The Chieftains Museum is located in the former estate
home of Major Ridge (1771-1839), a rebellious Cherokee
leader born in the north Georgia mountains as
At the rather plush upscale home's core is a very old
log cabin, renovated by its wealthy owner. At the time
of the forced exodus of the Cherokee from North Georgia,
according to the US government, Ridge estate was of
higher quality than most, if not all others in the
vicinity, including whites. He owned a ferry, hundreds
of fruit trees, rich river bottom farm land, and over 30
slaves of African and Creek descent.
The home is
a fascinating tour, but the stories associated to the
home's previous owners are much more interesting. I
won't attempt to explain the history in this short
article. It's simply too complicated. However, to spice
it up a little, I'll say this: Major Ridge was a
Cherokee warrior, hunter, business man, politician, and
assassin. He and his son John were directly involved in
the signing of the treaty of
and both paid the ultimate price for doing so. The
official Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee
tell the story best.
The Chieftains Museum is located adjacent
Ridge Ferry Park on the banks of the Oostanaula
River. Ridge Ferry Park is one of our favorite
bike-riding and festival destinations. Ridge Ferry Park
hosts a variety of events including an annual Cherokee
powwow as well as one of our favorite art festivals, the
Chiaha Harvest Fair.
The history of the Southeastern US is fascinating to me.
I wish there were a movie about the Creek and Cherokee
that told the whole story! The odd personalities and politics
of the time, and the near-paradigm that took place. History
certainly could have emerged quite differently had time favored the Cherokee.
Discovery of gold in their territory sealed their fate.
If you would like a good post-Creek history of the
region, the Chieftains is a must. You should also
consider visiting New Echota, the former capitol of the
Cherokee in nearby Calhoun. For history about the
natives that lived here prior to the Cherokee, take the
short drive to see the
Etowah Indian Mounds in Cartersville.
Entry Date: November,
visited Rome and
Park many times in the past, but had yet to patronize the Chieftains
Museum. We decided that this beautiful Saturday was the perfect time to
When we arrived at the
museum, a very friendly and well informed
hostess offered her help. We were the only museum visitors at the time,
so she was able to explain some of the exhibits in detail. There are
artifacts that date back to Spanish explorer Desoto and progress through
the Civil War.
The original structure was a
cabin built in the late 1700. It was later (early 1800's) renovated and
modernized by the Ridge Family. Portions of the plaster walls have been
removed to expose the original hand-hewn logs. There are displays of
tribal artifacts including tools and masks used by the Cherokee.
Upstairs features a room complete with period furniture.
The period clothing,
documents, and photos on the walls and in the display cases took a lot
of time to
view. Perhaps the most interesting to me was how nice the home is. The
rooms are large and the ceilings high. I can imagine the multiple
fireplaces all ablaze keeping the home cozy on cold nights. This was a
fine home, and visiting is well worth your while.
Unfortunately, the youngest
papooses got a little impatient and decided to check out the gift shop
where they caused a little accident. Don't worry, it cost us only $5 for
the damages. We decided to scoot right down the road for some Fuddrucker
burgers and shakes.
The Richardson Tribe
Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee have put together a very
informative site. I wish there were more pictures and
details, but it still does a good job of telling the story.
It's a 200+ year-old home, so it's not
perfect. Its condition is amazing considering its age failed
attempt by Union soldiers to destroy it during the Civil
War. There is a small gift shop at the entry and a very
knowledgeable hostess (at the time of our visit)
Places to camp near the Chieftains museum, Rome, and Ridge
There are some pretty good
places to camp near Rome. We haven't stayed there, but have
heard great things about Floyd County's "Lock
and Dam" park. We have camped at Rocky Mountain
Recreation Area and
James H Floyd State Park, both beautiful places to stay.
If you are looking for full hookups and activities,
Creek Park near
is the place to stay.
There are two
Ridge Ferry Park, and they are both awesome!
Fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, etc.
Ridge Ferry Park provides access
to the Oostanaula, Etowah, and Coosa Rivers. You can go all
the way to the Gulf of Mexico by canoe from here.
The Heritage Trail run just down
the hill from the museum. You can park in one of Ridge Ferry
Park's lots, then ride your bike or walk the short distance
to the museum. You can also ride or walk the Heritage Trail
through Rome, across old bridges, and on the levees.
Ridge Ferry Park, Heritage Trail (walking and bike
path), Heritage Park, Rocky Mountain Recreation Area,
James H Floyd State Park,
Etowah Indian Mounds (Creek/Muskogee), and much more...
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only the amenities we have personally reviewed.
No financial consideration or favor has been received for
listing in PB&J Adventures' website. We are in no way
affiliated with this facility or any other facility we
review. Any paid advertising seen on this site was arranged
after the destination was reviewed. You can trust the
reviews to be unbiased.