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LaFayette
Tuesday, March 25, 2014    |   

Location: About 30 miles south of Chattanooga in the heart of Walker County, Ga.

Size: 8.1 square miles

Population: 7,121

Founded: Sept. 30, 1835

Government: Andy Arnold is mayor. City Council members are Beacher Garmany, Ben Bradford, Chris Davis, Judy Meeks and Wayne Swanson.

Schools: Rock Spring Elementary, North LaFayette Elementary, Gilbert Elementary, Naomi Elementary, LaFayette Sixth-Grade Academy, LaFayette Middle, LaFayette High

Attraction: The Chattooga Academy. This two-story antebellum brick schoolhouse on North Main Street served as Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s headquarters from Sept. 10-17, 1863. Bragg reportedly prepared for the Battle of Chickamauga under a large oak tree in front of the building; the tree, later known as Bragg’s Oak, was destroyed during a storm in the 1920s.

Fun fact: Country superstar Johnny Cash said he stopped doing drugs after being jailed in LaFayette in 1967 for knocking on doors in the middle of the night while drunkenly searching for Civil War relics. Cash said the talk he had with then-Walker County Sheriff Ralph Jones was the “turning point of it all.” (Cash was treated for drug addiction later in life.)

Famous resident: Confederate Gen. John Brown Gordon moved to the LaFayette area at age 8. The Gordon family built a resort hotel near a spring thought to have medicinal properties. A statue of Gordon on horseback stands in front of the Gold Dome, the state capitol in Atlanta.

“There are a lot of things to do. Whether you’re interested in the Civil War or want a small-town experience.” — Virgil Sperry, Walker County tourism advocate