Georgia. The estimated median home value in Ringgold was only $140,560 in 2007, having appreciated from $89,500 in 2000.
Homes and properties in Ringgold are located in beautiful rural areas. The cost of living index in Ringgold is relatively low at 86.3 and the average population density is only 705 people per square mile. Typical ranch style 3 bedroom single family homes on ½ acre of land in Ringgold are available in the $100,000 to $150,000 price range.
Hotels in Ringgold include the Best Western Hamilton Inn, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Home Town Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Red Roof Inn and a Super 8 Motel. For shopping needs, the Town and Country Shopping Center contains an eclectic mix of stores and Ringgold also has four general merchandise discount stores. Several restaurants in Ringgold serve fast foods and classic American cuisine.
Ringgold’s residents are fortunate to be able to enjoy the Jack Mattox Recreation Park, a 55 acre recreation complex that has 7 lighted ball fields, a walking track and two fishing ponds. During the summer, the Martha Denton Swimming Pool is open to the public and family passes are available. Creek Walk is open all year round and it connects Ringgold’s Highway Commercial District to the Historic Downtown District. People can enjoy a relaxing stroll on Creek Walk along Chickamauga Creek, cross over the Old Federal Bridge and explore historic downtown Ringgold.
The Whitman Anderson House is an historic site in Ringgold that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1858, the Whitman Anderson House at 309 Tennessee Street was privately owned and it features many authentic antiques. The house was taken and used as a headquarters during the Battle of Ringgold Gap by General Sherman and then later used again by General Ulysses S. Grant.
Prater’s Mill is another historic site located about 5 miles east of Ringgold that dates back to 1855. Built with slave labor, the historic grist mill beside Cohulla Creek offers visitors the opportunity to view a slice of North Georgia’s history. While at the site, visitors can enjoy fishing in the creek or hiking along a scenic nature trail. From May to October each year, Prater’s Mill also hosts the Prater’s Mill Country Fair featuring local arts, crafts and musical performances.