Lumpkin County History
Lumpkin County was officially established in 1832. Named in honor of Wilson Lumpkin, who served in both state houses, as governor, and the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The county was carved out of what were then Cherokee, Hall, and Habersham counties.
Spanish settlers were known to have mined the area in the 1730's before being expelled by English settlers who cut off their supply routes from Florida. In 1828, gold deposits were "discovered" in large amounts in the area, although mining had already been underway in neighboring counties to great extent. Men and materials poured into the area as word of the bountiful supply of gold deposits spread. The Cherokee were soon forced out of the area completely.
A nearby hub nicknamed "Licklog", for the use of salt licks there for cattle soon replaced Auraria, the original center of the "rush". Licklog soon became Dahlonega, the white settlers interpretation of the Cherokee name "Ta-lo-Ne-Ga", meaning (valuable) yellow.
In 1836, the Old Courthouse was built in the center of Dahlonega and is today the oldest public building in North Georgia. In 1836, the U.S. government opened one of the first Federal Branch Mints in Dahlonega. More than $6 million in gold coins were minted at the site that was later to become North Georgia College and State University's Price Memorial Hall (the original mint building was burned to the foundation in 1878). The university was one of the first Federal Land Grant colleges and is to this day one of the premier military institutions in the nation.
From 1828 to 1848, more than $36 million in gold was produced from greater Lumpkin County, but by 1849 discoveries in California and the stories of the riches there, drew away a majority of the miners from the county, seeking fortunes elsewhere. Today the county is experiencing a "gold rush" of another sort, with tourism bolstering the local economy and making the service industry a primary source of local revenue.
Profile of the County
Lumpkin County, resting in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is 285 square miles in area, 44% of which is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest. The population of our county has grown by 44% over the last ten years with the current estimated population to be over 26,000 people. The median household income in Lumpkin County is $35,598, up from $24,365 in 1989.
Our county is a vibrant, growing center of tourism. We attract individuals from all walks of life, many of which decide to make our community their home. Over 85% of Lumpkin County's change in population in the last ten years is a result of people moving into our community. The many factors leading to our phenomenal growth - the local presence of a state university, the appealing character of our surroundings, our thriving tourist industry, and our community's adaptability to commuter living - have created in Lumpkin County a diverse population, well suited to the variety of features our landscape offers within the surrounding hills and meadows. Festivals and fairs such as Gold Rush Days, The Mountain Flower Art Festival, and The Bear on the Square Festival bring thousands of people to our town yearly to enjoy the good hospitality and beautiful surroundings. The close proximity of Lumpkin County to the "hub of the south" has made our community a favorite weekend getaway for residents of Atlanta and the highly developed metro areas.
While tourism remains the center of our economy, agriculture retains a prominent position among our industries. Still, farming is becoming less of an occupation and more of a hobby of those living in our rural areas today. Over 76% of those living in our rural areas are classified as "non-farm occupants". Many of these individuals, almost 43%, travel out of the county to work. Our county is quickly changing.
We are northern neighbors of two of the fastest growing counties in the nation, Forsyth and Dawson, and are experiencing similar trends in growth and economic expansion and development. Citizens are becoming more informed and participating to a higher degree in the planning and decision making process of their government. We want to encourage industrial and commercial expansion while maintaining the character of our small town and the integrity of our natural beauty. Our quality of life must be preserved.
Our county is in the unique position of having the best of what the Blue Ridge Mountains offers - clear rivers and streams, scenic mountain peaks and valleys, peaceful groves and meadows - and advantageous location and access to highly developed thoroughfares of commerce, connecting us to the economic center of the south. Whether for our many natural attractions, our numerous local special events, our shops and markets, or just plain old rest and relaxation in one of our bed a breakfast inns, come to Lumpkin County and see what all the fuss is about...