Union County Georgia History, Times and Changes

Traveling across the heartland of Union County you'll find old mountain life relics and ruins, cherished remains of ancient homesteads dotting the landscape. These reminders of times gone by are a scattered collection of lost treasures. Many of these structures are being Horse and Barn with Blood Mountain in the background in Union County Georgiaremoved for the sake of progress while others are being preserved or even restored for the sake of posterity. You never know which one of these local landmarks is staying or going so I recommend a photograph to preserve their memory just in case.

Union County has a wealth of history to explore and I would recommend you begin your Union County Gold Minetour into the past by visiting the Old Courthouse on the square which today is home to Union County Historical Society and Museum. The “Golden Days” kicked open the door to Union County in the mid-1830’s, a hard life of panning and mining the precious gold was short lived though, due to the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th century.

By the turn of the 20th century a young country’s thirst for lumber took its toll, not only on this region but also nearly all regions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The ravaging of these mountains by large lumber barons hungry for profit, eventually opened the way for the founding of the National Forest Service in the early 20th century. Thankfully the National Forest Service purchased millions of acres of mountain wastelands for the purpose of restoration and preservation. The museum can enlighten you concerning these days of hard times and poor mountain folk needing work, as well as those who came with the sole purpose of profiteering.

Byron Herber ReeceOne of the more unique jewels of this particular region came not in natural resources held within the land per say, but in the human flesh and bone of a renowned individual named Byron Herbert Reece. This native of Union County was a writer and poet, sharing his mountain life experience with his many admirers and neighbors.

Born in 1917 this poor son of a rural farmer was gifted with the ability to convey life in an isolated mountain region through his poetry and writing often sharing his biblical faith contained within the confines of his heart felt renderings. So exceptional were his works that this backwoods country boy was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, bringing his gift to the forefront of international acclaim. His poetry was the inspiration of the State of Georgia’s official drama “The Reach of Song.” He spent most of his adult years caring for his mother and father who were afflicted with tuberculosis. The hardships of life and illness eventually took his gifted mind and life in 1958. His memory has been preserved at Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center, along with the Byron Herbert Reece Memorial Park on the upper slopes of Blood Mountain near Neel’s Gap.

Yet the inspired greatness in human achievement within Union County doesn’t stop there. In the mid 1800’s this mountainous high country, with its winds and updrafts lifting eagles and hawks soaring high above the mountain tops were considered the only aerodynamic children of flight the good Lord ever created, until one man’s vision choose to challenge what others declared couldn’t be done.

Micajah Clark Dyer - Flying AparatusA local young man named Micajah Clark Dyer (1822-1891) lived at the foot of Rattlesnake and Cedar Mountains in the Choestoe District of Union County. This insightful and intelligent young inventor who was always tinkering and inventing gadgets much to the amazement and often scorn of his neighbors. Clark was a poor farmer with a family to feed and his formal education did not surpass the one room country schoolhouse he attended. With a wondering mind and the natural skill of an architect, he often watched the birds flying over his farm and pondered why can’t a man fly?

With an imagination fit for a genius and primitive tools he confined himself to his work shed drawing precise plans and constructing a flying machine. Clark applied for and received U.S. Patent No. 154,654 on September 1, 1874 for his “Apparatus for Navigating the Air. "

Eyewitnesses from family, neighbors and friends saw him fly off the side of Rattlesnake Mountain navigating his crude flying machine over their fields. Two news articles were published concerning the flight in 1875, one in the Gainesville Georgia Eagle and the other in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

This event took place some 30-years before the Wright Brothers' claim to fame. Quite impressed with his hand drawn patented plans, the Highlander has included a copy to give our readers a view of his creation.

Clark Dyer died in 1891 and his widow sold both the plane and the plans to the Redwine brothers.   It's the family's belief that those plans found there way to the Wright Brothers. Others have often contended that the Wright Brothers weren’t the first to fly and gave credit to a handful of others.   Possibly the Wright Brothers were just insightful enough to alert the media, grounding their accomplishment.

Learn about the Union County Historical Society...


Welcome Center

Blairsville Union County

Each Season Something New Each season there’s something new in Blairsville-Union County! Spring and summer outdoor lovers will hike endless trails, see breathtaking views atop Brasstown Bald, visit rushing waterfalls, and relax on serene Lake Nottely. Delight in the explosion of autumn leaf color or cuddle up in a cozy winter cabin.

Vacation Cabin Rental Property Management


Whether you purchased your mountain home as an occasional getaway, an investment, or the destination of your future retirement, we realize the importance that it be respected as your home first and foremost.

It is our objective to provide you with both quality property management as well as a rental program to help offset some of the expense of owning a 2nd home. Through the combined knowledge of all of us at Great Mountain Cabin Rentals, we have the expertise to help you understand and create a Great Mountain Cabin Rental.


Luxury Cabin Rentals

My Cozy Cabin Rental

Pet Friendly - My Cozy Cabin is a wonderful 2-bedroom, 1-bath cabin located in Blairsville Georgia. This cabin has easy access from Hwy 515, yet has privacy with a great yard to play in. Bring your fishing gear and see what you can find in the pond. This cabin has plenty of decks great for outdoor entertaining. A fire pit beside the house offers the opportunity for great campfire stories and smore roasting. Wake up in the Master Bedroom, open the balcony doors to the fresh mountain air. What a great way to wake up to the mountains. This cabin is equipped with tons of family friendly movies to keep the kids entertained.

Enchanted Mountain Retreats

We pride ourselves with excellent customer service. We treat each guest as an individual and address your needs specifically so that we can tailor a perfect vacation package just for you and your family. We take care to choose the best cabins available to insure that your stay with Enchanted Mountain Retreats is a great mountain experience. Rest assured that you will find your cabin clean and in good repair, we also empty, sanitize and refill our hot tubs between each rental. Our standards are high and that benefits you, we check your cabin before you check in the make sure it is ready for your arrival.

Real Estate

Tim Noland, Realtor - Buyer's Agent

When looking to buy mountain property, you need someone that not only understands the mountains, you need someone that specifically represents you, the buyer. When you choose to work with a Buyer's Agent you are assured that you have an agent that is truly looking for your best interests, someone that will not only find what you are looking for, but someone that will negotiate the best price possible.

ERA Carolina Mountain Homes in Murphy North Carolina

Based in Murphy NC and serving highly satisfied customers since 1978, ERA Carolina Mountain Homes is a full service real estate office ready to serve YOUR needs. We cover five mountain region counties in NC and GA - the Murphy, Andrews, Brasstown and Hayesville NC areas; and the Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Young Harris/Hiawassee areas. Go directly to our Web Site to view available properties.

Residential and Commercial Builder

Tighe White Construction, Residential and Commercial Builder

Over the years, Tighe White Construction has developed an excellent reputation in the North Georgia and Western North Carolina mountains, for their attention to details, caring customer service and high level of workmanship. Tighe uses cutting-edge CAD software to quickly and efficiently design your new construction. This allows our clients to preview realistic 3-D views of the exterior and interior of their new construction, so that you can visualize the finished look and feel, long before we break ground.

Outdoor Adventure

Whitewater Rafting

The Ocoee River is often described as the roller coaster of the southeast. Come experience what has been called the greatest whitewater center in the world.


Professional river outfitter with over 30 years experience. Our safety record is unsurpassed in the industry. We believe our staff is simply the best in the business. Guides are chosen for their character and enthusiasm for sharing the outdoors with you.

Whitewater Express Adventure

Adventure Camp on the Ocoee & Nantahala Rivers


White Water Rafting on the Ocoee and Nantahala Rivers • Horseback Riding • High and Low Ropes Course • Giant Swing • Caving • Paint ball • Mountain Biking • Camping & Cabin Rentals

Catch the surge and ride the rapids on the exciting Ocoee River in Tennessee or North Carolina's Nantahala River for an experience you won't forget. Challenge your skills on the high ropes just for the thrill. Sit tall in the saddle for a leisure ride through the beautiful scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Camp out or stay in log cabins while letting the kids sleep in groups in one of several bunkhouse's. We will help you create a custom retreat for you or your group.

Canopy Tours on the Nantahala Gorge, Chattooga Ridge and Pigeon River

Zip Line Canopy Tours
on the
Nantahala Gorge • Chattooga Ridge • Pigeon River

Whichever course you choose you are sure to enjoy the newest outdoor adventure to hit the US. All our courses offer a soaring and gliding experience naturally fueled by a gradual drop in elevation. All trips offer fully guided tours with 2 or more Rangers on at least 10 zips, 4 bridges beginning with a training course at each location.

Guided Fishing Trips on the Nottley River and Lake Nottley

Fishing Trips in the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Great mountain adventures is offering the "Best Fishing" available in the Mountains. We create a fishing trip, designed specifically towards your needs with a professional fishing guide to guide you to make the most of your fishing adventure on the Finest Lakes, Rivers and Streams in the Southern Appalachians! Trout Treks • Bass Fishing • Wade Trips • Pan Fishing • Fly Fishing Instruction • Private Trophy Trout Waters • Drift Boat Trips. So much water to choose from and an adventure you'll never forget...click for more information.

Blue Ridge Community Theater

Blue Ridge Community Theater

There is nothing like the energy you feel when attending a live performance and we are here to help you experience that feeling. Blue Ridge Community Theater's mission is to enrich the cultural life of residents and visitors through performances, productions and education of all aspects of contemporary and classic theater.

Farmer's Market

Union County Farmer's Market in Blairsville GA

The Union County Farmer's Market has over 60 covered vendor spaces in our outdoor setting. The facility located at 148 Old Smokey Road off of Weaver Road is home to a variety of events and festivals outside of the seasonal market. Those events include a ramp festival, strawberry jubilee, trash to treasures sale, relay for life event, and an outdoor business expo.