Benjamin Parks discovered gold here while deer hunting in 1828 and his find led to the first major gold rush in the United States. Dahlonega, a boomtown when Atlanta was a just a village, was built on top of these large, rich deposits of gold. In fact, the Cherokee word for this area was “Ta-lo-ne-ga,” meaning the color yellow.
The lore of the Gold Rush era is an important part of the history of Dahlonega and the state of Georgia. The Dahlonega Courthouse Gold Museum preserves this rich mining history. Even its bricks are traced with gold. There are several local attractions, such as Consolidated Mine, Gold Miner’s Camp and Crisson Gold Mine, which offer a glimpse of how it used to be through daily tours. Area waterfalls are another abundant source of natural beauty in and around Dahlonega. Cane Creek Falls, Etowah River Rapids, Black Falls on the Upper Etowah River, Upper and Lower DeSoto Falls, Upper Falls on Little Ridge Creek and Falls on Branch of Cow Rock Creek, are just a few of the beautiful natural waterfalls open to the public.
Annual festivals are also an integral part of Dahlonega’s rich culture heritage. Each year, the city hosts the Dahlonega Bluegrass Festival, the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, the Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration and many more. Since Lumpkin County is known as the center of “Georgia Wine Country,” visitors can also tour several nearby wineries and vineyards or have a taste of local wines at the Dahlonega Tasting Room downtown. In addition, Dahlonega is home to North Georgia College & State University, one of six senior military colleges in the United States.
The North Georgia Mountains provide a wonderful landscape for a challenging golf course. The Nicklaus Golf Club at Birch River is a classic, semi-private course satisfactory to all skill levels from beginner to the most advanced golfer. The Gold Creek Golf Club course is also semi-private and is located only 12 miles outside of Dahlonega. In town, Dahlonega residents enjoy a rich musical heritage, which is continued at the Folkways Center of the Georgia Mountains, the Holly Theatre and the Crimson Moon, Dahlonega’s premier acoustic music venue.
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