Tunnel Hill, Ga – A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Tunnel Hill is in Whitfield County. From Interstate 75 take exit 341. Atlanta to Tunnel Hill 97 miles.  Chattanooga to Tunnel Hill 26 miles.

The community was first known as Doe Run. It was incorporated on March 4, 1848 as Tunnelsville, and changed its name in 1856 to Tunnel Hill. Both names refer to a nearby 1,497 feet long railroad tunnel through Chetoogeta Mountain. The tunnel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you are interested in history the tunnel is worth seeing.    There are 3 historical markers in front of the store/museum.  The tour guides do the tours in limousine golf carts, during the tour the guide will tell you the history of the area.  While you wait for the next golf cart,  visit the museum.

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The Tunnel Hill historic marker reads:  May 7, 1864. The Federal forces, under Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, began the campaign for Atlanta by seizing Tunnel Hill. Howard’s 4th A.C., having marched from Catoosa Springs, drover Wheeler’s Cav. from the R.R. tunnel S. to Mill Creek Gap. Palmer’s 14th A.C., moving from Ringgold (U.S. Highway 41), supported Howard on his right and extended the Federal front to Mill Cr. Gap, where its rt. joined left of 20th A.C. in dogwood Valley. These operations were designed to engage the Confederate forces at Dalton, while McPherson’s army moved from the W. to Snake Creek Gap, 18 miles S. of Tunnel Hill.

Besides the Tunnel, the tour includes a replicated store and the Clisby House.

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Store at Tunnel Hill

The historical marker reads: CLISBY AUSTIN HOUSE

400 yds. S.E., at the big spring, is the brick residence known as the Austin house. May 7, 1864. The Federal forces, having seized Tunnel hill – their first movement in the campaign for Atlanta – Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman had headquarters at the Austin house, until May 12. While here, Sherman learned that McPherson’s forces had failed to cut the R.R. at Resaca, after seizing Snake Creek Gap – May 9, whereupon the attempts at Rocky Face, Crow Valley & Mill Creek Gap, were dropped & all Federal units but the 4th A.C., Stoneman’s & McCook’s cav., were shifted May 12, to the Resaca front via Villanow and Snake Creek Gap

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Clisby Austin House
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Barn at Clisby Austin House

Among the events at Tunnel Hill’s depot was a speech by Jefferson Davis and a very brief visit by Andrews’ Raiders in the locomotive “General” as it was being chased by the Texas. Built by the state-owned Western & Atlantic Railroad in 1848, the depot is one of Georgia’s oldest.

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Tunnel Hill Depot

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Grumpy’s Antiques, Collectibles and Classic Cars – 724 N. Varnell Road – this is a big store – lots of stuff.  A fun store to visit.  Grumpy’s is beside the Interstate

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