Chatsworth Historic Sites Open during Black Bear Festival-Special Activities Planned
Chatsworth has the distinction of being MurrayCounty’s youngest, largest, and only “planned” city. The Whitfield-Murray Historical Society invites you to learn Chatsworth’s story by visiting three historic properties in downtown on Saturday and Sunday October 19-20 during the annual Black Bear Festival. The old Chatsworth Depot, the historic Wright Hotel, and the “Section House” will be open at no charge, but donations are encouraged.
When the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was completed in 1905, it passed through several towns in Murray County, but it by-passed the then county seat of Spring Place.
A group of businessmen formed the Chatsworth Land Company, bought land, surveyed the property into town lots, and built the new city at first spelled Chattsworth and probably named for Chatsworth Castle in England.
However, the Chatsworth Depot was already there, in the middle of nowhere, and thus is the oldest building in Chatsworth today. By the 1970’s the Chatsworth Depot was not only the last station open, it was the only Murray County depot even in existence. A combined effort by the City of Chatsworth and the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society later resulted in the moving of the structure to a site off the tracks that made restoration possible.
Today, the building houses a large exhibit of railroad memorabilia as well as special displays about early Chatsworth and the talc industry along with a revamped display highlighting Dr. R. H. Bradley—well-known Chatsworth physician who was also the doctor for railroad personnel. During the Black Bear Festival, visitors can see model trains in operation and also enjoy rides on the “Blue Train” for $1 per person.
The relocated depot is adjacent to the Historic Wright Hotel, a site already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also called the Chatsworth Hotel at times, the Wright Hotel owed its existence to the railroad, too. Chatsworth already had a hotel when Tom and Laura Wright began laying the groundwork for their family enterprise in 1908. However, the entrepreneurs knew they would have first shot at all the travelers who decided to stop in Chatsworth since the Wright Hotel was only a block from the train station!
All the material used in constructing this half-acre building was locally produced including the bricks which were made at a new brick plant just down Second Avenue from the construction site. The business, which was also home to the Wrights and their growing family, opened in 1910.
Good food and continued improvements like bathrooms in the 1920’s, closets, electricity, and steam heat kept the hotel booming until the 1960’s. After the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Wright, their children leased the hotel operation to the Quarles and then the Keeter families. One of the Wright daughters, Kate Raine, retired from her career as a public health nurse to the Native Americans of the southwest and returned to the hotel in 1969. Mrs. Raine once again made the hotel her home, but continued to rent rooms until shortly before her death in 1986. She left the amazing structure and its furnishings to the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society with the stipulation that the building be preserved as nearly as possible to its original condition.
For over three decades now, the Wright Hotel has been a museum of a most unusual type. Two floors show life in an early 20th Century hotel while the third floor houses a museum about the Wrights and their lives in Chatsworth as well as in the southwest.
During the Festival openings, the Hotel will showcase its collection of locally-made chenille bedspreads. Also on display will be items from the Historical Society’s archives highlighting the history of Murray County High School which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.
Up in City Park the railroad “section house” will also be open following a “sprucing up” of its early 20th century furnishings, highlighted by a collection of hand-tufted bedspreads. The foreman of the crew responsibility of maintaining the Chatsworth “section” of the railroad lived in this house with his family from the early 1900’s until past mid-century.
Beginner & intermediate research topics are on the agenda for
Sat., Jan. 18. From 9:00-12:30
topics are Basics of Genealogy (Where to Look for Information, Types of Historical Records to Hunt, Where to Locate Them, Where to Get Help), & Walking the Paper Trail.
topics will include Women in Your Line, Basics in Genealogy with DNA, & Secrets in the Census Records.
A Brick Walls workshop is scheduled for
Sat., Feb. 8, 9:00-4:30
The workshop is available for intermediate & advanced researchers who have hit a wall.
Lunch breaks are 12:30-1:00 on both days.
Sack lunches will be available for $6, or participants may bring a lunch.
Instructor Jennifer Harvey is a genealogy consultant trained by the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution.
Classes will meet at the
Crown Gardens & Archives
715 Chattanooga Ave., Dalton.
To reserve a spot, call 706-278-0217
or come by the Archives.
Cost is $40 for one day, or $70 for two days.
Checks may be mailed to the
Whitfield-Murray Historical Society,
P. O. Box 6180
Dalton, GA 30722-6180
HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARDS,
The Whitfield-Murray Historical Society celebrated Historic Preservation month by recognizing individuals & groups who have contributed to preservation in the two counties. Preservation awards, scholarships, Eagle Scout recognitions, & President’s Awards were presented at a recent meeting at the Murray Co. courthouse.
Historic Preservation awards were presented to the City of Dalton Public Works Department, Elizabeth Robinson, & Ted Yarbrough. Ralph Stafford recognized the City of Dalton Public Works Dept. for their work in water studies, signage, mowing, spreading millings, & trash pickup. Tim Howard praised Elizabeth Robinson’s work at the Old Spring Place Methodist Church. David Loughridge shared the late Frank Adams’s praise for Ted Yarbrough’s creative ideas at the Chatsworth Depot.
Scholarship chair Dewey Hughes presented scholarships to high school seniors who have contributed to area historic preservation efforts. Diya Patel of Coahulla Creek High received the Dr. Don Thomas & Judy Alderman Scholarship. Samuel Carlson of Dalton High was awarded the Pete Sims & Mary Gene Dykes Scholarship. Three North Murray High students--Kaylor Mullis, Jenna Palmer, & Caroline Ridley—received the Paul Ross Memorial Scholarship. Megan Cherry, Simon England, Adella Lonas, & Lana Ridley—all of Murray Co. High—claimed the James & Nell Ruth Loughridge Scholarship. A special thanks was given to the Mashburn Trust for support of the scholarship fund.
Marvin Sowder & Tina Pankey recognized contributions of Eagle Scouts. Sowder praised Andrew Rogers’s work at the Huff House. Pankey described Samuel Carlson’s work on a West Hill Cemetery project.
Sandra Clark & Betsy McArthur were recipients of the WMHS President’s Awards for exceptional service to the Society. Clark is current treasurer who has met a number of challenges with hard work & grace. McArthur has catalogued the Tut McFarland Library at the archives & is in the process of updating the Journal.
Following the awards, Tim Howard gave a brief history of the Murray Co. courthouse. He & Chuck Smith conducted guided tours of their work in organizing county records.
Historic Preservation awards were presented to Ted Yarbrough, Elizabeth Robinson, and City of Dalton Public Works
Sandra Clark & Betsy McArthur were recipients of the WMHS Presidentís Awards
Jenna Palmer, Diya Patel, Megan Cherry, Adella Lonas, Simon England, Lana Ridley, and Kaylor Mullis
Andrew Rogers, Eagle Scout recipient
Copies of Dorothy "Dot" McCrory's poetry book,
"Too Much Cider in the Applesauce,"
are available at the Crown Gardens & Archives,
715 Chattanooga Ave. Dalton GA
Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Copies are $25.
A copy can be mailed for $35.
Book sales benefit the Lesche Club scholarship fund.
Copies of the Historic Photographs of The Whitfield County Schools Available For Purchase!
The Historic Photographs of The Whitfield County Schools by Ellen Keith Thompson is available for purchase. If you're interested in purchasing the book, please maila check payable to WMHS to P.O. Box 6180Dalton, GA. 30722 in the amount of $55 (includes shipping and handling). Or, you can purchase the book at the Crown Gardens & Archives for $45 located on 715 Chattanooga Avenue, Dalton, GA. 30722. All the proceeds from the books sales will the basis of the endowmenet fund for the 40th Anniversary.
Hours at Crown Garden and Archives
To better serve our community
we will now be open M-F 10am - 4pm.
We will also be open by appointment on weekends and evenings for research and events!
To make an appoinment please call during our business hours!
Hours at Blunt House, Hamilton House, and Huff House
The Blunt House is open for tours on Fridays from 10:30 until 4.
The Huff House is open for tours on Fridays from 10 until 3.
Hamilton House is open by appointment by calling the Archives at (706) 278-0217.