History of Our Rivers


Archaic Period (6000 BC – 700 AD): Native Americans established v-shaped rock structures throughout the length of the Etowah River, known as fish weirs.  The v-shape was pointed downstream, channeling fish through an opening at the point – where a basket was placed for easy fishing. 

1000 A.D. to 1550 A.D: The Etowah Indian Mounds were home to several thousands of Native Americans.  Now the most intact Mississippian culture site in the Southeast, the village contains 6 earthen mounds that acted as political, religious, and living centers.

1865: Pictured below is the Etowah River Bridge from 1865. During the Civil War, many camps were established in the area to train troops. Two of the largest were Camp Felton, near Cartersville, home to Smith’s Legion, among others, and Camp Foster at the Etowah River Bridge near Etowah Station.”

1930s-1940s: The origins of the NASCAR organization?   During this time in Dawsonville, GA, races between local moonshine runners was a common occurrence.    What is now Lake Allatoona was once farmland – some of which belonged to John Henry Hardin, “the Moonshine King of Georgia.”

1947: Construction began on Allatoona Dam – marking the end of frequent flooding that plagued the city of Rome, GA.


1540: Chief Tuskaloosa & de Soto fought for control of the resource rich Coosa Valley. The Battle of Maliba was narrowly won by the Spaniards and is still known to be one of the bloodiest battles in North American history.

1717: The French established Fort Toulouse at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa. The Creeks would peacefully trade with the French and English for the next four decades.

1813 – 1814: American frontiersmen and Native Americans fought what is known as the Creek War, part of a larger conflict – the War of 1812. Ultimately it would decide the fate of Alabama. The war ended with the Treaty of Fort Jackson.

1923: The 1920s roared for Alabama Power Company. In 1923, construction of Mitchell Dam was completed. In 1929 it was joined by Jordan Dam (pictured below), which flooded the Coosa’s most infamous rapids, Devil’s Staircase.

1890: The United States cancelled all mail contracts with riverboats on the Coosa turning them over to the railroads. As other means of transportation became more readily available, fewer and fewer people cared about opening the Coosa to navigation. Competition from the railroads locked steamboats into the same hopeless cycle, and by the late 1930’s only a few steamers were left.


1886: Water crested twelve feet above flood stage levels in downtown Rome, GA.  The flooding was so severe that the only way to traverse the streets was by way of boat. 

1888: The Robert Redden foot bridge in downtown Rome, GA was completed to carry locomotives of the Chattanooga, Rome, & Columbus Railroad

2002: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources began releasing fingerling lake sturgeon into the Coosa River system, many of them along the Oostanaula.

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Rome, GA 30161

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