An area once called the "Enchanted Land" by the Cherokee Indians, Dalton, Georgia, is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is the 24th-largest city in Georgia and is the county seat for Whitfield County. Dalton is home to more than 33,000 residents, with a diverse population. More than 40 percent of residents are of Hispanic origin. The estimated median household income is significantly lower than that of the state.
Considered today to be the "Carpet Capital of the World," Dalton is home to a large number of manufacturers of floor coverings.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city accommodates about 10,300 houses with an occupancy rate of 95 percent. Out of these occupied houses, renters occupy about half.
Dalton's residential areas include suburban neighborhoods, in-town lofts, mountainside retreats and cabins, golf course living and retirement communities.
Downtown Dalton offers a mix of charming local boutiques and restaurants with attractions from the Civil War era. Visitors can dine in a historic train depot that once saw action during the Great Locomotive Train Chase; shop along Peacock Alley which features historic facades; or see a performance at the Wink Theatre.
Whether it's the Arts Guild for original artistic creations or the Market Street shops in town, one is sure to enjoy a day of window-shopping in town. You can find antique shops, gift shops, and clothing stores throughout Dalton. There is also the Walnut Square Mall offering a greater selection of commercial stores.
With the area's major industry being carpet and flooring manufacturers, it is no surprise that there are also a number of flooring and carpeting outlets.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
As the "Carpet Capital of the World," the floor covering industry continues to be a major contributor to Dalton's economy. The industry grew out of the tufting of quilts that originated in Dalton in the early days of the automobile industry. It is estimated that 90 percent of all carpet produced in the United States is made within 65 miles of Dalton.
More than 30 percent of Dalton's labor force works in the carpet and floor coverings manufacturing industry. Some of the most well-known manufacturers in the area are:
- Mohawk, a carpeting and floor covering manufacturer.
- Beaulieu of America, a carpeting and flooring manufacturer specializing in Berber and indoor/outdoor floor coverings.
- Shaw Industries, a manufacturer and wholesaler of woven and tufted broadloom carpeting.
- North Georgia Electric Corp., an electric services company.
- Textile Rubber and Chemical Co., rubber, latex, and polyurethane compounds manufacturer
- J and J Industries Inc., a commercial carpeting manufacturer
- Tandus Groups Inc., a manufacturer of three kinds of carpeting used in businesses, schools, hospitals and governmental buildings worldwide.
Education and health care are other important business sectors in Dalton, due largely to the presence of Dalton State College and Hamilton Medical Center.
Dalton offers post-secondary education options:
- Dalton State College: Founded as Dalton Junior College in July 1963, this state school is part of the University System of Georgia. More than 4,500 commuter students study at "DSC," as the school is called locally. The college offer's bachelor's and associate's degrees, as well as certificate programs.
- Dalton Beauty College: This school offers programs in cosmetology, nail technology, and instructor teaching techniques.
- Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame: More than three-dozen of Georgia's most successful high school athletics coaches are commemorated here with bronze plaques, sculptures and biographies.
- The Emery Center: This site was Dalton's first public school building when it was built in 1886. The school, which served Dalton and surrounding communities, catered primarily to local African American children. Today, it is an African American historical site, museum and multicultural center. The Emery Center hosts several annual events, including theater productions and a masquerade ball.
- Roland Hayes Museum: This museum is devoted to the life and work of Roland Hayes, the first African-American classical singer to launch an international concert and opera career. Visitors can view photographs, memorabilia and videos and listen to some of Hayes' music at this museum in nearby Calhoun, Hayes' birthplace.>
- Dalton Ghost Tours: These tours explore local buildings that are believed to be haunted and feature reenactments based on newspaper stories and other historical records. Visitors can learn about Dalton's unsolved Depression-era ax murder and a deadly Civil War-era snowball fight.
- Chickamauga National Military Park: The bloodiest two-day battle of the Civil War was fought at Chickamauga in September 1863. More than 35,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing. A walking tour features markers and monuments placed by states after the war.
Dalton hosts several events each year:
- Chickamauga Civil War Show: An annual convention offering a wide range of Civil War relics for sale by dealers from across the country.
- Annual North Georgia Bead, Gem Mineral, and Jewelry Show: This annual event features jewelry makers, goldsmiths and silversmiths from all over the country who can reconstruct, repair, design or make original jewelry from customer selected gems, stones, opals and crystals.
- Conasauga Bluegrass Festival: An annual bluegrass festival held at Poteet Farm each fall.
- North Georgia Agricultural Fair: This family-friendly fair is more than 60 years old. Attendees can enjoy thrilling rides, great food, and live performances featuring local entertainers.
- Creative Arts Guild Festival This annual event includes a walk/run, an outdoor artist market, and performances by local entertainers.
- Eastman Gun Show: The largest gun show in Georgia, uniting casual hunters and avid gun collectors.
- Prater's Mill Country Fair: An outdoor festival of juried artists and craftsmen, talented musicians and good cooks.
- Star Spangled Christmas Parade: Floats designed by locals travel through downtown Dalton during this holiday parade.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Creative Arts Guild is the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in Georgia.
- Dalton Arts Project brings professional dance and art performances to the community.
- Dalton Little Theatre hosts plays featuring local residents. The theater, which featured its first performance in 1869, is now located downtown in the Old Firehouse.
Newspapers that cover Dalton include The Daily Citizen and La Voz de Dalton.