Waleska, Ga – A University Town

Waleska is a small town in Cherokee County.  The first settlers that came to the area was the Reinhardt, Heard and Rhyne families.  By 1838 the Cherokee had been forced to Oklahoma in the government relocation movement known as the Trail of Tears. When the Trail of Tears forced the movement of Warluskee, the daughter of a local Cherokee chief and friend of Reinhardt’s, westward, he named this settlement in her honor. The town was incorporated in 1889.

In the past, Waleska had gristmills, lumbering and tobacco. The lumber industry is still active in the area, as is agriculture. The town, however, has always been Reinhardt College, and Waleska is regarded, almost exclusively, as a college town.  There are a couple of stores and a City Hall, but not much else.

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In 1883, Augustus Reinhardt, son of one of the founders, along with his brother-in-law John Sharp, founded Reinhardt Academy in Waleska for the impoverished children of Cherokee County. This school eventually became Reinhardt University.   Reinhardt University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

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The Funk Heritage Center is on the campus it is Georgia’s Official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center.  The center has a gallery of Native American artifacts and artwork, as well as a theater, which features a short film on the history of Native Americans in the Southeastern United States.  7300 Reinhardt Circle