Long Mountain Living History Center is a new living history museum growing season by season here near Dahlonega. It is on 4 acres of land about 7 miles NNW of town. The museum is being developed with two separate times/places in mind, and will host special events from Neolithic times up to the Vietnam war.
The first phase is to be a frontier farm in the area of New England. circa 1750. I often get asked why showcase such a place and time here in the mountains of North Georgia. There are multiple answers. However, the main reason is to demonstrate the events leading up to and during the French/Indian war, which many call the first, first world war. More importantly for this region is the impact that the treaties that followed the war had. The lives of the Cherokee, Creek, and other nations were turned upside down.
Confused? There is a story to tell and even though it was "long ago and far away" it is a story that matters. That being said, this phase of the museum is concerned with the French and Indian War and what happened after. We have a very unique place. Empires crumbled here. Just because they were not European empires does not make them any less important.
After the war, the Iroquois were given treaty rights to pass through the Shawnee lands in Pennsylvania unmolested. The Iroquois "opened up" the Appalachian Trail (which starts 10 miles from here and passes a mile North). At that time, the Cherokee lived in larger settlements that could be considered towns. The Iroquois raiders hit these towns hard, killing the men and putting the women and children on slave ships, mostly in Charleston, SC, headed to the tobacco plantations in Virginia.
As a result, the Cherokee dispersed into the mountains so the raiders went farther South into the Creek lands (we are in that border area between the two). They did much the same thing there resulting in large portions of Georgia and Florida being depopulated for two generations. When the raiding was no longer profitable (for several reasons) the Iroquois returned home for the most part and the Oconee band of Creek sent out their version of a "tweet" and assembled the people scattered by the slave trade and moved back into the area founding the Seminole nation.
Still think there is no connection between North Georgia and mid-18th century New England?
Imagine a small home deep in the woods of New England. It is evening and last light of the day is touching the stump dotted fields of hard flint corn that belong to a family of English (Scott/Irish) settlers that had claimed their payment after 7 years of indentured servitude. There have been rumors of late from their Iroquois neighbors of Huron raiding parties striking in the night. They were not regular raiders. They would attack in the darkest part of the night, kill everyone, and burn the farm and be gone within a few minutes. These were war parties. But why would they bother with small land holders on the frontier? Tonight however, the only sound is the oxen just outside the window, chewing their cud... The second place/time shall be Bedford New Hampshire circa 1774. Here many Colonial era crafts will be demonstrated as is rightly expected from a living history museum. More importantly to me personally is to recreate using best practices, the daily lives and conversations of the Scots-Irish yeomen that truly set the gears of revolution in motion. I chose this location because it was very well documented by Matthew Patten who was a Scots-Irish immigrant, judge, and a father that lost a son at the battle of the North Bridge.
Where do you come into the picture? What can you do to help us and to be a part of telling this story? The short answer is whatever you can. At this moment we have a wilderness (okay, 4 acres of wood adjacent to the Chattahoochee National Forest), two oxen from Colonial Williamsburg, a frontend loader, a director with 19 years of experience work in living history experience, and working partnerships with Hardman Farm State Park near Helen, Georgia, and the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center in Mountain City, Georgia.
Most importantly are the professional organizations we work with. The vanguard organization is the Association of Living History, Farms, and Agricultural Museums. ALHFAM is made up of the most dedicated museum professionals that work in living history. They provide professional support and training (as well as the individual contacts and support) for all of their organizations and members, not only in North America but the World over.
Our plans are flexible in terms of what gets made first. However, parking and restroom facilities are priority.
The 18th century farmstead will consist of a cabin, a barn, a small workshop, and stump dotted fields.
The recreation of Bedford New Hampshire will have the Matthew Patten House, blacksmith shop, wood shop, general store, tin shop, a "foodways" building, and at least 5 other buildings that can be used for various other crafts as needed.
There will be a welcome center with a giftshop, restrooms, office space, and a multipurpose hall for lectures, workshops, and dining/wedding/special events.
Here is the big question. How is all of this being paid for? Like many other 501c3s we rely on grants, donations, and tireless fund raising by our board members, director, and Friends group.
So, ready for an adventure?