Our History

Calhoun, earlier called Oothcaloga Depot and Dawsonville, lies in the valley that was the heart of the Cherokee.  Calhoun was incorporated in 1852, and today is the seat of Gordon County and the center of northwest Georgia’s textile industry.

The town was named for John C. Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president and senator from South Carolina, in 1850, the year he died. The name change occurred amidst political controversy in which “Calhounites” were a strong sectionalist faction. That same year a popular vote selected the railroad town of Calhoun as the seat of Gordon County. The city was incorporated by the state legislature in 1852.

Calhoun’s first paved streets were brick, laid on the business streets in 1889.  Two parks graced downtown Calhoun in the late 19-20th centuries – a Gentlemen’s Park and Ladies’ Park.  Both were favorite destinations for the county’s farm families who came into town on Saturday to trade, purchase necessities, and socialize. 

An early goal of the Calhoun Woman’s Club, organized in 1902, was to provide a restroom in the Ladies’ Park of course, for the farm women who came to town. 

The Calhoun Woman’s Club also erected in the park a small, log cabin clubhouse that became the town’s first public library.  Not until the 1960’s did a larger, more modern building on the site of the original cabin become Calhoun’s library.  Other efforts to inform and educate the town’s citizens brought about the Calhoun public school system also established in 1902. 


Club members also worked to beautify the park at that time.  The American Red Cross has been a vital part of war efforts in Calhoun.  Organized on July 4, 1917, by the Calhoun Woman’s Club, the local Red Cross Chapter had leaders from across the community. 

The arts also enriched the lives of Calhoun’s citizens from the town’s early years and Calhoun Woman’s Club members.  Children recited literary classics for graduations and Calhoun Woman’s Club meetings.   Today, our Club still sponsors and acknowledges children from our Middle and High Schools.  Calhoun actively seeks out young artists and enters them in our Stateside Art Scholarship Contest.  State winners receive a $___ scholarship.

Sequoyah Statue – 1930

This statue of Sequoyah, pictured in 1930, is located in a small park at the intersection of U.S. Highway 41 and Georgia Highway 225, north of Calhoun. The Calhoun Woman’s Club erected the statue in the 1920s.  The Calhoun Woman’s Club was responsible for getting the statue erected.  The pedestal of rock was constructed by W. Laurens Hillhouse. Adjacent to this statue is an arch built of native rock which was erected to honor the memory of Civil War and World War I soldiers. Mr. Hillhouse built it, too, for the Calhoun Woman’s Club. The above were completed ca. 1925. The photograph was taken by the Calhoun Photo Shoppe which was located in Calhoun, Georgia.   

Calhoun Women’s Club’s Anniversary Fountain – 100 Years – Calhoun, GA

This fountain, featuring a statue of Sequoyah, was erected for the club’s 100th anniversary.  March 2010.

The Calhoun Depot – 109 S King St, Calhoun, GA was constructed in 1847 by the Western & Atlantic Rail Road.  It was purchased by the City of Calhoun 1990.  In 1991 the Calhoun Woman’s Club raised enough funds to donate a new roof for the Depot.

The Calhoun Depot was a railway station of the Western & Atlantic Railroad that was built by the State of Georgia during 1852-53 in Calhoun, Georgia. Unusual for railroads, the Western & Atlantic Railroad was owned and operated by a U.S. state. Calhoun is on its route built from Atlanta, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Like other brick or stone depots on the line, the Calhoun Depot was involved in but survived the American Civil War.  

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It was deemed significant architecturally “because it represents an antebellum depot designed and built to serve its essential functions. Its simple lines and fundamental, utilitarian styling exemplifies the early, unpretentious frontier times of North Georgia in which it was created.” The depot was also deemed significant in transportation history “because it symbolizes the effect the arrival of the railroad had on the area.”

According to its NRHP nomination, “The selection of the site for a railroad stop was a prime factor in its later becoming the county seat. The railroad served as a major travel artery, as well as a supply line during the Civil War. It was also part of one of the war’s most famous events, during the Great Locomotive Chase.” After 1890, the State-owned W & A Line was leased to the L & N Railroad. As of 1982, freight service continued on the line, although passenger service had been discontinued in the 1960s. Calhoun purchased the Depot in 1990 and southern to renovate.  Calhoun Woman’s Club raised funds and donated money to replace the Depot’s roof in 1991.