215 Clisby Austin Road
Historic Treasures Awaiting
Discovery. . .
Explore the early heritage of Tunnel Hill, a small community just 10 miles north of Dalton in northwest Georgia. Native Americans, early settlers, the railroad and Civil War soldiers all left their mark in the land and with its people.
Displays include a timeline of the 1850 Western and Atlantic Railroad Tunnel restoration, Civil War artifacts from local family ancestry, Chenille bedspreads reminiscent of the glory days of the Old Dixie Highway that came through Tunnel Hill in the mid-1900's, and more.
Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel
Built to connect the Port of Augusta to the Tennessee River Valley, the tunnel through
the Chetoogeta Mountain was to be part of the first railroad across the Appalachian Mountains, and open trade between the eastern coast region and the upper Midwest.
Construction began on the tunnel in 1848, during which the city of Tunnel Hill sprung up from people moving here to supply accommodations to the railway workers. The tunnel, which spans 1,477 feet, was dug through the base of the mountain.
On May 9, 1850, the first Western and Atlantic train passed through the mountain tunnel and the new town of Atlanta became one of the railway’ s major hubs.
The tunnel became part of several historical events during the Civil War, before heavy railroad traffic and larger train cars getting stuck in the tunnel led to the building of a larger parallel tunnel, ending the use of the tunnel in 1928.
Clisby Austin House
Built in 1848 by the house's namesake, the Clisby Austin house is a prime example of the ante-bellum style of housing. It has experienced several interesting events since its construction, primarily during the Civil War.
The house served as a hospital during the battle of Chickamauga. It was here that Confederate General John Hood was sent to recuperate after the amputation of his leg, which accompanied him along his journey (so it could be buried with him in case he died). The leg is buried near the house. The house also served as headquarters to William Sherman during the Battle of Dalton and it has been said that Sherman planned the final legs of the Atlanta Campaign here.
The Austin family cemetery is located on a hill across from the house. Rebecca, mother of Clisby, has the only remaining headstone. It is believed that as many as 17 family members are buried there.
The house is currently a private residence, but visitors may view the home all around from the picket fence. The springhouse is just a rock's throw from the house adds to the character of this antebellum heritage site.
Civil War Reenactment
The cannons blast, the horses charge, the soldiers give the Rebel yell as they clash in authentic conflict on the historic grounds of Tunnel Hill! This special event brings to life a past of good times coupled with harsh reality. There's nothing like it!