Cleveland, Ga.: Birthplace of Cabbage Patch Kids

Cleveland, Ga.: Birthplace of Cabbage Patch Kids

September 18th, 2011 by Joan Garrett McClane in Glimpse 2011

GAGL Cleveland Cabbage patch 2

One of the most well-known legends in Cleveland, Ga., begins with magic cabbage.

As the story goes, an area boy named Xavier Roberts found a mystical animal called Bunnybees pollinating cabbages with enchanted crystals behind a waterfall and watched as babies peeked out of the vegetables.

He named them Cabbage Patch Kids, and Babyland General Hospital was built on 650 acres in Cleveland to protect them until someone came to adopt them.

For more than 30 years, children and adults from around the world have visited Babyland General Hospital to name a Cabbage Patch Kid and take one home from the nurses and doctors who care of them at the hospital as newborns.

"It is amazing that over the years, it has remained as popular as it is," said Judy Walker, president of the White County Chamber of Commerce. "People who got babies [as children] have brought their children, and now those children have brought their children."

The popularity of the fabric dolls was at its height in the 1980s, but Cabbage Patch Kids is one of the longest-running doll franchises in the U.S.

Die-hard fans and collectors come to find hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind dolls that can't be bought in stores, but children love getting caught up in the fantasy story. If their doll gets damaged, they send it back to the hospital for surgery or bath camp for cleanup.

Not far from Babyland General Hospital, families also can visit the North Georgia Zoo and Petting Farm, home of Wildlife Wonders.

Located on 30 acres of wooded land and pastures, Wildlife Wonders houses 80 species of exotic animals, including alligators, monkeys, kangaroos, wildcats and zebras.

The petting zoo on Paradise Valley Farm allows children to play with miniature farm animals such as a rare miniature zeru cow and a silky chicken.

AT A GLANCE

• Population: 2,859.

• Best things to do/places to visit: Babyland General Hospital.

• Biggest employers: Walmart, Ingles, Frieudenberg-NOK.

• Miles from downtown Chattanooga: 130 miles.

• Landmarks or geographic features: Mount Yonah in Cleveland is the tallest free-standing mountain in White County at 3,150 feet. It got its name from the Cherokee Indians. Yonah means bear because, in the distance, the mountain looks like a bear. The Chattahoochee River runs through White County.

• Date founded: Aug. 18, 1870.

• Historic info: Nearly two centuries ago, the city began as a small agricultural center in western Habersham County. Cleveland was officially established in 1857 as Mount Yonah. For the next 100 years, White County remained chiefly agrarian.

• Most-famous residents: Xavier Roberts, the founder of Babyland.

• Unique traditions: Cleveland is home to the annual Easter Eggstravaganza celebration, the Christmas in the Mountains and Lighted Christmas Parade, and the Fall Leaf Festival.

• Fun fact: Nearby Helen, Ga., has the longest-running Octoberfest in the Southeast. It lasts from the last weekend in September to the first weekend in November.