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Gateway Cities

Four Gateway Cities are the entry points to the Chieftains Trail, Marietta (South), Rome (West), Dalton (North) and Ellijay (East). You may follow the trail clockwise or counter-clockwise from any city. Our only recommendation would be that if you decide to visit the Chieftains Trail a second time, as many people have done, try doing it in the opposite direction for a change of scenery.


The oldest continually inhabited city in present-day Georgia this Cherokee village was first mentioned in writing in writing in 1731, two years before James Oglethorpe came ashore and founded the city of Savannah. It is recorded in public documents as early as 1755 and William Bartram mentions the city in his "Travels" (1773-1777). Settlers replaced the Cherokee beginning in 1832, finally becoming a city in the state of Georgia after the Cherokee Removal. In the 1880's a railroad boom fed the still small village. When the boll weevil destroyed the cotton crop in the 1920's this area did better than most. It had begun to raise a significant apple crop, commemorated by its yearly Apple Festival.


Founded in 1834, the city grew rapidly thanks to the Western and Atlantic Railroad which ran a block from downtown. During the Civil War it served as a hospital town until the war reached its doors during William Tecumsah Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. After the war the city returned to rapid growth as a milling center thanks to the abundant natural power of its rivers. It also became a railroad hub of sorts, eventually allowing trains to avoid Atlanta. In the 1920s U.S. Highway 41 became a major artery feeding the city, and 50 years later I-75 fueled even more growth. Complete history of Marietta, Georgia


Not many towns can claim as much history as Rome, Georgia. It includes a bloody battle at present-day Myrtle Hill cemetery between the Cherokee and area settlers and the homes of two of the most noted Cherokee leaders (only Major Ridge's home still stands). With the arrival of settlers in the 1830's Rome got down to business. When the railroad bypassed Rome its civic leaders got together and built a spur from the city to the nearest depot (Kingston). Rome's reputation as an industrial city made it a major target of the Atlanta Campaign. After the war Rome became a transportation hub and industrial center. Complete history of Rome, Georgia


Site of numerous Civil War battles, Dalton, Georgia, served as home for the Army of Tennessee during winter of 1863-4. Around the start of the 20th century a cottage industry, quilting, developed in the area around the city. This was transformed through the vision of Catherine Evans Whitener into today's carpet industry. Almost 90% of the functional carpet in the United States is produced within a 50-mile radius of the city.Complete history of Dalton, Georgia


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