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It is one thing to read about history in a book. But to stand in the place where it actually happened is a different feeling. Calhoun, Ga. has two places rich in history that will teach parents and kids more than they can learn in history books. One has been around for more than 50 years while the other opened just two years ago. These sites combined are an inexpensive day trip for those within driving distance or an easy stop for anyone visiting Chattanooga or Atlanta. Both of these sites require some walking (a great way for kids to burn off energy) and you can see both for less than $7 a person. And the sites are just a short drive from each other.
New Echota State Historic Site
Located just north of the Calhoun city limits, New Echota State Historic Site marks significant developments in Cherokee Indian history. New Echota became the capital of the Cherokee Nation in 1825 and remained so until the Trail of Tears began in the late 1830s. The site has 12 original and reconstructed buildings that tell the story of the tribe. Worcester House, home of Rev. Samuel A. Worcester, is the only original building on the site. It opened in 1962.
One of the most interesting stops is the print shop. Inside you will find a complete printing press and a chart depicting the Cherokee alphabet. The original press was taken by the Georgia Militia in 1835 but a similar press is there. On some Saturdays, you may meet John Tucker in the printing office. He does a great job of explaining how the Cherokees typeset their newspapers with the tiny tiles stored in a drawer. He will then print you off your own copy as a souvenir.
The other buildings tell the story of how the Cherokees lived. You can peer inside a cabin and see the furnishings. You will also find the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Courthouse and Town Council House. If you are lucky you might see a beaver in the pond located at the site.
Fun fact: The Cherokee had their own ball fields long before football or baseball began. They played a game called Anesta, where teams would throw a ball through a goal at the other end of the field. The winner was the first team that scored 12 times. While the location of the exact field is not known, a marker discusses the game’s history.
Why kids will love it: Kids will enjoy going inside the buildings and seeing how the Cherokee Nation lived. A museum also has lifelike figures and displays that highlight the tribe’s history. A film gives greater insight into New Echota’s history.
Why parents will love it: Admission is only $7 for adults and $5.50 for those ages 6-17. The kids will learn about history and get some exercise while walking through the site.
Directions: Take I-75 to exit 317. If you are coming south, turn left off the interstate and the site is on the right. If you are coming from the south, turn right off the exit. The address is 1211 Chatsworth Highway NE, Calhoun Ga. 30701
Resaca Historic Battlefield Site
The Battle of Resaca was the first major battle of Sherman’s march through Georgia in 1864. The site was discussed for years and opened in May of 2016. For now, it’s only open Friday through Saturday.
Why you should go: Historical markers tell the story of the bloody Civil War. Get close to nature on one of the site’s nature trails. You can also have a picnic under the pavilion.
Why kids will love it: Special markers just for kids are located throughout the site. The site also has a lot of open space for kids to roam and play.
Why parents will love it: Admission is free and your kids will have fun and learn history.
Directions: Take I-75 to exit 320. If you are coming south, take a right and the site is on the right. If you are coming north, take left, cross the interstate and take a right.