OCTOBER 21, 2017
DALTON RED CARPET HALF MARATHON
History of Dalton
Woodland Indians and Creek Nation held the area of present-day Dalton, Georgia until the mid 18th century, when the Cherokee pushed the Creek to the west and south. The Cherokee Indians called the mountains of north Georgia their “Enchanted Land” until their forced removal in 1838, in a tragedy known today as the Trail of Tears.
By the time the last Cherokees had left, work was underway for a railroad, the Western and Atlantic, to join the Tennessee River with the Chattahoochee River. In 1847, the newly renamed railway was defined as a mile radius from the city center – the Western and Atlantic Depot. The final segment of this pivotal railway was completed in Tunnel Hill, Whitfield County, Ga. in 1850. A second railroad, the East Tennessee and Georgia was completed in 1852.
With the invention of the automobile, a cottage industry arose in the homes along “Peacock Alley”, U.S. Highway 41. Running from Copper Harbor, Michigan, to Miami Beach, Florida, the route ran on paved state roads. It was designated in 1925 and signed in 1926. Women would sell quilts to drivers along this popular north-south route. From this early origin, the carpet tufting industry grew in Dalton. Today, Carpet Mills remain major area employers.
During the Civil War, Dalton saw its first action during the Great Locomotive Chase, on April 12, 1862. More than a year later, on September 19–20, 1863, massive Union and Confederate forces battled a few miles west of Dalton at Chickamauga, and later at Chattanooga. The war came to Whitfield County in the spring of 1864. The battle of Rocky Face Ridge and Dug Gap began on May 7, 1864, and ended when General Johnston completed his withdrawal from Dalton on May 12. The last campaign of the Confederacy, John Bell Hood’s Nashville Campaign attacked a Union blockhouse in Tilton before passing through Dalton and heading west. The U.S. government recently declared Dalton and Whitfield County to have more intact Civil War artifacts than any other place in the country. Also of interest is the site of the historic Western & Atlantic Railroad Station; one of the few still standing and restored to its original architectural state, this site is now the Dalton Depot Restaurant. The steel center marker for the original surveying of the City of Dalton is still inside the depot.