As the sesquicentennial (150year commemoration of the Civil War) winds down next year, the assets in our community will remain an historic draw for years to come.
When the Dalton 150th Civil War Commission convened five years ago to lay out a strategy to highlight our Civil War heritage, the task seemed daunting. Many significant historic sites lay in our community and the sesquicentennial provided only 4 years to highlight these assets.
The Dalton Civil War 150th Commission began to develop a strategy determining to work with existing events, such as the Civil War show at the convention center in February and the Battle of Tunnel Hill reenactment in September. In addition to the existing events, the 150th Commission determined it important to acknowledge annual special events highlighting historic happenings 150 years prior. The first special event took place in 2012 with the 150th anniversary of the Great Locomotive Chase (1862) with a guided bus tour visiting three key areas in our county where the chase took place. In 2013 the special event featured a self-guided tour on Civilian Life in Civil War Dalton in 1863 highlighting five sites in and around Dalton. Most recently a commemoration of the Atlanta Campaign that started in North Georgia in 1864 was highlighted with a guided bus tour of six significant sights in our county, all of which played a role in the campaign. Three of these sites were newly obtained, developed and opened to the public.
To produce these events the Civil War 150th required partnerships to help provide effective programing and information dissemination. The Bandy Heritage Center provided a lecture series to complement the Civil War shows in February, an Atlanta Campaign bus tour in 2014, and a series of lectures throughout the sesquicentennial. Additionally a well-received ongoing series of articles was published by the Dalton Daily Citizen informing readers of people, events and places in Dalton during the war years. A publication of Dalton’s Civil War history will be the culmination in 2015.
The Civil War 150th Commission consisting of approximately 30 volunteers under the leadership of Dr. Jim Burran is to be congratulated and thanked for their ongoing commitment to bringing history to life during the sesquicentennial.
As the sesquicentennial comes to a close in April 2015 (1865) the CVB will continue to promote Dalton’s Civil War heritage to visitors. This includes marketing sites and providing information to visitors to experience and learn history by “being there.” According to market research, heritage tourism visitors leave more money per day than other visitors so the marketing by the CVB will generate a great economic impact for our community in our restaurants, hotels and retailers. And maybe those visitors will even learn a little something along the way!