During my Northeast Georgia Road Trip, I visited both the Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center in Mountain City next to Black Rock Mountain State Park and the Hardman Farm State Historic Site in Sautee-Nacoochee near Helen. Both feature historic buildings from the 19th and 20th Century and show how people in North Georgia lived during that time.
The Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center consists of cabins, barns, a chapel, and other buildings such as a mill and a smokehouse that would have been found in an Appalachian community in the period from 1820 to 1940. Some of those buildings are original buildings that have been relocated there and others are replicas that have been built on site. The replica chapel in particular is beautiful in its simplicity. Exhibits within the buildings represent life and culture in the Appalachia Mountains. Native American culture isn’t forgotten at Foxfire either, the removal of Native Americans from Georgia is presented by an exhibit that centers on a wagon that was actually used during the removal of the Cherokees. Although it rained during my visit, I still enjoyed it and came away with a better understanding of how settlers and their descendants in North Georgia lived.
The Hardman Farm State Historic Site is composed of a mansion that was built by James Nichols in 1870 after receiving a large inheritance, various outbuildings and farm buildings, a dairy barn from when Lamartine Hardman, a former Governor of Georgia owned the property and used it as a dairy and experimental farm, and a caretakers house from when the property was owned by Hardman. The Historic Site also features an Indian Burial Mound with a gazebo on top of it. The visitors center and gift shop for the site is in what was a general store and post office built by Governor Hardman (one of the displays in the gift shop is the original display counters from the store). The Nora Mill Granary closer to Helen was also part of the property, but it will be covered in a future post.
Visiting both sites gives you a better understanding of how different levels of North Georgia society lived. Foxfire represents how Appalachian settlers lived while Hardman Farm represents how a more affluent group moved into the area later on. The wagon used during the Cherokee Removal at Foxfire and the Indian Burial Mound on which a gazebo was built shed light on the removal of Native Americans from Georgia and how the Native Americans were looked upon. If you’re visiting the northeast corner of the state, I think’s a good idea to visit both to learn more about the society and culture of the region.