Fort Mountain (Murray County, Georgia)

Fort Mountain is a mountain in northern Georgia, just east of Chatsworth. It is part of the Cohutta Mountains, a small mountain range at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains. It also lies within the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Fort Mountain GA
Fort Mountain, Murray County, Georgia December 2015.JPG
Fort Mountain, viewed from Chatsworth
Highest point
Elevation2,850 ft (870 m)
Prominence321 ft (98 m)
Coordinates34°46′59″N 84°42′33″W / 34.78306°N 84.70917°W / 34.78306; -84.70917Coordinates: 34°46′59″N 84°42′33″W / 34.78306°N 84.70917°W / 34.78306; -84.70917
Geography
Fort Mountain GA is located in Georgia
Fort Mountain GA
Fort Mountain GA
Fort Mountain GA is located in the United States
Fort Mountain GA
Fort Mountain GA
Fort Mountain GA (the United States)
Nearest cityChatsworth, Georgia
Area211.2 acres (85.5 ha)
NRHP reference No.77001587[1]
Added to NRHPNovember 23, 1977

A main feature of Fort Mountain is an ancient rock formation or ruin of unknown origin, from which the mountain takes its name. The site lies within Fort Mountain State Park and consists of a series of stone piles lying in a long uneven line that follows the contour of the mountainside.[2] Estimates of its length vary. In a previously published archaeological report, Philip E. Smith (University Of Georgia) gives 928 feet (283 m) as its length,[3] while the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (State Parks Division) estimates the length as 855 feet (261 m).[4]

A stone fire tower, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and located in the park, marks the summit of the mountain. A hiking path around the park leads up to a scenic overlook of Cool Springs Valley.[5] The park also has a mountain lake, cabins, camping, and public facilities.

Two main highways cross Fort Mountain connecting the counties of Murray and Gilmer, Georgia. A steep, curving scenic route, Georgia SR 52, runs east-west between Chatsworth and Ellijay, affording views of the Cohutta Mountains; there is at least one overlook with parking.[6] Organizations located on that route include Fort Mountain State Park and Global Youth Ministry.[7][8] Southeast of Chatsworth, SR 282 crosses the mountain, running concurrently with SR 2/US 76 from Ramhurst to East Ellijay.

HistoryEdit

The most well-known feature of Fort Mountain is the rock formation around the crest, usually mentioned as the ruins of an ancient fort or other manmade structure, consisting of stone piles without mortar. Local stories sometimes attribute its construction to the Cherokee, but published sources date its construction to a more ancient culture of indigenous people.

Georgia's Department of Natural Resources site (State Parks and Historic Sites Division) states that "The mysterious 855-foot-long wall is thought to have been built by early Indians as fortification against more hostile Indians or for ancient ceremonies."[9] Rome News Tribune published an article by Stacy McCain in 1994, saying that anthropologists attribute the wall's construction to people of the Middle Woodland era.[10] The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, for its archaeological potential as a source of information about prehistoric eras.[11]

There are other theories as to the origin of the stone piles that comprise the wall. Stone formations may occur naturally, caused by the thrust that makes a ridge crest during the mountain's formation. In the 19th century, people speculated that Hernando de Soto built it as a fort to defend against the Creek people around 1540. In 1879 George Little, Georgia's state geologist, published a description of the state's mountains, including Fort mountain, in The Cartersville Free Press. He referred to the ruins as "fortifications erected by DeSoto and his followers as they journeyed to the Mississippi."[12] This theory was contradicted as early as 1917, as a historian pointed out that de Soto was in the area for less than two weeks.[13][14] One persistent legend attributes Fort Mountain's stone piles to a race of moon-eyed people, said to predate the Cherokee. Such stories were picked up by historians and made their way into park histories, tourism brochures and markers.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ n/a 'Chatsworth, GA, PRN' (November 20, 1969). "Forsyth County News ('Fort Mountain')". Tour Georgia: State of Adventure (PRN). Cumming, GA, USA: The Forsyth County News. p. 4. Archived from the original (Clipping) on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Smith, Philip E., "Aboriginal Stone Constructions in the Southern Piedmont" in the University Of Georgia Laboratory Of Archaeology Series Report No 4 1962
  4. ^ State of Georgia (July 1, 2007). "Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources". Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks & Historic Sites. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. State of Georgia. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  5. ^ State of Georgia (July 1, 2007). "Georgia DNR (Trails at Fort Mountain State Park)". Department of Natural Resources. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks & Historic Sites. State of Georgia. Division of State Parks & Historic Sites. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  6. ^ State of Georgia (July 1, 2007). "Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources". Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks & Historic Sites. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. State of Georgia. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  7. ^ Allen, Bob (August 2, 2013). "Mo. youth group safe after bus wreck". Baptist News. Baptist News Global. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  8. ^ "Global Youth Ministry on Fort Mountain". Global Youth Ministry. Full Circle Creations. February 3, 2021. Archived from the original on November 23, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  9. ^ State of Georgia (July 1, 2007). "Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources". Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks & Historic Sites. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. State of Georgia. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  10. ^ McCain, Stacy (August 28, 1994). "Whites built mystery of Fort Mountain, but not stone wall". Rome News Tribune. Rome, Georgia. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. ^ National Park Service (ed.). "National Register of Historic Places". National Register of Historic Places. National Register Digital Asset Management System (NPGallery). NRID77001587. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  12. ^ Little, George (June 26, 1879). "Our State: What Makes Her an Independent State". The Free Press. Cartersville, GA, USA: The Free Press. p. 1. Archived from the original (Clipping) on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "News from Georgia" Brick and Clay Record Kenfield, Chicago: 1907, Vol. 27, No.3, 99.
  14. ^ Knight, Lucian Lamar, "Fort Mountain," A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians. Lewis Publishing, Chicago: 1917, Vol. 1, p. 14.
  15. ^ "Forsyth County News ('Fort Mountain')". Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.

External linksEdit