Cartersville reminds visitors it's not Atlanta
Welcome to Cartersville, Ga.; it's not Atlanta.
That's the slogan created in 1996 during the Atlanta Olympics to attract more business to the quaint town. It worked, said Ellen Archer, the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau director.
"So many small towns have melted into Atlanta," Archer said. "We're not so close that we don't have our own identity."
Just a few miles off the busy Interstate 75, Cartersville offers attractions for water sport athletes, art enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The popular 12,000-acre Allatoona Lake attracts campers and water-skiers from all over the region, Archer said.
Both the Booth Western Art Museum and the Tellus Science Museum draw many visitors to the area.
The Booth has the largest permanent collection of Western art in the country and the only collection of hand-signed documents by all the U.S. presidents, Archer said.
Cartersville also has a downtown area that offers unique restaurants and stores.
The Four-way, a popular restaurant built at a four-way stop, has a short counter with 12 seats, and the owners have never owned a telephone, Archer said. One of the most popular items is the local favorite -- gravy burgers.
Visitors to the area also can explore the ancient past at the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, an archaeological site along the banks of the Etowah River.
The 54-acre site was home to several thousand Native Americans from 1000 to 1500 A.D., during the Mississippian Period. The largest mound stands more than 63 feet high and covers three acres.
AT A GLANCE
• Population: 40,000.
• Best places to visit: Tellus Science Museum, Booth Western Art Museum, Barnsley Gardens Resort in nearby Adairsville.
• Biggest employers: Shaw Industries; Toyo Tires; Plant Bowen, owned by Georgia Power.
• Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 75.
• Landmarks or geographic features: Allatoona Lake, Cooper's Furnace Trail, Etowah Indian Mounds.
• Date founded: 1850.
• Historic info: Before Cartersville was founded, the area was known as Birmingham. Col. Farrish Carter, who owned plantations in Chatsworth and Milledgeville, was a frequent traveler across the state route to Rome, Ga. Carter suggested the town should be named Cartersville and it has been ever since.
• Most-famous residents: Baseball star Rudy York; Baptist missionary Lottie Moon; Robert Benham, Georgia's first black Supreme Court chief justice; actor Wayne Knight, who played Newman in the TV show "Seinfeld."
• Unique traditions: The Kiddy Day Parade, where kids dress up in costumes and parade through Main Street every year in the third week of September. Parents dress up, too.
• Fun fact: The first Coca-Cola outdoor wall advertisement was painted on the east wall of the Young Brothers Pharmacy in 1894. When the sign was restored a century later, the painter forgot to write the "i" in "drink" and it had to be added later on a slant.