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Region is steeped in blue and gray Civil War history
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The state boasts many large, historic parks in close proximity
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Civil War city
In textbooks, Chickamauga marks one of the biggest Civil War battles in Georgia and bloodiest of the war.
Today, the Battle of Chickamauga has been preserved in 8,000 acres of a national park, called Chattanooga-Chickamauga National Military Park.
Within the city limits of nearby Chickamauga, history lives on with an antebellum mansion, old mills and streets named after Confederate and Union generals. But it also offers a charming southern experience with unique shops and landmarks.
• The Lee and Gordon’s Mills operation, a grist mill once owned by U.S. Rep. Gordon Lee, was restored to its original state and working order.
• The mill, used by both Confederate and Union troops in the Civil War, sat dormant from 1967 to 1995.
• Frank Pierce spent six years restoring the mill that now features a fully operational grinder and other machinery from its 1836 origin.
• Located on Red Belt Road, Lee and Gordon’s is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
• Also visit the Gordon-Lee Mansion, former home of Lee, restored to its original antebellum charm. Tours are offered every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Source: City of Chickamauga
• Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park offers a unique look into North Georgia’s history.
• With a seven-mile self-guided auto tour, the park features more than 1,400 monuments and historical markers along where the fighting took place.
• Hiking trails and horse trails 5 to 14 miles long are mapped along the park. A biking trial stretches along the road.
• The park, which was officially dedicated in 1895, is open from sunrise to sunset. Its official address is in Fort Oglethorpe at 3370 LaFayette Road.
• The battlefield’s visitors center, open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., has more than 300 examples of military long arms from the Fuller Gun Collection.
Source: National Park Service
• A chocolate lover’s paradise awaits at Chocolate Therapy in downtown Chickamauga.
• Peanut butter fudge, chocolate bark, cashew brittle, chocolate chip cookies, Mississippi mud pie and chocolate cobbler are a few of owner Sandi Townley’s specialties.
• Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., this unique deli at 105 Gordon St. offers lunch specials to go with a feast of desserts.
• Bring friends or co-workers to share dessert samples of a plethora of sizes from individual therapy to group therapy to family therapy size plates.
Source: Chocolate Therapy
From coal to coke
• The Chickamauga coke ovens, once designed to turn coal into a hotter form of fuel called coke, have been restored to their original appearance.
• The ovens in the shape of a beehive were created by the Durham Iron and Coal Co. to create coke for use in Chattanooga’s iron and steel foundries.
• In the late 1990s, the ovens — located north of downtown Chickamauga on Georgia Highway 341— were restored and wetland ponds added to the area.
• The park now includes many of the ovens along with train cars and is free to see with no specific hours of operation.
• Each year in September the ovens are transformed into an arts and crafts festival held along with the War Between the States Day, a re-enactment refuge camp-themed festival.
Source: City of Chickamauga
Cherished by Cherokees
• Population: 3,101
• Biggest employers: Shaw Industries, Crystal Springs Printworks
• Number of miles from downtown Chattanooga: 15
• Landmarks or geographic features: Crawfish Spring, West Chickamauga Creek, coke ovens
• Date founded: Incorporated 1891
• Historic info: The town began as a large plantation in the mid-1800s. It was the home of the Cherokee Nation until the Trail of Tears forced them out. The city was named after the Tsikamagi tribe of the Cherokee Nation.
• Most famous resident: Former U.S. Rep. Gordon Lee
• Unique traditions: Down Home Days, first weekend in May; War Between the States Day, third week in September; Christmas in the streets, Saturdays in December.
Source: Chickamauga City Manager’s office