Before you visit one of our Helen, Georgia cabins, you may want to get more acquainted with the history of this beautiful town. Before 1800, the area was the center of the Cherokee Indian culture. The Cherokee were scattered about the Helen and Sautee Nacoochee areas. In 1813, the Cherokee approved of the construction of a wagon road from the Savannah River to northeast Tennessee. This trail, now Highways 17 and 75, ran through the valleys toward Hiawassee.
In 1828 Gold was discovered on Dukes Creek in Nacoochee Valley. The Great Georgia Gold Rush belt was bound by Dahlonega and Nacoochee-Helen Valley. Thousands of miners came into the Valley and mined in the foothills for over a century, generating thousands of pounds of gold. The historic England Gold Mine, site of Helen’s current gold mine, and Hamby Mountain were mined extensively. Mining operations ceased by the end of the century, and settlers moved on.
Formerly a logging town, timber officials came into the Valley , saw huge virgin timber, and built a great sawmill, Matthews Lumber Company. At this time, the Gainesville and Northwestern Railroad came up the Chattahoochee River to Helen. In 1913 the Valley was named “Helen”, after the daughter of the railroad surveyor. The Sawmill ran until 1931 when the timber ran out and settlers moved on for other opportunities.
In 1968 the local business men discussed what could be done to improve their town. They approached a nearby artist friend, who had been stationed in Germany and he began to design the buildings and give them their German flair. The town was resurrected into the Bavarian Alpine town that it is today. This design is mandated through zoning first adopted in 1969, so that the classic south-German style is present on every building, even on the small number of national franchisees present (such as Huddle House and Wendy’s).
Thus Helen became one of the most visited places in Georgia. It has gone through a multitude of changes to arrive here and now you know its history. Now you have some interesting tidbits you can tell your family while you stay at on of our vacation rentals in Helen, Georgia.