Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sweetwater Creek State Park - 2,549 Acres of Nature and History

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A few weeks ago we visited Sweetwater Creek State Park located in Northwest Georgia. That now brings the total of GA State Parks we have visited to 15. I know we have many more to go considering there are 65 State Parks in Georgia. Gwyn and I visited this beautiful state park a couple months ago, but since we were attending the GO Day event we didn't have any spare time to check out all the beautiful trails and historical sites this 2,549 acre State Park offers.

Sweetwater Creek State Park is a beautiful oasis of wilderness only minutes from downtown Atlanta. There are numerous trails, but the most popular is the wooded trail (red) that follows the stream to the ruins of New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile ill that was burned during the Civil War. 

We spent the majority of our day exploring the interpretive visitor center and the red and white trails. We met a couple of friends around 10 am and explored the park until about 3:30.

Check out all of the fun things this amazing Georgia State Park offers nature lovers and history buffs. 


  • Hiking – 9 miles of trails, closed at dark 
  • Lake and Creek Fishing
  • Canoe and Kayak Rental (seasonal) 
  • SUP (Stand Up Paddle) board rental (seasonal) 
  • Fishing Boat Rental (seasonal) 
  • Pedal Boat Rental (seasonal) 
  • Picnicking 
  • GeoCaching 
  • Ranger Guided Interpretive Programs 
  • Bird-watching
  • Playgrounds Fun
  • Jr. Ranger and 150th Civil War Program

Before you start your trek down the riparian forest, red trail make sure you pick up the informational flora/fauna brochure and historical fast fact sheet at the interpretive center. There are also many placards along the red trail to provide you with additional information. During our visit we splashed in the river, caught frogs and lizards, went geocaching, climbed rocks, smelled hickory and pine, discovered really awesome fungus, picked up litter and soaked in the beautiful history and views! 

**Note the ruins are fenced off to visitors, however you can arrange a Ranger led tour for a small fee. As you can see in the photos there are many spots that provide a terrific, unobstructed view of them.

The History:
In 1845 Colonial James Rogers and former Georgia Governor Charles MacDonald purchased land along Sweetwater Creek for a textile mill. In 1849 the Sweetwater Factory opened its doors for business. The factory which ran off the waters off Sweetwater Creek produced cotton yarns and cloth. In 1857 Sweetwater Manufacturing Company sold the property to New Manchester Manufacturing Company. The mill was 5 stories and large enough to support a town of 200 people with 60-70 employees working in the factory. In 1861 when the Civil War began the mill was contracted to provide cotton osnaburg and muslin cloth for the Confederate Army. During the war the factory was operated mostly by women. So to protect the goods from robbers a local militia called "Alexander's Company" was created. On July 2, 1864, Union Cavalry, the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col Silas Adams and the 14th Illinois Cavalry under Maj. Haviland Thompkins, arrived and occupied the town of Manchester. And sadly on July 9, 1864 the factory buildings and the company store were burned to the ground. Men, Women and Children were imprisoned for treason and transported out of Georgia. Years later some citizens returned to Georgia but since the mill was gone they had no work and did not resettle on Sweetwater Creek. 

What is your favorite State Park either in Georgia or your home state?

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