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The Story of Helen

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Living on the Unicoi Road

Living on the Unicoi Road
The Story of Helen Georgia
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Reflective residents of Helen, Georgia have long said, “You know, this has been an interesting place!” They’ve been right.  For starters, the Helen valley sits at the intersection of an ancient Indian trading path, a very rich section of the Georgia Gold Belt and the Chattahoochee River which made the pioneer century an eventful one.

However, modern visitors are usually most interested in how Helen became Georgia's Alpine Village, and then want to know where the name “Helen” came from.  Each of these is a tale unto itself. 

The Alpine story is one of ambition and initiative, laced with comedy, misadventure, surprising success. Helen's early Alpine days were something special, which unfortunately ended with a dose of untimely tragedy.

If anything, the founding of Helen in 1911-13 was more bold and ambitious than the town's Alpine conversion. Helen was the work of outsiders who, like the miners of old, sought riches in the Georgia hills. And

This, along with the rest of Helen’s first century as a modern city are the focus of The Story of Helen Georgia, a new book which presents for the first time Helen’s lovely namesake and her life story, along with the surprising series of events which gave rise to the town.


The Story of Helen, Georgia

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Main Street Helen After wandering among the Bavarian buildings and perhaps enjoying the revelry of Oktoberfest, many visitors naturally ask how Helen became “Georgia’s Alpine Village.”  There’s a tale behind the architecture, of course, and it's recounted here. 

The next question is "Who was Helen?”  It took a while to figure this out, but The Story of Helen Georgia also presents for the first time the life-story of its long mysterious namesake.  And in seeking Miss Helen it became apparent that the full account of the founding of Helen has never been known in its entirety.   Among other things, the town as we know it wouldn’t exist and certainly wouldn’t be named “Helen” if not for:

Who is Helen?

The Story of Helen Georgia presents for the first time a full account of the founding of Helen over 100 years ago.  Using first hand accounts and other original sources, it then revisits the muddy streets of a wild and sometimes dangerous boomtown that literally mushroomed in a remote valley that’d long been home to only a few mountaineer families and many acres of corn.



Living On the Unicoi Road

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Historical ProgressionThe popular tourist town of Helen is one of the most visited places in Georgia. Through interviews with "old-timers" and years of research, Helen's and the surrounding Nacoochee Valley's colorful past, before its companion book, THE STORY OF HELEN, is recounted in UNICOI ROAD.

From its begining at a long-abandoned and all-but-forgotten pioneer cemetery, UNICOI ROAD sets off on a three-centuries-long odyssey through the Helen valley and across much of North Georgia. The region was the wild domain of panthers, Indians, traders, and soldiers for a hundred years until the Unicoi Road was begun in 1813. The next century belonged to the pioneers and gold miners whose story is told for the first time. Comer Vandiver in England Cemetery

With over 50 pictures and illustrations, UNICOI ROAD is a virtual front porch where one can sit and watch a long-lost tale of the north Georgia mountains unfold. The story does not end there, though, for the author. It follows the threads of the past to find them still being woven into the evolving tapestry of modern life in the beautiful northeast Georgia mountains.


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