A visit to this “Norman Rockwell” kind of town is a must for anyone who loves history, antiquing and good food! Adairsville, nestled in the Oothcalooga Valley, was the first Georgia town to be listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places (December 1987).
The town’s genesis was as a small village named in honor of Chief John Adair, a Scottish settler who married a Cherokee Indian girl. The railroad which lies at the center of town was central to its development. Land which was owned by William Watts was in the direct path of the Western and Atlantic Railroad’s expansion to Chattanooga.
Watts’ home was built around the foundation of an Indian cabin, high on a hill overlooking the present-day town of Adairsville. He deeded land to the railroad and then surveyed business lots. The depot was completed in 1847 and Adairsville grew quickly as mills, blacksmiths and hotels opened around the town square. The town continued to prosper, becoming known as the “Granary of the State,” and was incorporated in 1854.
The Civil War brought much action to Adairsville, including the Gravel House Battle (May 17, 1864) and the Great Locomotive Chase (April 12, 1862). The Chase is probably the war’s best known escapade, made famous by a Walt Disney movie of the same name. Each fall, the Great Locomotive Chase Festival, a three-day celebration is held in remembrance of the event (first weekend each October).
In the 1940’s the chenille textile industry brought many “spreadline” to Adairsville. Visitors along the Old Dixie Highway will recall peacock chenille spreads blowing in the wind. A good time to visit is the first weekend each June for the 90-Mile Dixie Highway Yard Sale. See Events for more details.
Today, many of the pre-Civil War homes and churches stand alongside fine Victorian examples in the 170-acre historic district. Explore tree-lined streets and marvel at the interesting history shared by residents in the Adairsville Visitor’s Guide brochure. Browse the antique shops and boutiques and stay for lunch or dinner in one of the area’s fine restaurants.
Just 5 miles outside Adairsville is Barnsley Resort. Romanticism envelopes this 1840’s estate. Englishman Godfrey Barnsley patterned his estate after the visions of Andrew Jackson Downing, the architect who designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol & White House. Surviving is a rare view of the antebellum South where heirloom gardens surround the once grand manor house. Today guests can retreat to luxurious suites in English-village cottages. Top off a restful night with a scrumptious meal at the Woodlands Grill or the Rice House restaurant, treat yourself to a signature spa treatment, and play for par on the challenging Fazio-designed golf course.
Adairsville’s location – exactly 65 miles north of Atlanta and 65 miles south of Chattanooga – makes for a convenient overnight stay here. Four hotels at I-75 Exit 306 offer comfortable accommodations at reasonable prices. RV campers are welcome at the Harvest Moon RV Park and Leisure Time RV Park. See Lodging for details on guest rooms and camp sites.
Other area attractions include discount shopping at Calhoun Premium Outlets, various antique auctions and factory direct savings on tile and home decor.
Be sure to contact us for complete details to plan your visit to Adairsville!
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Chattanooga Railroad Series: Adairsville, Georgia