Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Vogel State Park's 75th Anniversary
Through seventy-five years of providing a get-away for tourists seeking rejuvenation from nature and a time apart to enjoy relaxation and mountain living for a day, a week or more, Vogel State Park, second oldest of Georgia's state parks, is one of the most popular of the sixty-three now in operation.
In 1931 two state parks, Indian Springs and Vogel, were joined to create the Georgia State Parks System. This year, 2006, marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of Georgia's State Parks. Union County is proud to be numbered among those in Georgia with the next-to-oldest park.
Exploring the history of Vogel and seeing how things worked together, even when America was in the throes of the Great Depression, is nothing less than amazing.
got its name from the donors of a gift of sixteen acres on
Then, during World War I, a synthetic tannin acid was perfected, and the tedious process of getting the acid needed from Georgia's forests saved the company much money. Furthermore, it preserved the forests from destruction. What would the Vogels do with the vast landholdings in Georgia and elsewhere?
To the initial sixteen acres donated by the Vogels, another gift of 248 acres was given to the state of Georgia specified for Vogel State Forest Park. Somewhere along the line, the term "Forest" was dropped and the name of this second-oldest park in Georgia became Vogel, after the initial donors. The Vogels had built a meeting place which they called the "Tea Room" at the top of Neel Gap. This was incorporated into the Walisi-yi Inn, built of native stones, and used now as a supply store and stop along the Appalachian Trail. It once was a popular restaurant at the top of the mountain, with a magnificent panoramic view of the mountains to the south.
Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began the
Civilian Conservation Corps in an effort to provide jobs to young men
without work. A
To honor these
men of the Civilian Conservation Crops, Vogel State Park is the scene
To celebrate seventy-five years of Georgia's State Parks, Georgia Public Broadcasting is airing a documentary entitled "Sites to Behold: The History of Georgia's State Parks." The premier showing is Wednesday, July 26 at 8 p. m. (past when you read this). However, encore showings will be aired on Friday, July 28 at 7:00 p. m, and Sunday, July 30 at 6 p. m. It will be worth your viewing time to tune in and enjoy this walk through history. Billy Townsend, retired Chief Historian of Georgia State Parks, in his inimitable way, opens with fascinating stories about how over three million people visited the various parks during his tenure as Parks historian.
Mists rise over Blood Mountain that towers over Vogel State Park. Legends are told about the blood of Cherokees and Creeks that mingled in an Indian war on the mountain to turn the waters of Wolf Creek blood-red as it flowed downward.
are nearby for avid hikers: The Appalachian Trail can be accessed at
Walisi-yi on top of Neel Gap; the Byron Herbert Reece Trail honors
When the sun rises or sets above Lake Tralyta, rainbows of beauty are reflected in its still waters. Programs throughout the year offered at this next-to-oldest and most popular park reflect the cultural and natural history of the area. Right here within Union County we have one of the most cherished of Georgia's resources. Let us celebrate seventy-five years of its continued service to help rejuvenate people. Within its acres of beauty is our own "fountain of youth."
Ethelene Dyer Jones; published July 27, 2006 in The Union Sentinel,
Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and
historian. She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone
478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA