This is a special place. The fertile and well-watered
valleys at the intersections of the Chattahoochee River,
Dukes Creek and Sautee Creek held immense beauty in the
deep past and still do today. Beginning roughly 2000 years
ago, a relatively large population of Native Americans
chose to live in these valleys surrounded by forested hills
and abundant wildlife. The Nacoochee Mound, an iconic
landmark set in what they called the Valley of the Evening
Star is now visible near the intersection of Georgia
Highways 17 and 75. The mound was a central feature of
their community, and it remains central to ours today.
In the early 1800s, small groups of white settlers came
here following ancient trails along the eastern side of the
Appalachian Mountains. In 1822, two larger groups that
included as many as 60 families arrived from the North
Carolina counties of Buncombe, Rutherford, and Burke.
They brought the skills, tools, materials, livestock (and
slaves) to form an almost self-sustaining, plantation-like
community. The names of these early settlers are still
names of people one sees and meets here today.
These tours reveal both ancient and modern stories of
Sautee Nacoochee. Two millennia of Native American life
were followed by two centuries of rapid changepeople
growing food, mining gold, lumbering the great trees,
enduring slavery, the Civil War, reviving agricultural wealth,
weathering the Great Depression and more war, and lately,
developing tourism. Railroads, automobiles, telephones
and tourism have changed how life is lived here, but what
has not changed is the deep sense of a community that
treasures its people and the rich, beautiful land.