Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spring Water Memories

Remembering the late 1960s and early '70s, people in Murray County and round about still loved to take a gallon jug and dip water out of a clear spring. There were several springs in Murray and surrounding counties. Our family often went to Ringgold, in Catoosa County, and while there, we would get several gallons of water from the spring. It was so clear and cold. There were periwinkles in the spring (tiny freshwater mollusks with black spiral shells), and we children loved to find them and play with them. Mother would scold if we got too close to the source. She made us go further downstream so as not to play in the drinking water. We also picked watercress, which we loved to eat (mixed with garden lettuce and spring onions, pouring bacon grease over them in those naive glory days of good eating).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Remembering the Old Mill

It's hard to remember my first glimpse of Cohutta Springs (the old community). My father and his people were from Murray County. About once a year or so, around Thanksgiving, we would travel into Murray on our way up to Conasauga, Tennessee, to see Dad's uncle and cousins. They lived in an old unpainted house ~ one of those picturesque primitive cabins, complete with outhouses, that people like to recall in their travels through the South. On our way up there, Dad would stop by the old house where his grandfather used to live. It was in the old Adair community and is falling down now. We also went to see the old Coffey grist mill in the Cohutta Springs community. We had to cross a little flat bridge that was made of thick, wooden beams. The outside of the mill was shingled in thick wooden slabs that I thought very pretty. The bridge was still strong and the mill seemed like it would be there forever, I thought. A few years later, we visited it for the last time. It was dilapidated by then, and boards were already starting to fall into the creek.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cohutta Springs History

Cohutta Springs History tells the story of a small, historical community in Murray County, Georgia. Cohutta Springs was once famous for its many mineral springs. The history of the little community dates back to the time of the Cherokee Nation. In fact the place name itself derived from the Cherokee. The word "Cohutta" derived from the sound of a Cherokee name, similar to "ga-hut-yi" or "gahuti," as it was pronounced. It was the word for poles of a shed, and referred to the nearby mountains ~ the poles of the shed that held up the sky. Come along as we explore Cohutta Springs and other old communities of Murray County...

The Other Cohutta Springs

Cohutta Springs is on old maps in several places. The "other" Cohutta Springs is west of the one we've talked about. It's in the Tenth District, Third Section of Murray County, on Georgia Highway 225, and is better known as "Colvard's." The place name of Cohutta Springs came about because there were several mineral springs. Their source was the nearby Cohutta Mountains. The springs became popular as watering places. Boarding houses and resorts sprang up in the area. Little towns began to be named for the springs. Post offices opened and closed nearby. As one or the other area became frequented by residents and tourists, the place names began to appear on maps. The main part of this site explores the Cohutta Springs resort area that sits right at the foot of Grassy Mountain (just off of U.S. Highway 411 in Crandall, Georgia). The other Cohutta Springs (or Colvard's) is in the northwestern part of Murray County, on Georgia Highway 225. Old Doc Colvard once owned a plantation there. The antebellum plantation (privately owned) still sits at the crossroads there. The wellspring is gone. Earlier owners of the plantation were Waterhouse and McCroskey. It was never famous, but it was mentioned here and there in Civil War correspondence. That area was more prominent in census (because of the early post office there), so genealogists will do well to take a look at it. We'll explore that "other" Cohutta Springs as we travel through Murray County's history. To get a better idea of these various areas, take a look at our Maps page.

Area Businesses

Businesses in the Cohutta Springs area include some farms, a greenhouse, and a conference center. The ones that come to mind right away are: Cohutta Springs Conference Center, a retreat center owned by the Georgia Cumberland Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. The Conference Center is in Crandall, Georgia. Its owner, the GCC, is headquartered in Calhoun, Georgia. The Conference Center is available for church, business, school, and family retreats. (These should be planned in advance, of course). There's a working farm in the area. It is Holcomb's farm, I believe (I'll get more information and clarify this, as soon as possible). Another business is Cohutta Springs Greenhouse. There used to be a winery, but it may not be there anymore. The building is still there. There is a post office (Crandall, Georgia) and a nearby convenience store. Fairy Baptist Church is about a mile north of Cohutta Springs Road on the main highway (US 411). Fairy is the placename of another little community that used to be a town. There are cemeteries and other places of interest nearby ~ these will be explored further in the blog at large. The Cohutta Springs area is about four miles north of Eton, Georgia; seven miles north of Chatsworth, Georgia; and twenty or so miles east (northeast) of Dalton, Georgia. It's about a thirty-minute drive south from Cleveland, Tennessee. Maps (old and new) are available on the map section of this site. As I find out more specifics on the businesses in the area, I'll add and update information and links.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When Did It Begin?

Cohutta Springs was on the map as early as about 1840. In fact, on some maps of that era, Cohutta Springs appears twice. That's because the community itself was a well-known watering place. People came from miles around to enjoy the mineral waters of the springs. Later, a post office was established a few miles away, leading mapmakers to put the place name there, as well. It grew from its quiet beginnings. Lifestyles change, though. Farming gave way to other things, and grist mills fell out of use. The little watering place was too well hidden, and the hotels moved a little closer to the main road.

About Us

About Us: We are history buffs, really. Our website is a history project. We wanted to tell people something about the community of Cohutta Springs. Although the community is not a town, as defined by the State of Georgia, it is important in the history of Georgia, and is important now as a location. Cohutta Springs has been a residential community for as long as people have been in the area. At one time it was a little town. Now the place name appears only on local maps as a community. Most of the businesses and residents there now use the postal address of Crandall, Georgia. A few have Chatsworth or Eton mailing addresses.

Cohutta Springs History website is written and edited by a North Georgia artist and website editor. Contact information will be provided shortly. Meanwhile, you can read more about me here: All of My Blogs.
The site does have a link to my profile page.

Creative Commons License

This site was begun in June of 2012. It is protected under a Creative Commons Sharealike license. Please copy portions of it sparingly, in the spirit of fair use (as decreed under U.S. copyright laws). You must provide a link-back to Cohutta Springs History.

Our Last Visit to the Old Coffey Mill

In the early 1980s, my father took me to see the old Coffey mill at Cohutta Springs for the last time. We drove slowly across the old wood-beam bridge that had seen better days, and we climbed up into the big empty room of the mill. By then, it was becoming dilapidated. Some of the huge floor beams had given way and fallen in the creek. You could look down between the remaining floor boards and see running water ~ a thing that caused me to tremble just slightly as I looked down into the wide, empty space that was left, and saw the creek water splashing on the rocks, way down down below us. We enjoyed visiting the old mill, but we were sad, too. Sad that it had fallen into decline, that it wouldn't last much longer. Now I drive past the spot where the old mill stood, I think of that day ~ and earlier visits to the old mill, and still feel a little sad.


My sister, early 1980s, at the old Coffey mill at Cohutta Springs in Murray County, Georgia. The mill had seen better days. From this angle, it doesn't look so high, but it sat high above the creek, and you could see the water between the broken floor beams.


Our Own Chitchen Itza

It may seem strange to devote a blog to a little town that no longer really exists. What is left of Cohutta Springs (the old historic town) now belongs to the Chattahoochee National Forest. Its fascination, for me, is partly just the nostalgia of old chimneys and ruins. I can't get enough of looking at the chimneys and moss-covered walls, and wondering how a little town could just disappear into the forest. It's as if I'd found my own private little Chichen Itza or ancient Temple of Ankhor. Old Cohutta Springs is less ancient, and its roots less a mystery ~ it was a watering place, a place where mountain resorts sprang up, a place where pharmacists bottled mineral waters to peddle in cities. It lies equally forgotten, though. It's as close as I have to ancient ruins in my own backyard, and I enjoy going there sometimes, just to muse on what once was.