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Calhoun, Georgia
Downtown Calhoun and Courthouse
Downtown Calhoun and Courthouse
"Land of the Cherokee"
Location in Gordon County and the state of Georgia
Location in Gordon County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Gordon
Incorporated (city) January 1852
Named for John C. Calhoun
 • Total 16.11 sq mi (41.72 km2)
 • Land 16.04 sq mi (41.53 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
659 ft (201 m)
 • Total 16,949
 • Density 1,057.00/sq mi (408.11/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
30701, 30703 (PO Boxes)
Area code(s) 706/762
FIPS code 13-12456
GNIS feature ID 0354936

Calhoun is a city in Gordon County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 15,650, up from 10,667 in 2000. Calhoun is the county seat of Gordon County.


Calhoun was a part of the Cherokee Nation (including New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation) until December 29, 1835. Cherokee leaders such as The Ridge and William Hicks had developed numerous productive farms in the fertile Oothcaloga Valley. When the Cherokee refused to give up the remainder of their lands under the Indian Removal Act, after years of land cessions to the United States for white settlers in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, President Andrew Jackson sent US troops to the northern region of Georgia to force most of the tribe to move to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, most notably present-day Oklahoma. (See more information on Trail of Tears.)

In December 1827, Georgia had already claimed the Cherokee lands that became Gordon County and other counties. A small town called "Dawsonville" was created and founded in the Gordon County, named for the owner of an early general store. Dawsonville was later renamed "Calhoun" to honor U.S. Senator John C. Calhoun, following his death in 1850.

Gordon County's inferior court called an election for the selection of the county seat, offering voters a choice between a site on the Western & Atlantic Railroad (near Adairsville) or a site more centrally located within the county. Voters chose a site along the railroad, so the inferior court designated Calhoun as county seat in 1851. The legislature incorporated Calhoun in an act approved on January 12, 1852.

On January 5, 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union as a prelude to the American Civil War. Calhounians joined the Confederacy. Most warfare took place elsewhere, but on May 16, 1864, Calhoun was near where the Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston postured before the Battle of Adairsville during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. Oakleigh, the home of Dr. Wall, was used by Sherman as his headquarters at that time.

A tornado on March 20, 1888, leveled much of Calhoun. A devastating fire on October 23 of that year destroyed most of what remained.


Calhoun is located west of the center of Gordon County at 34°30′0″N 84°56′33″W / 34.50000°N 84.94250°W / 34.50000; -84.94250 (34.499898, -84.942584), along the Oostanaula River where it is joined by Oothkalooga Creek. It is part of the Coosa River/Alabama River watershed.

U.S. Route 41 passes through the center of town as Wall Street, and Interstate 75 runs along the eastern edge of the city, with access from Exits 310, 312, 315, 317, and 318. I-75 leads north 49 miles (79 km) to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and south 68 miles (109 km) to Atlanta. US-41, running parallel to I-75, leads north 5 miles (8.0 km) to Resaca and south 10 miles (16 km) to Adairsville. Georgia State Route 156 runs west out of town as West Line Street, leading 18 miles (29 km) to Armuchee, and heads east out of town as Red Bud Road, leading 8 miles (13 km) to Red Bud. Georgia State Route 373 (East Line Street and Dews Pond Road) leads east 8 miles (13 km) to Cash. Georgia State Route 136 (North River Street) leads northwest 30 miles (48 km) to LaFayette. Georgia State Route 53 passes through the southern part of Calhoun, leading east 15 miles (24 km) to Fairmount and southwest 22 miles (35 km) to Rome.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Calhoun has a total area of 15.0 square miles (38.9 km2), of which 14.9 square miles (38.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.64%, is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Calhoun has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Calhoun, Georgia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10
Average low °C (°F) -2.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 130
Source: Weatherbase


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 427
1880 510 19.4%
1890 680 33.3%
1900 851 25.1%
1910 1,652 94.1%
1920 1,955 18.3%
1930 2,371 21.3%
1940 2,955 24.6%
1950 3,231 9.3%
1960 3,587 11.0%
1970 4,748 32.4%
1980 5,563 17.2%
1990 7,135 28.3%
2000 10,667 49.5%
2010 15,650 46.7%
2020 16,949 8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
Calhoun Railroad Depot was one of the train stations in 1862 where the Great Locomotive Chase passed from Adairsville, Georgia.
1960 courthouse on the site of former 1880 courthouse
Oakleigh, once a headquarters of General Sherman and home of Dr. Wall, now Gordon Historical Society

2020 census

Calhoun Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 10,204 60.2%
Black or African American 1,154 6.81%
Native American 26 0.15%
Asian 454 2.68%
Pacific Islander 6 0.04%
Other/Mixed 708 4.18%
Hispanic or Latino 4,397 25.94%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 16,949 people, 6,088 households, and 4,001 families residing in the city.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest

  • New Echota Historic Site, first Cherokee capital
  • Roland Hayes Museum at the Harris Arts Center
  • Oakleigh/Gordon County Historical Society
  • Premium Outlets of Calhoun


Calhoun City School District

The Calhoun City School District serves preschool to grade twelve, and consists of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, separate from the county school district. The district has 166 full-time teachers and over 2,666 students.

  • Calhoun Primary School - grades K-2
  • Calhoun Elementary School - grade 3-5
  • Calhoun Middle School - grades 6-8
  • Calhoun High School

Gordon County School District

The Gordon County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools, serving the area outside the city limits. The district has 365 full-time teachers and over 6,259 students.

  • Red Bud Elementary Grades Pre-K-5
  • W.L Swain Elementary Grades Pre-K-5
  • Belwood Elementary School Pre-K-5
  • Sonoraville Elementary School Pre-K-5
  • Fairmount Elementary School Pre-K-5
  • Max V. Tolbert Elementary School Pre-K-5
  • Ashworth Middle School Grades 6-8
  • Red Bud Middle School Grades 6-8
  • Gordon Central High School Grades 9-12
  • Sonoraville High School Grades 9-12

Private school

  • Downing Clark Academy, Inc.

Religious schools

Seventh-day Adventist

  • John L. Coble Elementary School - K-8th grades
  • Georgia-Cumberland Academy - boarding 9-12 high school

Higher education

  • Georgia Northwestern Technical College (formerly Coosa Valley Technical College)

Notable people

  • Elias Boudinot (1802–1839), born Gallegina Uwati, also known as Buck Watie, Cherokee leader who believed that acculturation was critical to the tribe's survival; influential in the period of removal to the West
  • Kris Durham, professional football player; wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders
  • Roland Hayes (1887–1977), world-renowned lyric tenor, considered the first African-American male concert artist to receive wide acclaim both at home and internationally, born here and attended Calhoun schools
  • James Beverly Langford (1922-1996), lawyer, businessman, and Georgia state legislator
  • John Meadows III (1944–2018), Businessman, Mayor of Calhoun, and Georgia state legislator
  • Sequoyah (English: George Gist or George Guess) (c.1767–1843), Cherokee, inventor of the Cherokee Syllabary. This was the only time in recorded history that a member of a non-literate people independently created an effective writing system. He was also the namesake of California's giant Sequoia sempervirens redwood tree.
  • William Thompson (1848–1918), Olympic gold medal winner
  • Stand Watie (1806–1871), Cherokee leader and Confederate general
  • Dale Willis (1938–), Major League Baseball player
  • Bert Lance

See also

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