Nacoochee: A Valley at the Crossroads
Nacoochee Valley lies in an east-westerly location, below the slopes of Georgia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Majestic Mt. Yonah presides over Nacoochee from the south, and at points the valley is touched by the waters of the Chattahoochee River, Duke’s Creek and Sautee Creek.
The geographic features that make these valleys visually striking helped shape their human history as well.
Nacoochee and Sautee Valleys rest at the intersection of past and present, offering reminders of the evolution of this area and its role as a living crossroads in history.
From the footprints of native peoples, to the changes wrought by white settlements, this region has served as the backdrop for interactions that began thousands of years ago and continue to the present day.
What makes this area an economic crossroads? The junction of the Unicoi Turnpike, now state highway 17, and the Old Rabun Trail, plus the Chattahoochee River and the Sautee Creek.
This made the area extremely accessible to native peoples and white settlers, and encouraged agriculture and later commercial developments.
A gold rush brought settlers to the region by the thousands in the late 1820s. The remaining Cherokee were displaced by white settlements and economic interests. Intensive mining using water cannons to strip topsoil from mountainsides left vast wasteland.
NE Georgia forests lured the timber industry to the region, devastating the environment again in the early twentieth century.