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The Tallulah Gorge is a breathtaking chasm (over 1000 feet deep) that was
carved by the Tallulah River. It took millions of years, but the result was
worth the wait.
The town was named after the five falls that cascade through the Gorge.
Visitors outside the area discovered the falls in 1819. Early visitors include: Vice President John C. Calhoun in 1829 and John Howard Payne, author of "Home Sweet Home" in 1835. Joseph LeConte, one of the
founders of the Sierra Club made numerous visits. By 1835, visitation of the falls had grown enough that a local resident offered lodging and food to travelers. Although it was only a rough cabin, The Tallulah Hotel was opened in 1840. When the railroad reached Tallulah Falls in 1882, the area was opened to many more tourists. At its peak there were seventeen hotels and boarding houses in and around the town.
Referred to as the Niagara of the South, there was much to do in addition to viewing the falls. The hotels rented riding horses, offered billiards, tennis, wide hammocks, and rocking chairs for front porch relaxation. At night the air was filled with music for dancing in the major hotels. On July 24, 1886, Professor Leon crossed the Gorge on a high wire, a feat that was repeated by Karl Wallenda on July 18, 1970.
After the Georgia Railway and Electric Company merged to form the Georgia Railway and Power Company, a dam was begun in 1912 to harness the raging power of the falls. In September, 1913, electricity was sent from Tallulah Falls to Atlanta. Then, in December 1921, a fire started and burned for several days. The fire destroyed stores, hotels, and many homes. Very little that was destroyed was rebuilt. In ruins today, the Glenbrook Hotel is the only hotel that is still standing from that grand era.