PRESENT ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE PREDICTIONS
BY RED TOWNSEND
TAKEN FROM DADE COUNTY TIMES, APRIL 28, 1938
When a hundred years of proud history in her wake, Dade County and her people are to be congratulated. As native sons and daughters of her soil, we all have the same feeling of pride because of her.
In writing about her, I, too would like to dwell on her earlier history. I love to think of the pioneers of this soil; of the coming of the railroads; of the slow, but steady march of progress culminating in our present state of civilization, culture and progressive achievements; of our ancestors from whom our fiber is woven, and we, like them, frequently engaging in strife among ourselves, but always joining hands in the common cause of repulsing and invasion from without, as well as furthering the general welfare of our people within.
But all these things have dealt with ably by others whose writings appear in these columns. Others, who from age, memory and training, are much more qualified to tell the story than I. I shall therefore endeavor to briefly discuss the present and near future, rather than dwelling on our glorious past.
Today the citizens of Dade County may with a feeling of pride invite the people of the outside world to come to Dade County and make their homes. We can tell them without fear of impunity that our county is in the State of Georgia. In the Sate of Georgia, because the long hoped for and often dreamed of highway from our neighboring city of LaFayette, the county seat of our adjoining county of Walker to our own county seat, the town of Trenton, is now partially completed; part of the remainder under active construction, and will have attained a stage by the end of the year, 1938, where traffic will be open on this highway, so that the rest of Georgia can come in Dade County without crossing a state line. This achievement will be of mutual benefit both to the people of Georgia, for though it is the people of Dade County for purposes both of business and pleasure can use the convenience of this road in going to other points of Georgia without crossing a state line, on the other hand, think of the marvelous privilege being accorded to the other people of Georgia by the construction of this road in making it possible for them to come into Dade County – the Shenandoah of the Southland – without having to cross the line of any other state.
We can invite people from other states to make their homes in Dade, a county of Georgia, because here “home will be what the term is real meant to imply; the castle of the home owner where his family and himself will be secure in his home and household effects from the tax gatherer. E. D. Rivers, the Governor of Georgia, has said: “No government can be great that exists on taxes levied on the homes and household effects of its people.” The present and future home owners and householders of Georgia will immortalize these words.
The people of Dade County are therefore in position to invite the present inhabitants of all other states generally to make their homes in the shadow of the shrine of Dixie, Lookout Mountain. We are particularly in position to invite all our former residents who are our relations and friends to return to the land of their fathers and make their fathers and make their homes in a county that has now, or soon will have, to offer every civic and industrial advantage that can be gained elsewhere
That portion of the highway from Chattanooga to Birmingham located in Dade county will by the end of the year, 1939, be paved. This is no longer a faint hope or fond dream, but is rapidly taking the shape of a reality. Approximately the sum of $150,000. Before these contracts are completed, another contract will be let for the expenditure of approximately $150,000, which will finish the grading, cherting and bridging necessary for the completion of the highway. Shortly after July 1,1938, the beginning of the next fiscal year will see a contract let for paving the north half of this highway. The south hof will be paved in the year 1939, as soon as possible after the grading, cherting and bridging has been completed. When this road is completed, it will represent the expenditure of approximately one million dollars.
Of the six-cent tax levied per gallon gasoline, one cent thereof is apportioned to the several counties of the state, each county getting such portion as its State Aid Mile-age related to the total mileage of the system of the highway department of Georgia. Until September 1, 1937, the total State Aid Highway Mileage located in Dade County was that portion of U. S. 11 from Chattanooga to Birmingham that is located in our county approximately 24 miles. From this mileage Dade County only drew from the state the sum of approximately $6,000 per year to be used for the purpose of defraying the cost of the county government. On or about September 1, 1937, the State Highway Board of Georgia put that portion of the Scenic Highway, the road on the West Brow of Lookout Mountain leading from Chattanooga to Gadsden, that is located in Dade County. This means that not only will the road be taken off of the county maintenance and the expenses and upkeep thereof placed on the state, but it also means that the road will, during the course of this summer be put in condition for all weather travel. In addition to these distinct advantages to the people of Dade County, the putting of this road on the State Aid System also adds approximately 36 miles to the State Aid Highway Mileage of Dade County, resulting in Dade County receiving approximately $9,000, more form the State, making a total of approximately $15,000, per year that Dade County receives from the State of Georgia to go toward defraying the expenses of the county government and resulting in local tax reductions.
When the road from La Fayette to Trenton is opened for traffic by the end of this year an additional ten miles will be put on the system, and this will result in the county receiving approximately $2,500, more from the state to be used toward a further reduction of local taxes now on the people of Dade County.
In extending our invitation to our former residents to return to Dade County and to the people of other states to make their homes here, we must not overlook telling them that our county is located in a state that accepts the responsibility of the education of her youth In the year 1937, the hundredth year of the history of our county; the General Assembly of Georgia passed a law, sponsored by Governor E. D. Rivers, providing for uniform pay for teachers in the rural and urban schools of the state alike,. The law also provides for the state to pay the operating costs of every public school in the state for seven months in each year. With this law of force, the counties can maintain the school for one month , the local school districts for one month, and all the school children of the state, whether living in the most populous city districts or the most remote rural section, will have equal educational advantages. All will have nine months school in each year.
We should also remember to tell our friends that poverty is no longer an impediment to education in Georgia and Dade County. It costs no more for a child to go to school that it does to remain at home. In both instances the child must eat and wear clothes, and since the advent of the good year of 1937, the State of Georgia furnishes every child with the necessary school books from the kindergarten through the high school.
In inviting people to make their homes in our county, we should remind them that our county is located in a state that accepts the responsibility of the health of its people and makes all proper provisions to safeguard against disease. The General Assembly of 1937, appropriated for health work in the State of Georgia the sum of $600,000, more than a half a million over and above the amount that had heretofore been spent annually to safeguard the health of the people of this state.
We should also remind the outside world that while sufficient time has not yet elapsed for us to see locally substantial improvements in this respect, yet due to an Act of the Legislature of 1937, Georgia has accepted the post roads and farm-to-market roads located within her borders as her responsibility, and there is accumulated the credit of Dade County in this fund now the sum of approximately $4,000, which sum is being added to in due course, awaiting such time as sufficient funds will accumulate to justify the launching of an appreciable project of construction.
In recommendeing Dade County to outside world as haven for home owners, we should not overlook the important feature that Dade County is in a State and Nation that has accepted the responsibility of the sad plight of the aged unemployable needy, who upon attaining the age of 65 years, finds himself in need of aid and unable to secure or work at gainful employment. While the state has not been able to adequately finance this program so that all such persons may receive this aid, yet the start has been made; the responsibility has been accepted, and in the future a way will be found to shoulder the burdens of the aged for them. We should also remember to state that our county is located in a State and Nation that extends aid to blind, crippled and dependent children. A part of the culmination of our progress is that no longer is the government of our state and nation a cold and cruel mechanism, protecting only property and property rights, but today, the government of our state and nation is one that puts humanity ahead of money and power.
The hundred years of the past history is an epoch of which we are justly proud because during those years, we have been fighting our way to the surface. Our ancestors deserve more credit than that to which we are entitled, because the obstacles of the years of the War between the States and the period of Reconstruction presented a more insurmountable appearance than any with which we moderns have been confronted. But they, having fought the battles for us and presented to us a county “above the surface” we should take advantage not only of all they have done for us, but of all the opportunities that the present is presenting to us, and see to it that more progress is had in Dade County within the next four years than we were privileged to have during the past hundred years.
I predict that due to the homestead and household and kitchen furniture exemptions now of force in the State of Georgia, the population of Dade County will within the next four years be increased 40 percent by former residents returning and new people from other states locating here for the purpose of availing themselves of the benefit of these laws. I predict the liquidation of the Georgia Minerals Co., or Newsom Lands resulting in the payment of the taxes thereon, in the opening of the coal mines and in these lands located on the top of Sand Mountain being subdivided and converted into farm homes. I predict the development of a state park in and about Sitton’s Gulch, the “Grand Canyon of Georgia,” and the most beautiful spot in America. I predict the construction of a road east and west through Dade county from the Alabama State line on Sand Mountain to the Walker County line on Lookout Mountain, which will be a part of the state highway system, and will continue from the Alabama line to the South Carolina State line. I predict pavement of the part of the Scenic Highway on Lookout Mountain that is in Georgia, and that the state system will be so revised as to connect the Lookout Mountain Hotel in Dade County with Cloudland in Chattooga County. I predict the construction of a grade crossing separation either an overpass or an underpass in the town of Trenton, which will be a part of the road from LaFayette to Trenton. Plans are already being made for this construction. I further predict that U.S. 11 from Tennessee State line to the Alabama State line will be fully paved by the expiration of the year 1939, and will be paved from the Tennessee State line to Trenton by the expiration of the year 1938.
The hand of fate had dealt us these cards. If we fail to accomplish these things within the next four years, it is because we, the people of Dade county, fail to play the cards thus dealt us to our best advantage.(Used by permission History of Dade County Georgia, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, 1981).