NEW ENGLAND (GEORGIA) WAS NAMED FOR ITS PIONEERS
BY LEE FORESTER
TAKEN FROM THE DADE COUNTY TIMES, 1938
I will try to write a brief sketch of this immediate community, known today as New England.
In the years gone by, I remember it as one of the best agriculture districts in the county. Large crops of wheat, oats and corn were planted each year and with few exceptions, a bountiful harvest was gathered. The barns were filled with red clover and other kinds of hay, and I remember the numerous straw stacks standing here and there after the wheat had been threshed.
We pass to another picture; I remember an energetic and ambitious young man with a crew of laborers, going to the hills east of New England and opening up and mining the iron ore which was and is yet in abundance. Ere long, tunnels were driven into the hills narrow gage railroads were constructed, and iron ore was hauled in tram cars to a point on the westside of the hill and to the eastside of Squirrel Town Creek. The A.G.S. railroad Company in the meantime, had built a sidetrack extending from a point where the shed now stands, to the tram road mentioned.
With this amount of enterprise and industry a building was erected north of the shed and on the eastside of the railroad, which was used for an office, commissary and as a depot. Until my memory is refreshed, I will call this place Morrison for the young man of whom I speak is my friend and your friend, and although he has grown old we still know him as “Bud” Morrison.
I would that I might continue on the topics I have mentioned instead of the strife and excitement which followed and was known as the “Boon Days.”
A number of citizens thought to interest northern capital in the iron ore which lay dormant in the ridges and deposit of shale on Sand Mountain hoping that these Yankees with their money would build a town and develop our resources.
I believe it was in the later part of 1888 that W.G. Morrison, G.J. McCollum (and I would not forget to mention our old friend, John McMahan) went to Boston and brought down a host of New England men headed by Governor Farnum.
The New Englanders soon had things going, and not a town but a “city” was surveyed, plotted and mapped. Lots for public buildings and a large space for an iron ore furnace was reserved and manufacturing cities were mapped out. Residence lots, business lots, and a real city was soon built on paper. In the meantime houses were being erected, some for permanent dwelling, and some, as I learned later, for show. The bank building looked fine built of red brick, and the hotel beautifully furnished and well equipped was something to brag about. I for one, regret – was called Hotel Dade, demolished. There was also a printing office known as the Record Building.
In 1889, whatever name we had was changed to New England City. Town lots were sold at auction and bids were received by telegraph, letter and in person. The sale days were well advertised, and there was much excitement in the community.
But alas one day we learned that our New England friends had returned to their homeland, the boom was all over, and so was the shouting.
Today the farm lands are being cultivated again and the streets and avenues are being rebuilt. Soil Conservation crops are being sown, and perhaps we may again see large straw stacks on every farm.(Used by permission History of Dade County, Georgia, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, 1981.)