During the 1930's a Federal work plan was carried out in the Georgia mountains to ease the overall effects of the Depression. The aim was to provide jobs for area residents through worthwhile farm and building projects. Under the auspices of the Resettlement Administration, local craftsmen used native granite to construct the tower on Chenocetah Mountain, named with the Indian word meaning "see all around."
Recognized as an example of Federal architecture from the Roosevelt era, the 54-foot tower is situated in the center of a square stone platform that is enclosed by a low granite parapet. It overlooks the area from an elevation of 1,830 feet and includes a wooden observation room reached by a metal spiral staircase. The structure is topped by a unique inlaid slate roof.
Until 1971, the Tower was used for fire observation on a seasonal basis. The Forest Service then began to use airplanes as a more cost effective way of patrolling public lands. The structure fell into disrepair, and the area was used by local residents as a nice place from which to view Lake Russell.
In June 1984, Chenocetah Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Later that year the U.S. Forest Service revealed a Land Management Plan and the possibility arose that the Tower and its surrounds could be divested and potentially destroyed by development. Opposition was expressed throughout the community, and the Chenocetah Conservation Corps was formed in 1985 with its goal to "preserve and maintain the scenic beauty of the Chenocetah Tower area."
The Forest Service later withdrew the proposed trade. The Tower and its surroundings, including one of the largest stands of Rhododendron minor in the nation, will remain in the public domain as part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Georgia Forestry Commission reactivated the Tower in 1986, and it serves today as the only stone fire tower in the state.
This landmark represents the determination of the people of this country in overcoming the adversities of the post-Depression years. Dedicated to the memory of Forest Service men who lost their lives in World War II, Chenocetah Tower also stands as a symbol of the proud history of this area and its people.
The U.S. Forestry service opens the tower to visitors one day a year during the "Big Red Apple Festival." The city of Cornelia provides hayrides to the tower during daylight hours. Guests may climb to the top for the tower for a spectacular panoramic view of horizons.
For more information on Habersham County, visit www.habershamchamber.com.
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Monday: All Day
Tuesday: All Day
Wednesday: All Day
Thursday: All Day
Friday: All Day
Saturday: All Day