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Dade County, Georgia facts for kids

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Dade County
Dade County
Dade County Courthouse  in Trenton
Dade County Courthouse in Trenton
Map of Georgia highlighting Dade County
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Georgia
Founded 1837; 185 years ago (1837)
Named for Francis L. Dade
Seat Trenton
Largest city Trenton
 • Total 174 sq mi (450 km2)
 • Land 174 sq mi (450 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)  0.1%%
 • Total 16,251
 • Density 96/sq mi (37/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 14th

Dade County is a county in the U.S. state of Georgia. It occupies the northwest corner of Georgia, and the county's own northwest corner is the westernmost point in the state. As of the 2020 census, the population is 16,633. The county seat and only incorporated municipality is Trenton. Dade County is part of the Chattanooga, TN–GA Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1860, residents of Dade County voted to secede from the state of Georgia and from the United States, but no government outside the county ever recognized this gesture as legal. In 1945, the county symbolically "rejoined" Georgia and the United States.


Dade County was established in 1837 and was named for Major Francis Langhorne Dade, who was killed in the Dade Massacre by Seminole Indians in December 1835. The first settlers of Dade County won the land in the Georgia Land Lotteries, held to encourage settlement after the Cherokee people were forced off the land. Many settlers worked in regional coke and coal mines that contributed to development of the Chattanooga, Tennessee area.

The area was long isolated from the rest of Georgia by its geography of mountains and rivers, which some historians say contributed to early residents' separatist attitudes. Georgia did not have a road connecting Dade County to the rest of the state until the establishment of Cloudland Canyon State Park in 1939. That year Georgia began work on Highway 136 to connect U.S. 41 to the recently created park. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the facilities and access roads to the park. Up until then, travelers from elsewhere in Georgia could drive to the county only by way of Alabama or Tennessee.

Dade County had a short-lived state secessionist movement before the American Civil War. In 1860, county residents wanted to secede from the Union, but lawmakers for the state of Georgia were cautious. Legend has it that in 1860, the people of Dade County were so impatient that they announced their own secession from both Georgia and the United States. On July 4, 1945, a telegram from President Harry S. Truman was read at a celebration marking the county's "rejoining" the Union. Historians say Dade's individual secession and readmission were symbolic and had no legal effect. They say that officially, Dade County seceded along with the state of Georgia in 1861 and re-entered the Union with the state in 1870.

The noted Southern humorist, author and seminal writer of Southern humor George Washington Harris (1814-1869) is buried in the Brock Cemetery in Trenton. Although he greatly influenced the literary works of Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor, his grave was not verified and given a marker until 2008.

In 1964 Covenant College established a campus at Lookout Mountain. Founded in 1955 in California, it was ready to expand after a year. Several professors led Covenant to move to St. Louis, Missouri, where it developed for eight years. After outgrowing its facilities there, the college decided to move to Dade County.

Major highways

Cloudland canyon view
Cloudland Canyon State Park

Adjacent counties

Protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,364
1850 2,680 96.5%
1860 3,069 14.5%
1870 3,033 −1.2%
1880 4,702 55.0%
1890 5,707 21.4%
1900 4,578 −19.8%
1910 4,139 −9.6%
1920 3,918 −5.3%
1930 4,146 5.8%
1940 5,894 42.2%
1950 7,364 24.9%
1960 8,666 17.7%
1970 9,910 14.4%
1980 12,318 24.3%
1990 13,147 6.7%
2000 15,154 15.3%
2010 16,633 9.8%
U.S. Census QuickFacts 2020
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 16,633 people, 6,291 households, and 4,462 families living in the county. The population density was 95.6 inhabitants per square mile (36.9/km2). There were 7,305 housing units at an average density of 42.0 per square mile (16.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.0% white, 0.9% black or African American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.8% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.2% were American, 18.1% were Irish, 11.4% were German, and 9.4% were English.

Of the 6,291 households, 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.1% were non-families, and 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.96. The median age was 39.0 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,760 and the median income for a family was $48,881. Males had a median income of $41,618 versus $26,521 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,168. About 10.7% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.

2020 census

Dade County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 14,786 90.99%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 141 0.87%
Native American 68 0.42%
Asian 129 0.79%
Pacific Islander 5 0.03%
Other/Mixed 758 4.66%
Hispanic or Latino 364 2.24%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 16,251 people, 6,195 households, and 4,539 families residing in the county.

Georgia water supply

Dade County lies just south of Nickajack Lake on the Tennessee River, which was created by the Nickajack Dam, constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The city of Atlanta, Georgia wanted to gain rights to the water in Nickajack Lake to supplement their sources from Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. In addition, in 2008 Georgia lawmakers wanted to change the Tennessee-Georgia state line, as they say it is based on a flawed 1818 survey, which mistakenly placed Georgia's northern line just short of the Tennessee River. Changing the boundary would give Georgia rights to the water, but they were unsuccessful.



Notable people from Dade County

  • The Forester Sisters
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