Allatoona was considered both an agricultural community and transportation crossroads established along Allatoona Creek at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains and best known for the battle of Allatoona Pass. The community was dotted with several farming plantations typical of the time. Being a Western & Atlantic Railroad stop and on the main road toward Atlanta, pre and post war times in Allatoona were bustling. John Clayton was one of the earliest settlers who became wealthy in land and slaves. The area had dry good stores, blacksmiths, a depot and post office, all on the east side of Allatoona creek. The Allatoona post office existed from 1838 to 1918. The Clayton-Mooney home, circa 1836, is the only structure still standing that is a reminder of days gone by. Bullet holes and blood stains that are still visible remind us of the homes use as union headquarters and hospital during the battle. Prior to the Civil War, the area had been part of the Gold Rush days. It is also told that a silver mine was nearby.
Making a final attempt to drive Union forces from Georgia following the Battle of Atlanta, Confederate General Hood ordered troops to Allatoona with orders to fill the deep cut and destroy the railroad lines preventing Union forces under General Sherman from continuing his March to the Sea. The morning of October 5, 1864 proved to be a defeat for the tattered and worn Confederates trying to complete the task. Blood, tears, broken homes, death, but also
pride remains saturated in the red clay of the Georgia foothills at Allatoona.
After the smoke had settled and years marched on, Allatoona continued to progress. J. L.
Armstrong, a builder of several homes and stores in the Acworth area, settled his family in a lovely Victorian home he built in 1894. He also ran Armstrong General Store. His competition, William McMichen had a store just across the road. Mr. McMichen was raising his family in the old Clayton House. John Clayton had a nephew that rode with Doc Holliday’s outlaw gang. It is said that the nephew hid out a while at the Clayton House. Mr. McMichen had a son named Clayton who became a famous fiddler and played with the Georgia Wildcats. He later had a star placed in his honor on Nashville’s Walk of Fame.
A quaint, primitive style Universalist church was built in Allatoona around 1910. Several of the founders are buried there in the cemetery. This was also used as a schoolhouse until the WPA built a new school a half mile south and east of the railroad. Growth soon demanded more schools in nearby Emerson and Acworth.
Allatoona Creek became a lake in in the 1940-50’s and this also spurred the construction of Allatoona Landing and Marina. Subsequent additions such as a beach, campground and cabins have taken place. Luckily, the lake construction did not harm or destroy the deep cut and the fortifications still standing from the the Civil War battle. Hundreds of people today find the still, serene area a must see on their trips up and down Interstate 75 only a mile away. Through joint efforts of the Etowah Valley Historical Society and the Corps of Engineers in the
1990’s, preservation of the battlefield was accomplished. Presently the park is managed and maintained by Red Top Mountain State Park.
Source: Diane Mooney, Allatoona Resident.