Todd DeFeo

A one-stop guide to Cartersville

Cartersville, Ga.
(Photo by Todd DeFeo)

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Admittedly, this exurb located about 40 miles north of Atlanta is easily overlooked.

But, this small city of about 16,000 offers a surprising number of attractions, and given its proximity to Interstate 75, it’s an easy drive from Atlanta.

Etowah Indian Mounds

Etowah Indian Mounts
(Photo by Todd DeFeo)

These mounds — today known as the Etowah Indian Mounds — have survived for centuries and offer a one-of-a-kind look at this bygone civilization.

Located on the north shore of the Etowah River and south of modern-day Cartersville, the mounds were inhabited from 1000 to 1550 by Muskogean Native Americans of the Mississippian culture, so named because the culture originated along the banks of the Mississippi River. Designated a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s, this 54-acre state park includes a museum with artifacts discovered at the site, six mounds the natives built, and a number of other related sites.

Friendship Monument

Friendship Monument
(Photo by Todd DeFeo)

By 1857, Mark Anthony Cooper found himself in debt to the tune of $100,000, and his company, the Etowah Iron and Manufacturing Co., was about to be auctioned.

With the help of 38 friends, Cooper raised $200,000 in notes and purchased back his company. Cooper didn’t forget his friends who helped him raise the money, so in 1860, after he repaid the debt, Cooper built a monument to thank them.

The monument was originally erected on the town square of Etowah, a small town where his iron company was located. In 1864, the monument was the only structure to survive the wrath of Union soldiers led by Gen. William T. Sherman.

Cooper’s Iron Works

Mark Anthony Cooper purchased the ironworks Jacob Stroup established the works in the 1830s. In 1863, cooper sold the iron works to the Confederate States of America in 1863.

On May 22, 1864, federal soldiers destroyed the ironworks and mill, bringing about an end to the city’s livelihood and for all practical purposes the Etowah railroad. Following the Civil War, the railroad was not rebuilt and the town never again returned to its antebellum prominence. A smokestack is all that remains of the ironworks.

Tellus: Northwest Georgia Science Museum

Opened in January 2009, Tellus is home to one of only two digital planetariums in Georgia. The 120,000-square-foot museum also includes Science in Motion, a journey through the development of motorized transportation.

Tellus was built on the site of the Weinman Mineral Museum, a 9,000-square-foot museum.

About Todd DeFeo
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.