Local News

July 14, 2013

Fort Mountain State Park celebrates 75 years

As Fort Mountain State Park celebrates 75 years of existence this weekend, visitors and park personnel alike are looking forward to one of its oldest relics being restored.

The old fire tower, which has been closed for several years and is in disrepair, will get a makeover to return it close to its original state when it was built in the 1930s, officials said.

Ellijay resident Marjorie Bailey Anderson, whose father, Arnold Bailey, was on a Civilian Conservation Corps team that worked to build the park, came for Saturday’s festivities, which included old-fashioned kids games and relays, hiking, wagon rides and a birthday cake in the park’s honor among other events.

Arnold Bailey, Anderson said, was the foreman who led the team working on the stone fire tower that was once used as a lookout post for sentries to spot outbreaks. Park officials said a $150,000 state grant will go toward refurbishing the tower, restoring it very close to its original design with a wooden structure on top and stairs.

“It should look almost the same,” said Rich Boldon, an interpretive ranger for the park.

The project is expected to begin late this year and finish by early to mid-2014.

Anderson said her father used whatever tools he had on the job to shape a heart out of a piece of rock in honor of his sweetheart, Margaret Reece. He implanted the rock in the tower. Bailey stayed in the CCC only a year or so because the men who enlisted had to be single, and he was set on marrying Margaret.

He fulfilled that dream soon after, and their marriage lasted 59 years until his death in 1994. Whenever he told the story of the heart of stone, Anderson recalled, he would explain that he was “young and in love and thought he could do anything.”

Derek Gray, assistant park manager, said the park was built by men who were often part of the CCC because they were hungry and needed work. The men, between 18 and 25, lived a somewhat military-style life and were required to send the majority of their earnings to their families. Many of them gained weight on the job because they were able to be fully nourished, Gray said.

Gray said Ivan Allen Jr., who was an Atlanta mayor in the 1960s, donated the property to create Fort Mountain State Park earlier in his life during a time when there was a national push to expand public park systems. The CCC units that worked on roads, the tower and other infrastructure for Fort Mountain State Park were Camp 447 from Chatsworth and Camp 488 from Ellijay, he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local congressmen agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014